Section 4.4: Basin Analysis
When looking at them only casually, sedimentary basins tend to hide their richness.
The landscape is usually flat and certainly does not inspire the awe of a wild mountain range. Nevertheless, most of these basins are economically very important, because they contain thick layers of useful sediments.
In our section we use the results of geologic and geophysical field investigations to characterise the current conditions of a basin and to recontructs its geologic history. We have developed a new type of data based models, which close the gap between fundamental numerical forward models on a lithospheric scale and the detailed reservoirmodels used by the oil industry. Among other things, our models reveal the subsidence of a basin during the Earth's history and how it was filled with sediments. At the same time, we can answer important questions on the current conditions of a basin: What kind of mechanical stress is it supposed to? What is the temperature and pressure distribution within its interior?
Our work is not restricted to basins on the continents. We have also developed three dimensional models of the Vøring- and Møre-Basins in the North Atlantic off the coast of Norway and of the Kwanza-Basin off of Angola in the southern Atlantic Ocean. Among other items, we are interested in the salt diapirism in those basins.
The Orange-Basin off the Atlantic coast of Southern Africa and the Colorado Basin offshore Argentina lends itself to be investigated as prime candidate for basin studies on a passive continental margin.
Using a long seismic profile, gravimetric data and isostatic models, we determine the structure of the crust in that region. In addition, we use borehole soundings to reconstruct the subsidence history of the basin, identify tectonic biases and compute the history of the heat flow through the basin.