April 2018 

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Magmatic versus Amagmatic Continental Extension, and the Sedimentary Sequence Architecture of Rifts

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Christopher Scholz


16 April 18




Continental rifts have long been important for hosting
lacustrine source rocks in many hydrocarbon provinces,
and in recent years rifts have seen accelerated exploration for syn-rift reservoirs. The application of sequence stratigraphy to rift-lake systems requires special consideration in light of (1) heightened and spatially variable subsidence accompanying normal faulting, and (2) sensitive lake levels driven by climatic shifts over geological time scales. This presentation provides examples of sequence stratigraphy applied to rift-lake systems, especially considering the roles of rift segmentation, magmatism (or lack thereof), and varying continental hydroclimates. The wide geochemical variability of lake systems in rifts is in part driven by the different styles of magmatism observed in different extensional environments, which influences the occurrences of lacustrine carbonates. Predictive models of siliciclastic reservoir facies in extensional
basins are grounded in our understanding of structural controls of drainage systems. Stacking
patterns and lithofacies variability are commonly complicated by climatic processes. Many tropical
lakes are hypersensitive to changing evaporation-precipitation ratios, and therefore lake level changes
are amplified through subtle changes in climate. Accordingly, lake level shifts in many tropical basins
are dramatic, with documented changes of hundreds of meters over timeframes of a few thousand years. This presentation includes extensive overviews of nested seismic reflection data sets, ranging in scope from high-resolution data to basin- and crustal-scale imagery.

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