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In an effort to fully use deterministic stratigraphic forward-modeling techniques in subsurface stratigraphic analysis, we developed a computer interface to routinely create synthetic logs and one-dimensional and two-dimensional (2-D) seismic responses from 2-D stratigraphic simulations. Each 2-D stratigraphic model can contain up to 200 timelines defining age-equivalent stratigraphic layers with laterally variable lithofacies and depths. Synthetic gamma ray, density and velocity responses are calculated for the simulated lithofacies using user-specified rock and fluid properties. Vertically incident synthetic seismograms are created using calculated reflection coefficients and user-defined input wavelets. Because stratigraphic simulations provide chronostratigraphy as a nown, log correlations and the interpolated seismic geometries follow timelines exactly.
The power of this technique as an aid in sequence stratigraphic interpretations is shown from three examples: (1) a simulation of an idealized clastic system assuming constant clastic input and sinusoidal fourth-order and third-order sea level variations, (2) a detailed simulation of one third-order carbonate depositional sequence (lower-middle San Andres Formation) from the Northwest shelf, Permian basin, and (3) simulations of the Permian mixed clastic-carbonate infill of the Midland basin.
Some general conclusions from these examples include the following: (1) seismic and well log-defined topsets, foresets, bottomsets, and related event terminations can be directly related to relative sea level fluctuations, (2) Exxon-type sequence boundaries (i.e., unconformities) are not necessarily seismically imageable, and their identification on well logs is not straightforward, and (3) lateral variations in amplitude related to lithofacies variations can be modeled. Synthetic logs and seismic sections from stratigraphic forward models such as these may be useful in constraining interpretations of subsurface data and thus aiding the prediction of reservoir and seal.
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