CarboCAT: A cellular automata model of heterogeneous carbonate strata

Peter M. Burgess

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CarboCAT is a new numerical model of carbonate deposystems that uses a cellular automata to calculate lithofacies spatial distributions and hence to calculate accumulation of heterogeneous carbonate strata in three dimensions. CarboCAT includes various geological processes, including tectonic subsidence, eustatic sea-level oscillations, water depth dependent carbonate production rates in multiple carbonate factories, lateral migration of carbonate lithofacies bodies, and a simple representation of sediment transport. Results from the model show stratigraphically interesting phenomena such as heterogeneous strata with complex stacking patterns, laterally discontinuous subaerial exposure surfaces, non-exponential lithofacies thickness distributions and sensitive dependence on initial conditions whereby small changes in the model initial conditions have a large effect on the final model outcome. More work is required to fully assess CarboCAT, but these initial results suggest that a cellular automata approach to modelling carbonate strata is likely to be a useful tool for investigating the nature and origins of heterogeneity in carbonate strata.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-140
JournalComputers & Geosciences
Early online date21 Sept 2011
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

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