Automated stratigraphic correlation and model building using chronostratigraphic principles

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Zoltan Sylvester


Stratigraphic correlation of geophysical well logs is one of the most important - and most time-consuming - tasks that applied geoscientists perform on a daily basis. Using the dynamic time warping (DTW) algorithm, automated correlation of two wells is a fairly simple task; DTW can also be used to correlate a large number of wells along a single path. However, errors accumulate along a path and loops cannot be closed. To create a three-dimensionally consistent correlation framework, we use a Python implementation of the Wheeler and Hale (2014) approach, which is based on the idea of stretching-an-squeezing all logs into a chronostratigraphic diagram that has relative geologic time (RGT) on its y-axis. The depth shifts needed for the RGT transformation are computed by translating the outputs of a large number of pairwise DTW correlations into a least-squares optimization problem that is solved through the conjugate gradient method. The resulting chronostratigraphic diagram provides an overview of the overall stratigraphy and its variability. To create geologically intuitive well-log cross sections, we use a multi-scale blocking method that relies on the continuous wavelet transform to identify stratigraphic units of a certain scale in one well and then propagate these boundaries to all the other wells. We demonstrate the usefulness of this approach on a dataset with close to 700 wells from the Permian Basin, West Texas. Linear channel bodies in the deepwater Spraberry Formation are easily detected and clearly highlighted in maps and cross sections. The methodology is robust enough for mapping subtle stratigraphic details, previously considered feasible only through manual interpretation. More importantly, it can be used to quickly build three-dimensional stratigraphic models for large segments of sedimentary basins where enough log data is available.



Sedimentology, Software Engineering, Stratigraphy


stratigraphic correlation, geophysical well logs, chronostratigraphic diagram, Permian Basin, Dynamic time warping, Continuous wavelet transform, Stratigraphic modeling


Published: 2022-08-07 09:17

Last Updated: 2022-08-07 16:17


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International