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  1. Geologic Modeling and Simulation: Sedimentary Systems
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  3. Geologic Modeling and Simulation - Sedimentary Systems | Daniel F. Merriam | Springer
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This technique models the processes of erosion, transport and deposition of clastic sediments, as well as carbonate growth and redistribution on the basis of deterministic physical principles. This type of modeling requires several parameters, which may not be readily available from present-day data sediment input, sediment diffusion and transport coefficients, and primary sediment properties.

These parameters must be adjusted in an iterative process giving rise to more than one plausible model. The set of plausible results is used for statistical inference of model results, providing a measure of uncertainty in reservoir geometry and petrophysical parameters. It is implemented as a plugin within a major geologic modeling package.

Initially the user must specify the general basin setting by providing an approximate, location of sources, sediment types, and sea-level curve Fig. Figure 1: GPM basic input. The user may then select a number of processes to model, which may be run concurrently. Each modeled process may require a several parameters. The simplest of these processes is diffusion, which is used to represent processes that occur at a sub-cell scale, such as minor slumps, soil creep, and biological activity.

A more complex mechanism to model is free-surface water flow and the corresponding sediment transport. The GPM model provides for simulating both steady flow as in rivers at normal stage and unsteady flow as in turbidity currents or river floods , as well as erosion, transport and deposition of sediment by flowing water.

Carbonate growth is modeled using growth rates that are dependent on light, temperature and the energy of the environment, while modeling the destruction and redistribution of carbonates using the modules for flow and sediment transport. This approach enables modeling in full 3D much of the complexity that is inherent in carbonate systems, even when modeling in a single vertical dimension [4]. Tectonics can be represented as a vertical movement of the basement which raises or lowers the overlying sediments.

Compaction is modeled by an algorithm based on a simple load assumption. GPM is often used in conjunction with other quantitative tools for modeling post depositional processes such as diagenesis and dissolution, complex structural deformation, and heat flow and hydrocarbon migration and maturation.

GPM provides a detailed description of the primary depositional geometries and properties that these packages require. In this province, turbidite systems have been proven to be major reservoirs.

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In the first modeling stage, a paleo-basin floor surface was reconstructed from seismic and sediment sources were placed at locations indicated by the inferred paleo-bathymetry Fig. After adjusting the amount and type of sediment carried by turbidity currents, a reasonable match with observed seismic was obtained in terms of sequence architecture. Sands in the deep part of the basin represent basin floor fans deposited by turbidity currents originating in the upper end of the basin upper left of the figure.

In the second stage, sea level, transport coefficient which determines the ease of sediment transport by water and diffusion coefficient which affects sediment transport due to slumps, creep, and wave action were varied within geological ranges of uncertainty. As long as the resulting model was compatible with observed data, the varied values were considered plausible. The result of each plausible model was individually converted to a Chance of Adequacy COA map to qualitatively estimate the merit of each output.

The workflow is briefly outlined in Figure 3. Figure 3: Schematic view of workflow in which input parameters that have been varied within their ranges of uncertainty and final results combined in a probabilistic chance-of- adequacy map showing probability of success as a percentage. Note: I. Refer to sediment color bar; III. Refer to COA color bar. This technology provides a quantitative framework that may help either confirm or discard preexisting conceptual models.

It also provides a means to quantify uncertainty in situations that were heretofore left largely to intuition, such as the chances of success under varying sea-level change conditions. GPM does require some a priori knowledge or assumptions about paleogeographic conditions and thus is most useful if some knowledge of the basin is already available. The technology is readily applicable in exploration and early production situations, in which alternative hypotheses may have to be selected, or existing conceptual models may need quantitative refinement.

At the reservoir scale, GPM can predict the general architecture, geometry and connectivity of permeable beds. Its results may be useful as training images for geostatistical methods in areas where detailed analogs may not be available. The authors would like to thank Schlumberger for permission to publish this paper and to Western Geco for providing the seismic data.

We thank also Lars Sonneland and Per Salomonsen of Schlumberger Information Solutions, Stavanger, Norway, for their support in developing the technology described herein. References 1. The origins of shallow-water carbonate lithofacies thickness distributions: one-dimensional forward modelling of relative sea-level and production rate control. Sedimentology 59, Related Papers. By Andres Acevedo. A review of stratigraphic simulation techniques and their applications in sequence stratigraphy and basin analysis. By Mazlan Madon. By Yanwar Ibnu Lizar. Estimation of paleoflux of terrestial-derived solids across ancient basin margins using the stratigraphic record.

By Ron Steel. The use of forward modeling as an aid to reservoir characterization and modeling of deep-marine sedimentary systems: an example from the Permian Tanqua Karoo Turbidites, South Africa. By Romain Prioul. After 5 ky, offshore wave directions followed the same pattern but wave heights increased to 1. During the mid deglacial from 14 to 10 ky , the exposed shelf acts as a bypass area where large river systems transport sediment directly to the shelf break Fig Sediment transfer on the upper slope preferentially occurs through the numerous shelf incised submarine canyons and sediments accumulate at the base of the slope and along the basin troughs.

The rapid sea level transgression prior to 8 ky coincides with filling of previously incised channels and existing depressions section a-b and c-d in Fig Sediment transfer within the canyons persists and siliciclastic accumulation remains high in the deeper parts of the basin through the Noggin and Ribbon Reefs Canyons systems with significant accumulation along the Queensland Trough Fig Left: Model outputs for time steps 12 ky, 8 ky and present.

Geologic Modeling and Simulation: Sedimentary Systems

Red color displays presence of coral reef at given time intervals. Right: cumulative erosion, deposition and reef evolution for the simulated 14 ky induced by the combination of fluvial and waves processes as well as reef growth. Cross sections through the model predicted stratigraphy showing time layers of mixed siliciclastic-carbonate accretion across Warden Reefs and Arlington Reefs regional locations of these sections are presented in Fig From 8 to 2. This period corresponds to conditions of higher rainfall and offshore wave energy; therefore, our model shows both an increase in terrigenous siliciclastic sediment delivered through riverine transport to the coast and a strong reworking of marine deposits by longshore drift on the inner shelf bottom right panel Fig A fine balance between climate, sea level and margin physiography enables coral reefs to thrive during this time interval.

The rate of sea level rise is slow enough to allow, in combination with higher wave energy, active coral reef growth. The model also realistically simulates a time lag of approximately 1. We attribute this lag to the increase in sedimentation rates during the early stages of transgression.

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The simulated lag matches well with a documented lag of 0. Variations in reef accretion rates Fig 11 are largely controlled by paleo-surface elevation relative to sea level position and substrate composition.

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During the late Holocene, sea level stabilisation and rainfall decrease, causing reduction in fluvial erosion and marine sediment accumulation in our model. Overall reef accretion rates drop significantly over the last 3 ky as they are limited by the lack of accommodation space.

Geologic Modeling and Simulation - Sedimentary Systems | Daniel F. Merriam | Springer

Despite a general reduction in vertical accretion, we note the increase of reef accretion rates in the mid-shelf reefs complex as shown in Fig 11 section 2. In our model, filling of river channels by terrigenous sediments happens quickly during the early stage of the transgression from 14 to 11 ky as shown in Fig 11 sections. Additionally, accumulation along the Queensland Trough remains high up to the late stage of the transgression after 5 ky, Fig Current sediment supplied to the shelf is controlled by several rivers draining from mountains and tablelands adjacent to the coast Fig 9 , [ 84 ].

Sediment exchange between the shelf and the basin happens primarily through a series of shelf incised submarine canyons which morphological characteristics have influenced the Holocene sedimentation dynamics [ 85 ]. Comparisons between the Noggin NG and the Ribbon Reefs RR regions show differences in sediment gravity flows deposition with significantly higher rates in the deeper basins facing the RR region Fig This result is consistent with previous studies in the area [ 86 ], recording generally thicker and more frequent turbidites deposits in the RR canyons at this time. We found that abundant sediment gravity flows have been deposited along the Queensland Trough during the Late Holocene, consistent with available subsurface data from the ODP Leg Site [ 87 ].

In our model, the depositional pattern in the trough also agrees with sonar backscatter imagery showing deep-sea sediment-laden flows following the general slope direction which gently deepens towards the north. Through the transgression, the amount of material transported to the slope continuously declines and most of the terrigenous sediments accumulate on the middle and outer shelf.

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After 5 ky, during the late transgression phase and the sea level highstand, neritic carbonate production Fig 11 becomes the dominant source of sediment in the outer shelf, while terrigenous sediment is retained on the inner shelf close to the catchments outlets. The model demonstrates that sediment accumulation is a regional geological phenomenon and has played a significant role in controlling the distribution of coral reefs during the last sea level transgression.

Over thousands of years, reduction in accommodation space, due to sea level stabilisation, has generated an increase in shelf sediment accumulation. Future increase in sediment supply might result in the physical burial of inner-shelf reefs and, combined with resuspension and mobilisation of sediments by longshore drift, could also pose a significant threat to mid- and outer-shelf reefs.

These predictions however will need to be balanced with projected rates of sea level rise that could increase accommodation space drastically, possibly causing: 1 restricted marine sediment accumulation to coastal domains and limited aggradation on the continental shelf; and 2 enhanced vertical reef accretion rates. Our model has the potential to quantitatively test these hypotheses in a consistent and efficient way and could be used to estimate the implications of long-term future climate predictions on the evolution of other mixed siliciclastic-carbonate systems.

In this paper we present pyBadlands, an open-source python-based framework that allows for evaluation of sediment transport, landscape dynamics and sedimentary basins evolution under the influence of climate, sea waves and tectonics. It implements a wide range of physical processes which make it highly versatile and useful for applications related to source to sink problems at regional to continental scale and over geological time.

While pyBadlands has been primarily designed for research, its simplicity of use and portability should make it interesting as a teaching tool as well. Below is a summary of the main functionalities and capabilities of this framework: a finite volume approach from Tucker et al. To showcase the new capabilities of pyBadlands, a simulation of the Holocene evolution of the central Great Barrier Reef is presented.

It shows how our model can be used to better constrain sediment transport processes in mixed siliciclastic-carbonate systems. Browse Subject Areas? Click through the PLOS taxonomy to find articles in your field.