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Flood basalt facies from borehole data: implications for prospectivity and volcanology in volcanic rifted margins

Nelson, Catherine E.; Jerram, Dougal A.; Hobbs, Richard W.


Catherine E. Nelson

Dougal A. Jerram

Richard W. Hobbs


Flood basalt successions cover many. potentially prospective sedimentary basins world-wide, and a few instances exist of intra-basalt petroleum discoveries. However, little is known about the architecture and rock propel-ties of the lava flows, intrusions and other lithologies that make up these successions. We present a simple, effective method of obtaining information from borehole data on the different volcanic facies within a flood basalt succession. Our aims are: (1) to provide a means of determining proportions of different volcanic facies without detailed examination of borehole data or where borehole data are limited; (2) to explore the relationship between onshore and offshore observations. The facies classification scheme providing the framework for this research includes tabular-classic lava flows, compound-braided lava flows, hyaloclastites and intrusions. We show how this scheme can increase our knowledge of the offshore succession and can be useful in hydrocarbon exploration. In the Faroe Islands, three different basalt formations display a range of facies onshore. Boreholes have been drilled through these, and several kilometres' depth of log data collected. The proximity of these boreholes to onshore observations allows the identification of different facies within the wireline log data. This work demonstrates that histograms of P-wave velocities provide an efficient method of identifying the different facies, and we also explore why these distributions are so different. When applied to borehole data from published ODP wells and one commercial well, it is possible to estimate proportions of the different volcanic facies using the velocity distributions alone.


Nelson, C. E., Jerram, D. A., & Hobbs, R. W. (2009). Flood basalt facies from borehole data: implications for prospectivity and volcanology in volcanic rifted margins. Petroleum Geoscience, 15(4), 313-324.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 1, 2009
Deposit Date May 25, 2010
Journal Petroleum Geoscience
Print ISSN 1354-0793
Publisher European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 4
Pages 313-324
Keywords North Atlantic Igneous Province, Faroe Islands, Lava flows, Wireline logs, Volcaniclastic.