Imaging deformation in submarine thrust belts using seismic attributes

David Iacopini, Robert W.H. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Uncertainty exists as to the patterns of deformation that develop within submarine thrust belts. This case study uses a large-scale gravity-driven fold-thrust structure as an analogue for submarine fold thrust systems in general. Seismic attribute analysis and mapping provide ways of identifying complex fault patterns and associated deformation that are otherwise unresolved in conventional amplitude displays. These methods are developed and applied to a 3D dataset and used to investigate the geometry, internal architecture and the nature of the low signal/noise incoherency and discontinuities observed on the km-scale. Semblance (coherency), curvatures and spectral decomposition were all computed and used as attributes. Collectively these define volumes within the seismic data where the signal is greatly reduced — features termed here “disturbance geobodies”. The study shows that thrust faults that, on conventional amplitude displays appear to be simple and continuous, are likely to consist of complex arrays of anastamosing fault strands. Adjacent to these composite fault zones are greater volumes of deformed rocks (disturbance geobodies) across which there are only minor stratal offsets. Similarly volumes of high stratal curvature coincide with disturbance geobodies, again interpreted as zones of weak, distributed deformation. These relationships between narrow thrust faults and broader zones of deformation are broadly comparable to those observed in outcrops within exhumed thrust systems. Application of the seismic imaging techniques developed here will improve the understanding of the localization of deformation in sedimentary successions with important implications for predicting fluid flow within other deep water structures such as subduction accretion complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-422
Number of pages9
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume302
Issue number3-4
Early online date19 Jan 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011

Keywords

  • submarine thrust systems
  • fold-thrust structures
  • deformation localization
  • 3-D seismic interpretation
  • seismic imaging
  • seismic attributes

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