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Continental Margin Process Analysis, Structures & Stratigraphy

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Processes responsible for continental margin formation and evolution are often studied in isolation. Because of this, feedbacks between them are not well understood. For example, how do evolving plate margin forces and underlying mantle processes influence stress history, and the consequent faulting, subsidence and uplift history on a continental margin? In turn, how do faulting, subsidence and uplift influence development of the basin fill, including salt deposition and remobilization? And how do petroleum system elements such as reservoir units develop in this basin fill context? Studying these feedbacks is difficult because they occur over several orders of scale magnitude in time and space. This makes it difficult for one individual to work on all the different processes involved.

The COMPASS consortium conducts multi-scale multidisciplinary research led by the requirements of industry partners who are involved in exploration and R&D activities on continental margins. The academic members of the COMPASS consortium are experts in the study of rifted continental margin processes occurring from plate to reservoir scale. The existing research expertise of the group’s membership encompasses tectonics and geodynamics, structural geology, sedimentology and stratigraphy, and is built around an important element of seismic, potential field and well data interpretation. Together, they have extensive experience in petroleum geoscience research, in collaboration with industry partners, and in post-graduate training as part of the department’s internationally established MSc petroleum geosciences programme.

Leveraging off this wide ranging expertise, the aim of the COMPASS consortium is ultimately to improve rifted continental margin process analysis and petroleum system prediction by elucidating the feedbacks between margin processes occurring across a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. As an interdisciplinary project, an important deliverable will be a rigorously-maintained and up-to-date Wiki-type knowledge database for subscribers. Expertise will be integrated at the research methods level so that members will benefit from research that is reproducible and interpretable in terms of the fundamental process-related assumptions that guide those methods, which include plate kinematic analysis, numerical modelling of lithosphere and mantle dynamic processes, physical simulations of basin to reservoir scale tectonic deformation, stratigraphic forward modeling, seismic interpretation and field studies.



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