The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences
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Bureau Seminar, September 5, 2012

High Impact Biostratigraphy - The use of microfossils in industry and research

Dr. Dr. Maria Antonieta Lorente
Central University of Venezuela

Click here for streaming video from September 5, 2012

The use of microfossils is not only concerned with their recognition (systematics) and relative occurrence in space and time of organisms (biostratigraphy and biofacies), but also with reducing risk and costs in exploration and production of hydrocarbons. Biostratigraphers face a complex field of knowledge, since microfossils that are preserved in rocks belong to many different groups of organisms, from the terrestrial pollen and spores that get transported into transitional/shallow marine areas with a mix of autochthonous and allochthonous remains to the strictly marine calcareous nannoplancton and plancktonic forams.

In this talk, I will highlight examples of the many uses that these microscopic organisms can have in helping geoscientists unravel the many challenges associated with day-to-day operations in the business of oil and gas exploration and production. We will briefly tour through several case studies that will allow us to appreciate how microfossils can help us decipher paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic conditions, how they can assist us in the complex tasks of building accurate chrostratigraphic and sequence stratigraphic frameworks, how they can help structural geologists decipher the subtle nature and timing of certain structures, and how they have helped petroleum geologists find oil and gas for many decades. All these wonders and more are possible through the study of these microscopic, often times unicellular fossils, that we can find abundantly in very small chips of rock!


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