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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Tulsa Geological Society


Tulsa Geological Society Digest
Vol. 27 (1959), Pages 70-70

Stratigraphy, Sedimentation, and Seismology: Abstract

H. M. Thralls1


Many measurements of physical properties are made in bore holes which are used by geologists as geological information. These physical properties are accepted without question as aids to the application of geologic principles in the search for and development of oil fields. Seismology (and other geophysical methods) should be placed in the same category as bore hole measurements and accepted in the same manner.

The classification of geophysics as a distinct and separate science apart from geology is extremely unfortunate even though it is understandable. The definition of geophysics as an independent science was the result of the difference in background and training between the early day geophysicists (physicists) and members of the already established and respected geological profession. Jealousy undoubtedly was a contributing factor. However, the time is long past when members of either one of the so-called separate professions has anything to gain by being snobbish or aloof.

The term "scientific success and commercial failure" applied to a dry test drilled on the recommendation of geophysics indicates that they have forgotten their assignment; i.e.; to find oil at costs commensurate with market prices. The use of the above descriptive term emphasizes that the test location was chosen without proper consideration of all the factors involved. The failure of the test to find oil can mean only that the geophysicists, the geologists, or both arrived at an improper solution, and they can derive no professional satisfaction from the dry test even though the formations were encountered in the predicted positions.

Many tests classed as geophysical failures are actually geological failures, particularly if they can be described by the false term "scientific success and commercial failure." Analysis by the exploration team in these instances placed too much weight on geophysical data and failed to include the all important background studies of stratigraphy, sedimentation, and the historical geologic movements that determine where and when oil was and is present.

Geologists must consider geophysics as a geologic tool. Geophysicists must strive to be geologists. Geophysical data must be transferred into geological solutions. Prospects must be selected that are favorable from the standpoint of stratigraphy, sedimentology, and historical deformation. A combined knowledge of all of these is the requirement for successful oil finding.


Acknowledgments and Associated Footnotes

1 Geo-Prospectors, Inc., Tulsa, Oklahoma

Copyright © 2006 by the Tulsa Geological Society