Submarine canyons and deep-water channels are the primary conduits for the transfer of coarse sediments from the shelf to deep-water fans and they are today major targets for petroleum exploration. Southern California has had a long and complex geologic history that has involved many episodes of deep-water sedimentation in a variety of settings ranging from the Paleozoic passive margin of the North American craton to Mesozoic forearc and arc settings to Cenozoic transform, pull-apart, and continental borderland basins. These settings feature deep-water deposits in which both large and small submarine channels and fans played major roles as sediment transport routes and sites of sedimentation.

Six deep water systems will be examined in this field course. These include in the order that we will examine them: (1) Miocene-Pliocene Capistrano Formation at San Clemente State Beach, (2) Capistrano and Monterey sediments cropping out at Dana Point Harbor, (3) Cretaceous strata in coastal exposures in La Jolla, (4) Eocene strata in sea cliffs north of Scripps Institute of Oceanography, (5) Point Loma and Cabrillo Formations in the Tourmaline Surfing Beach and (6) Cretaceous Point Loma Formation exposed at the Point Loma Peninsula.

This course combines field activities with in-class lectures and exercises. Exercises in the field will focus on description of DW lithofacies, stratal geometries and recognizing key stratigraphic surfaces, emphasizing practical applications. Participants will also learn to describe cores, integrate core and well-log information with seismic to generate high-resolution EoD maps of reservoirs in different settings. Engineering data is used to demonstrate how to improve prediction of reservoir performance. Cores, well-logs and seismic examples are compared to and contrasted with outcrops to help participants to extrapolate 2-D outcrop information to 3-D views of reservoir scale depositional systems.

Designed for

Geologists, geophysicists, and petroleum engineers working on deep water reservoirs from exploration to production.


Vitor Abreu, PhD
Consultant, ACT-Geo

Headshot Vitor Formal

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