From Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin (
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists Annual Meeting, Dallas, April 18-21, 2004

Outcrop-Based 3D Synthetic Seismic of Early Permian Deep Water Carbonate Deposits, Victorio Canyon, West Texas

Xavier Janson, Charles Kerans, Jerome Bellian, Ted Playton, and W.M. Fitchen


Deepwater carbonate reservoirs remain one of the least understood and least exploited systems in the geologic record. Deepwater reservoirs of Permian age constitute an important play in the Permian Basin, where reservoir strata are dominantly grain-dominated high-density turbidites or grain-flows shed off the latest Wolfcampian-early Leonardian shelf margins during periods of high-amplitude sea level rise and fall in early Permian times. In Victorio Canyon in West Texas, deep-water carbonate deposits of latest Wolfcampian Hueco Group and earliest Leonardian Bone Spring/Victorio Peak Formation outcrop along three dimensional exposures. A 1 by 2.5 Km three dimension stratigraphic model of this carbonate slope-basin system was constructed from ground-based laser survey, 22 measured sections, and detailed photomosaic mapping. The stratigraphic architecture of these basinal deposits consists of five sequences made of normal marine mud and silt dominated facies and a variety of sediment gravity flow ranging from high-density fine-grained turbidites to conglomeratic debris flows. Reservoir prone facies consists of bioclastic sheet-like grainflow and ooid grainstone basin floor fan and biolcastic dolomitic turbidite and grainflows whereas flow-barriers are interstratfied mud-dominated debris flows and hemipelagic mudstones. Based on 110 plugs taken on the outcrop, this 3D facies model was then converted in a 3D impedance model. Several 3D synthetic seismic cubes have been calculated for different frequencies from this outcrop-based model. These synthetics highlight the seismic signature of these toe-of-slope and basinal ooid fan and carbonate debris flows and are compared with several producing reservoirs from the similar age and setting.