Subsurface temperature from seismic reflections: application to the post break up sequence offshore Namibia

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 2 of this Preprint.


Download Preprint


Arka Dyuti Sarkar , Mads Huuse


Accurate estimations of present-day subsurface temperatures are of critical importance to the energy industry, in particular with regards to geothermal energy and petroleum exploration. In frontier basins, the subsurface temperature regime can give an indication of the hydrocarbon potential of source horizons. The Lüderitz Basin, offshore Namibia, is a frontier deep water basin located on a volcanic passive margin. With only two wells drilled in the area, there are limited downhole temperature data available with which to constrain the hydrocarbon window of key source rock intervals. However, high quality seismic data are available and, by applying the reflection seismic thermometry (RST) process, provides a remote sensing alternative to direct temperature measurements at high spatial resolution. Using seismic reflection and velocity data, firstly the identification of a gas hydrate bottom simulating reflector is used to derive a shallow heat flow proxy (averaging 64 mW m-2). Deriving subsurface thermal conductivity from velocity data using an empirical relationship, a prediction for subsurface temperature can be made through forward modelling. Results indicate that average temperatures at the base of the Aptian Kudu Shale interval are 134 °C, placing the source in the gas generative window within the study area. This case study demonstrates the power of RST to generate indicative subsurface temperature results in frontier exploration basins, thereby reducing uncertainty over source rock maturity prior to drilling.



Earth Sciences, Geology, Geophysics and Seismology


seismic, Seismic velocities, temperature, Basin modelling, Heat flow, passive margin


Published: 2021-11-05 13:11

Last Updated: 2022-06-15 11:04

Older Versions

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Data Availability (Reason not available):
Primary data used in this study was made available under restricted license to the authors by the data providers. Where publicly available data has been used in the study, a citation and link to the source location has been included.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.