Methods for identification of isolated carbonate buildups from seismic reflection data

Peter M. Burgess, Peter Winefield, Marcello Minzoni, Chris Elders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Isolated carbonate buildups (ICBs) are commonly attractive
exploration targets. However, identifying ICBs based only on
seismic data can be difficult for a variety of reasons.These include
poor-quality two-dimensional data and a basic similarity between
ICBs and other features such as volcanoes, erosional
remnants, and tilted fault blocks. To address these difficulties and
develop reliable methods to identify ICBs, 234 seismic images
were analyzed. The images included proven ICBs and other
features, such as folds, volcanoes, and basement highs, which
may appear similar to ICBs when imaged in seismic data. From
this analysis, 18 identification criteriawere derived to distinguish
ICBs from non-ICB features. These criteria can be grouped into
four categories: regional constraints, analysis of basic seismic
geometries, analysis of geophysical details, and finer-scale seismic
geometries. Systematically assessing the criteria is useful because
it requires critical evaluation of the evidence present in the
available data, working from the large-scale regional geology to
the fine details of seismic response. It is also useful to summarize
the criteria as a numerical score to facilitate comparison between
different examples and different classes of ICBs and non-ICBs.
Our analysis of scores of different classes of features suggests that
the criteria do have some discriminatory power, but significant
challenges remain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1098
JournalAAPG Bulletin
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Cite this