A review of stratigraphic simulation techniques and their applications in sequence stratigraphy and basin analysis

Author : Ku Rafidah Ku Shafie & Mazlan MadonPublication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of MalaysiaVolume : 54Page : 81-89Year : 2008


Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 54, November 2008, pp. 81 - 89


A review of stratigraphic simulation techniques and their applications in sequence stratigraphy and basin analysis

Ku Rafidah Ku Shafie* & Mazlan Madon

Group Research, Research & Technology Division, PETRONAS, Kawasan Institusi Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia

*E-mail address: kurafidah@petronas.com.my


Abstract— Stratigraphic simulation is a modelling methodology that can be used for exploration purposes to understand the key factors (sea-level change, subsidence, sediment supply rate) that control the stratigraphic geometries and architecture of a basin. Its application offers many advantages to scientists and researchers, as it provides a useful platform for analyzing and unraveling the complexities of sequence stratigraphy and basin development. A stratigraphic simulator models the stratal patterns of basins in various tectonic settings, such as in passive margins, foreland basins, retroarc foreland basins, interarc basins, remnant ocean basins, growth-faulted deltaic basins, and basins with salt diapirs. It enhances biostratigraphic interpretation by providing age constraints on stratal boundaries identified through sequence stratigraphic interpretation. This can lead to a systematic prediction of other geological aspects such as the distribution of source rocks, seals, and reservoirs. Furthermore, it may also lead to the identification of new accumulations or reservoirs within existing oil and gas fields.

One type of stratigraphic simulation that is often used is a “forward stratigraphic simulation”. This forward modelling method is usually applied to predict sediment distribution of a basin. In this paper, four simulation techniques (CSM, SEDPAK, DIONISOS, and SEDSIM) and their applications are presented. The models are typically applied to verify and infer the potential for hydrocarbon entrapment and accumulation in the basin. For this reason, stratigraphic simulation is useful for petroleum exploration and development. The simulation models are also useful as teaching tools for young geologists.

Keywords: stratigraphic simulation, stratigraphic modelling, basin analysis