AAPG Short Courses: Practical Salt Tectonics

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AAPG Short Courses

Practical Salt Tectonics

Mark Rowan, Rowan Consulting, Boulder, CO
November 4 - 7, 2013
Norris Conference Center, City Center location, Houston, TX
Member: $1,475.00 • Nonmember $1,675.00
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Goes up to $1675/$1875 after 10/7/2013. Includes course notes and refreshments.
No refunds for cancellations after 10/7/2013.
40 people
3.0 CEU What is a CEU?

Who Should Attend

This course is intended for geoscientists, engineers, and managers who need an introduction to salt tectonics or an update in this constantly evolving field. It is appropriate for those working in any salt basin globally and assumes a basic familiarity with structural geology concepts and terminology.


Participants completing this course should be able to:

  • understand the depositional setting of layered evaporites and the control on later deformation,
  • describe the mechanics of salt flow and identify the loading, extensional, and contractional triggers for salt movement,
  • interpret salt and stratal geometries associated with diapirs, salt welds, and minibasins,
  • illustrate the processes and geometries resulting from extensional or contraction reactivation of diapirs,
  • explain how diapir rise influences stratal geometries, faulting, and reservoir distribution in diapir-flank traps,
  • demonstrate how allochthonous salt is emplaced and how it subsequently evolves,
  • understand the role of salt in rift basins, passive margins, and convergent-margin fold-and-thrust belts,
  • determine the effect of salt on sediment transport and deposition,
  • appraise the influence of salt bodies and welds on hydrocarbon maturation, migration, and entrapment
  • assess more accurately the risks in the exploration of salt basins.


This course is designed to give participants the basic working tools to explore and develop hydrocarbons in salt basins. Because no two basins are alike, the focus is on understanding the processes and styles of salt-related deformation using a combination of seismic data, outcrop examples, and experimental models.

The course will initially address layered-evaporite basins and what drives salt mobility. We will then shift to discussing, first, how salt flow, diapirism, and minibasin formation are triggered by early differential loading, extension, contraction, or strike-slip deformation, and second, how diapirs and minibasins evolve over time and can be reactived during episodes of extension or shortening. Focusing in on the details around diapirs, we will examine how diapiric growth impacts folding, faulting, and reservoir distribution. Because salt often moves more laterally than vertically, we will explain how and why allochthonous canopies form and evolve, and what can be expected just below salt sheets.

Salt is found in a variety of tectonic settings. We will look at its role in facilitating and responding to deformation in rift basins, passive margins dominated by gravity-driven deformation, and convergent-margin fold-and-thrust belts, using examples for various salt basins around the world. Finally, because salt provides the framework for other aspects of the petroleum systems in these basins, we will examine the influence of salt bodies and salt welds on sediment transport and deposition, hydrocarbon maturation and migration, and seal of hydrocarbons. The course will consist primarily of lectures but will be supplemented by exercises focused mainly on interpretation of both 2-D and 3-D, time- and depth-migrated seismic data.

November 4th, 2013 6:00 AM   through   November 7th, 2013 5:00 PM
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