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Title: Quantitative characterisation and analysis of siliciclastic fluvial depositional systems using 3D digital outcrop models
Author: Burnham, Brian
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 2983
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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Outcrop analogue studies of fluvial sedimentary systems are often undertaken to identify spatial and temporal characteristics (e.g. stacking patterns, lateral continuity, lithofacies proportions). However, the lateral extent typically exceeds that of the exposure, and/or the true width and thickness are not apparent. Accurate characterisation of fluvial sand bodies is integral for accurate identification and subsequent modelling of aquifer and hydrocarbon reservoir architecture. The studies presented in this thesis utilise techniques that integrate lidar, highresolution photography and differential geospatial measurements, to create accurate three-dimensional (3D) digital outcrop models (DOMs) of continuous 3D and laterally extensive 2D outcrop exposures. The sedimentary architecture of outcrops in the medial portion of a large Distributive Fluvial System (DFS) (Huesca fluvial fan) in the Ebro Basin, north-east Spain, and in the fluvio-deltaic succession of the Breathitt Group in the eastern Appalachian Basin, USA, are evaluated using traditional sedimentological and digital outcrop analytical techniques. The major sand bodies in the study areas are quantitatively analysed to accurately characterise spatial and temporal changes in sand body architecture, from two different outcrop exposure types and scales. Several stochastic reservoir simulations were created to approximate fluvial sand body lithological component and connectivity within the medial portion of the Huesca DFS. Results demonstrate a workflow and current methodology adaptation of digital outcrop techniques required for each study to approximate true geobody widths, thickness and characterise architectural patterns (internal and external) of major fluvial sand bodies interpreted as products of DFSs in the Huesca fluvial fan, and both palaeovalleys and progradational DFSs in the Pikeville and Hyden Formations in the Breathitt Group. The results suggest key geostatistical metrics, which are translatable across any fluvial system that can be used to analyse 3D digital outcrop data, and identify spatial attributes of sand bodies to identify their genetic origin and lithological component within fluvial reservoir systems, and the rock record. 3D quantitative analysis of major sand bodies have allowed more accurate width vs. thickness relationships within the La Serreta area, showing a vertical increase in width and channel-fill facies, and demonstrates a 22% increase of in-channel facies from previous interpretations. Additionally, identification of deposits that are products of a nodal avulsion event have been characterised and are interpreted to be the cause for the increase in width and channel-fill facies. Furthermore, analysis of the Pikeville and Hyden Fms contain sand bodies of stacked distributaries and palaeovalleys, as previously interpreted, and demonstrates that a 3D spatial approach to determine basin-wide architectural trends is integral to identifying the genetic origin, and preservation potential of sand bodies of both palaeovalleys and distributive fluvial systems. The resultant geostatistics assimilated in the thesis demonstrates the efficacy of integrated lidar studies of outcrop analogues, and provide empirical relationships which can be applied to subsurface analogues for reservoir model development and the distribution of both DFS and palaeovalley depositional systems in the rock record.
Supervisor: Hodgetts, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: lidar ; Reservoir Modelling ; Fluvial Sedimentology ; 3D Geologic Modelling ; Digital Outcrop Models