GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 292-12
Presentation Time: 11:20 AM


PITTS, Alan, CASCIANO, Claudio Ivan and DI CELMA, Claudio, Department of Earth Science, University of Camerino, Piazza Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 19f, Camerino, 62032, Italy,

Turbidite channels are among the most important deep-water hydrocarbon reservoirs currently being explored. The detailed outcrop characterizations of ancient turbiditic channel-fill deposits are essential to integrate the analysis of the reservoir features in analogues to oil-bearing successions. Recent advances in digital technologies allow the upgrade of the traditional field methods for data collection, considerably improving architectural and facies characterization.

A field-based study is presented from the Upper Miocene Gorgoglione Flysch Formation, a siliciclastic turbiditic succession filling a thrust-top basin of the Southern Apennines of Italy. This study focuses on an interval near the town of Castelmezzano which provides a near complete exposure of a single deep-water channel-fill overlying frontal lobe deposits. This channel-fill has been measured and described in 8 closely-spaced and detailed stratigraphic sections providing data for both the sedimentological description and high resolution correlation of the stratigraphy. In order to gain a more complete perspective on the exposure and stratigraphic elements, analysis of physical outcrop data was enhanced by the use of high-resolution Gigapixel imagery and 3-dimensional photogrammetric outcrop reconstructions.

The integration of digital outcrop data with traditional sedimentological field techniques has allowed the accurate characterization of the Santa Maria section, recording the lifespan of the forestepping channel-lobe system. This combined methodology improved facies recognition and stratigraphic correlations to a greater degree than previously achievable using traditional field methods alone. The use of GigaPan imagery allows in a single image the up-close inspection of the centimeter scale bedforms up to outcrop-scale stratigraphic architectures. Through the use of 3D outcrop models, the interpretation of the depositional architectures and bedding geometries has been carried out with greater certainty. This study shows how facies characterization, detailed stratigraphic correlations and reconstruction of depositional geometries have been substantially enhanced by the use of these emerging digital techniques for field data collection.