Geodynamics and Basin Studies

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Geological and geophysical properties of fault zones in carbonate rocks: from outcrop analogues to seismic imaging (SW Barents Sea and analogues)

PhD candidate: Vilde Dimmen

PhD candidate: Vilde Dimmen
Vilde Dimmen

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Atle Rotevatn (UiB), Isabelle Lecomte (UiB), Rob Gawthorpe (UiB)




2017 - 2020


The main aim of this project is to deliver an advance in the understanding of the relationship between carbonate-hosted fault zone properties (geometry, geophysical/petrophysical properties) and the seismic imaging of such fault zones. This may help improve prediction of subsurface fault zone properties from seismic data, which may in turn contribute to better the prediction of flow behaviour and seal/retention capacity of such faults. The project aims will be achieved through structural analysis of carbonate-hosted faults in outcrops, in combination with laboratory analyses of petrophysical and geophysical fault rock properties, and seismic forward modelling of the studied fault zones. We also aim to draw comparisons between the seismic forward models and real seismic data from fault zones in the Barents Sea, using publicly available 3D seismic data and other proprietary seismic data that we already have access to at UiB. The work will be based on a combination of digital and traditional outcrop-based fault datasets already collected in existing projects (Irina Korneva’s VISTA project and PD3, the latter of which is a project collaboration between UiB and the Universities of Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol that Profs. Atle Rotevatn and Rob Gawthorpe are involved in), and new outcrop data to be collected during the course of the project (Permian-Carboniferous of Svalbard).

More specifically, main research goals of this project are to (i) document the geological, petrophysical and geophysical properties of carbonate-hosted extensional fault zones; (ii) to improve the understanding of the geological processes that govern the distribution of such properties; and (iii) to better understand the seismic response of carbonate fault zones and therefore move towards prediction of fault zone properties from seismic data. The research goals will be achieved through the following specific objectives (D = displacement):


To investigate and synthesize the geometry and architecture of carbonate-hosted fault zones at sub-seismic (D ≤ 101 m), reservoir (D = 101-102 m) and basin (D ≥ 103 m) scales.


To investigate and synthesize the petrophysical (density, porosity, permeability) and geophysical (Vp, Vs) rock properties within carbonate-hosted fault zones using existing (published)  data and laboratory analysis of samples collected in this project.


To evaluate the distribution and evolution (by using displacement magnitude as a proxy for stage of development) of geological, geometrical, petrophysical and geophysical fault zone properties.


To evaluate how fault geometry as well as petrophysical and geophysical fault zone properties affect the seismic imaging of carbonate-hosted fault zones in the subsurface through seismic forward modelling.