Short Course

2012 PESA DISTINGUISHED LECTURER

DR GARY NICHOLS
ROYAL HOLLOWAY, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON

Gary has over 25 years experience of research into clastic depositional systems in continental to shallow marine successions in rocks ranging from Devonian to Miocene and many parts of the  world. Much of his research has been related to applications to the oil, gas and coal industries having worked on exploration and development projects for a number of companies. For over 20 years he has been one of the lead tutors on a very successful Masters programme in Petroleum Geoscience taught at Royal Holloway, in Russia and by Distance Learning. He has also regularly led training courses for industry clients in clastic sedimentology and in recent years a field-based reservoir sedimentology course. His book, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, is now in its second edition and he is an author of over 80 scientific papers. He currently works at Royal Holloway University of London, and has also held positions at Liverpool University, Charles University in Prague and the University Centre on Svalbard, Norway.

Gary will be presenting a 2 day workshop prior to EABS IV, on Monday 10thand Tuesday 11thSeptember at BCEC on Grey Street.

Numbers for this workshop are strictly limited so please book early via the online registration to reserve your place.

Registration for the workshop is $500 including GST and includes the two day course and all catering over the two days. The workshop has a maximum of 30 participants, a waitlist will operate once the course is full. Should you miss out on a place please email the secretariat to be added to the waitlist.

Depositional architecture of continental to coastal clastic systems

At the development stage of resource exploitation the heterogeneity of clastic sedimentary units at scales ranging from less than a metre to tens and hundreds of metres becomes critical in the construction of reservoir models. In this course the controls on distribution of sandstone bodies in continental to coastal settings will be considered in terms of the behaviour of depositional systems. The focus will mainly be on fluvial and paralic successions (coastal plain, delta and estuarine), with additional reference to alluvial fan, lacustrine and aeolian deposits. In addition to considering some of the criteria for the recognition depositional facies from subsurface data, an emphasis will be placed on approaches to determining the dimensions of sandstone units, their interconnectedness and their internal heterogeneity. These approaches will be based on understanding the controls on sediment supply, issues of accommodation and climatic effects on depositional processes and using them to develop a model for the distribution of facies and evolution within a basin.

The course will be a mixture of seminars on depositional systems illustrated with case studies from both outcrop and the subsurface from a wide range of tectonic, climatic, geographic and stratigraphic settings. Practical exercises will focus on small-scale correlation issues and connectivity problems. The course is suitable for anyone interested in reservoir-scale geology and the application of sedimentology to building reservoir models.

Topics covered will include:

Distributive Fluvial Systems: a new approach to understanding and predicting the distribution of fluvial channel and overbank facies

The recognition that rivers in aggradational settings generally have a distributive pattern has led to a fundamental reappraisal of the patterns of sandstone body architecture in fluvial successions: modern river systems and examples from the rock record form the basis of new models for the distribution of channel and overbank facies in time and space. The concepts of accommodation in fluvial strata are explored and the relationships between sediment supply, frequency of avulsion and lateral stability of channels are considered to help predict sandstone body stacking patterns and interconnectedness.

Sensitivity to climate in continental basins: a continuum of processes and facies from lake-dominated to aeolian-dominated basins

Pigeon-holing of depositional settings tends to obscure the relationships between different continental environments in space and time whereas consideration in terms of a climatically-controlled continuum allows better prediction of the distribution of sedimentary units. The criteria for distinguishing between the deposits of aeolian sand sheets, clastic lakes and floodplain environments are considered as tools for determining distribution and quality of sandstones in continental basins and building models for the evolution of the basin succession under changing climatic conditions. Case studies include a core-based example from an oil field under current production.

Coastal plain-estuary-delta: how the balance between sediment supply and accommodation determines the nature of deposits at the continental to marine interface

Coastal sedimentology is a complex interplay between processes that control the characteristics, size and geometry of sediment bodies in this zone. Estuaries and deltas can be shown to be members of an environmental continuum and their relationship to relative sea level changes is influenced by the balance between sediment supply and accommodation. Under some circumstances progradation may occur during relative sea level rise and coeval retrogradation and progradation can exist along the same coastline. Insights gained from numerical forward modelling of these environments will be included.

Correlation at different scales: which sandstone bodies should be linked, which ones not.

In any environment from fluvial to coastal, there are ranges of sizes of sediment bodies determined by depositional processes and setting: any correlation must be faithful to the distribution and scale of different facies elements. A sequence stratigraphic approach to subsurface correlation relies on being able to recognise facies deposited at different environments relative to sea level, but an understanding of the length scales of, for example, beach, foreshore and tidal flat environments, is required to establish realistic correlations. A coastal plain, coal-forming environment is used as a subsurface case study.


EABS IV Secretariat
C/- Conference Action Pty Ltd
PO Box 576, Crows Nest NSW 1585 Australia
P: +61 2 9431 8699     F: + 61 2 9431 8677
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