While you can model anything on computer, some situations such as the complex transition from extension to compression tectonics in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico are easier to re-create with analog models. These ‘sandbox’ experiments involve considerable artistry, and are the subject of the ongoing FACET research program at the French Petroleum Institute. Sand and putty models are time-lapse analyzed during deformation in a medical CT scanning X-Ray device to create a film of the tectonic history.
Although it may be some time before the IFP’s tectonic movies appear at your local cinema, they are available now from C&C Reservoir’s Structural Analogs Module, part of C&C’s Digital Analogs Knowledge System (DAKS). The IFP/FACET consortium is funded by Shell, Petrobras and Conoco.
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