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Applied Science Goals:
Past phases of the GBDS research project have emphasized basin wide mapping of the 34 tectonostratigraphic units from Pre-salt to Pleistocene. Now that all petroleum system-relevant Gulf of Mexico large scale units have been identified and mapped, Phase XIII will focus on subdividing, correlating, and mapping deposodes and supersequences at a higher stratigraphic resolution. This will permit more direct ties to reservoirs, seal rocks, and source rocks for both conventional and unconventional systems. For example, the Lower Wilcox deposode (akin to a supersequence) spans a duration of roughly 8 my and clearly is an aggregate of multiple sequences. Seal rocks within the Wilcox often occur at a higher frequency, as several pressure offsets are notable in many Wilcox wells. This will include:
- Subdivision of GBDS Units Pleistocene (PS) to Pre-salt (EM) at a higher stratigraphic resolution, documented by well log cross-sections and mapping, North & South GoM Initial focus on Miocene and Wilcox units in both northern and southern GoM.
- Identification and mapping of key reservoir and seal rocks embedded within these higher resolution stratigraphic units, Northern & Southern GoM, onshore to deepwater GoM.
- Recognition of pressure-barriers (shales, marls, carbonate-cemented and/or volcanic ash beds) within higher resolution units using subsurface data, including database construction. Select and investigate robust field examples where reservoir heterogeneity controls can be illuminated.
- Evaluation of regional trends in production (decline curves, cumulative discoveries, resources, bubble maps) for Austin Chalk, Olmos, Wilcox, Yegua, and Frio/Vicksburg trends of onshore Texas and Louisiana. Will Waltrip MS thesis project.
- New tectonostratigraphy and source to sink processes in Mexico; Expand studies of Mesozoic and Pre-salt of Mexico with insights drawn from Northern Gulf of Mexico.
- Continue source to sink analyses (ongoing collaboration with UT Geothermochronology Lab).
- Continue source rock measurements and mapping, US and Mexico. Update Ceno-Turonian (Tuscaloosa marine shale) sourcing of Austin Chalk Play in evolving Louisiana play area.
- Continue long-term investigation of Oxfordian Sandstone Play in eastern, GoM; expand into southern GoM (Bacab Formation), including Yucatan margin.
NEW! Buffler Postdoctoral Fellow Scientific Goals:
Extrinsic Controls on Reservoir Development in the Mexican Ridges and Veracruz Trough, Mexico Deepwater
- Investigate the development of Neogene (Plio-Miocene) sediment waves interpreted as supercritical bedforms linked to steep seafloor gradients. Illuminate tectonic history of the Mexican Ridges (related to both regional and local tectonism) as how it controlled bedform genesis/development. Map distribution and derive genetic processes.
- Address key questions including why are there no observed supercritical bedforms in Quetzalcoatl extensional zone as compared to the Mexican Ridges? Why are these features not found within inner Mexican Ridges or more sparsely distributed in northern Mexican ridges?
- Identification of multiple detachment levels within Mexican ridges reflects a more complicated tectonic history than previously thought based on published literature and new seismic data post 2015 opening. Do the form and trend of sediment waves within these detachments reflect Neogene geologic history, pre- and post-Chiapanecan orogeny, or Laramide tectonics?
- Prediction of grain size and mudstone content based on how turbidity current-processes were affected by gradient changes, sediment flux, and in turn reflecting external controls: climate, tectonics, etc. Calibrate against grain size in DSDP cores sites, as well as nearby Yoka-1, Kunah-1, Puskon-1, and Lakach-1 wells.
Student Research Projects:
- Support of 1 Graduate Research Project (Will Waltrip).
- Support of 1 Post-Doctoral Fellow.
- Support of several Undergraduate Research Assistants and Undergraduate Honors Theses.
GBDS Database, GIS and Tools:
- Add to GBDS well control with new released well logs/biostratigraphy from the US and Mexico (260+ new wells in Phase 12).
- Add to GBDS reference library as new publication\presentations are released (228 new references in Phase 12).
- Maintain current GBDSGIS database and provide interim updates to Industrial Associates. It should be noted that GBDS maintains a large database with 300 plus maps which is updated on a yearly if not quarterly basis with a goal of keeping this database and toolset evergreened so IA members have the most up-to-date and accessible information.
- Development of GBDS tools for new ArcGIS Pro application.
- Continue to update and refine GBDSTools as science requires including new LAS viewer.