Numerical Sand Box as a Tool for Hydrocarbon Exploration: Applications to the Hides Anticline and the Western Papuan Fold and Thrust belt
AuthorBeucher, R; Hill, K; Farrington, R; Moresi, L
Source TitleSearch and Discovery
PublisherAmerican Association of Petroleum Geologists and European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers
University of Melbourne Author/sFarrington, Rebecca
AffiliationSchool of Earth Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBeucher, R., Hill, K., Farrington, R. & Moresi, L. (2020). Numerical Sand Box as a Tool for Hydrocarbon Exploration: Applications to the Hides Anticline and the Western Papuan Fold and Thrust belt. Search and Discovery, https://doi.org/10.1306/42520Beucher2020.
Access StatusOpen Access
We present UWGeodynamics, a finite element software which facilitates numerical-mechanical and thermo-mechanical modeling in 2D and 3D at all scales. Whilst this can be for the expert user on a supercomputer, we discuss a simple setup for the desk geologist that simulates sandbox modeling. The advantage of the UWGeodynamics sandbox modeling is that over 300 2D models can be run overnight on a supercomputer (or in the cloud) or 10+ models overnight on a laptop as opposed to one analog model/month. This allows us to fully investigate the range of all inputs/variables overnight and produce a movie for each experiment. These can be compared both visually and statistically to determine not only the best outcome but also the range of reasonable outcomes. A major benefit is that we can determine which parameters are important or sensitive in the model and which have little effect. To replicate sandbox modeling of the Hides anticlines (after Darnault and Hill in press) we ran 1050 2D models in 3 days and reproduced their simple ductile, brittle and complex ductile rheologies. We were able to produce the same outcomes with different mixes of parameters, including strain rate, the angle of the fault ramp and subtle variations in material strength and coefficient of friction. This allows a much improved understanding of the structural evolution. Our aim now is to test many other possibilities to improve the fit to the observed structural geometries from the field. We then aim to expand the models to 3D (requiring a supercomputer or cloud computing) to test variations along strike. The same modeling can be applied to other structures along strike in PNG, such as Muruk and Kutubu, and to compressional or extensional structures elsewhere in the world.
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