Geodynamics and Basin Studies

Fluvial facies and virtual outcrop geology

PhD Andreas Rittersbacher

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Supervisors: John Howell (Uni CIPR) with William Helland-Hansen (UiB)

Funding: Research Council of Norway (Petromaks) and FORCE Consortium

The scope of this study is to investigate large-scale stacking patterns and general architecture of fluvial systems, and to understand the processes and controlling factors behind deposition. To digitally capture the large outcrops (>20 km) used in this study, helicopter-based LIDAR has been used in order to build three-dimensional outcrop models (virtual outcrops). The work on the project includes finding a best-practice procedure for recording, processing and interpreting the helicopter-LIDAR with respect to fluvial sedimentology.

Datasets from seven localities in central Utah (Cretaceous non-marine Blackhawk Formation and Eocene Green River Formation) and South Africa (Permo-Triassic Beaufort Group) have been collected for the project. With the help of stratigraphic logs, geometrical and lithological information about fluvial deposition can be extracted from the virtual outcrops. Analysis of the geometrical data can be used to model fluvial reservoirs and to get an insight into fluvial deposition on a much larger scale then previously possible.