Analysis of the Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin means investigating a petroliferous, remote polar province that evolved from a passive continental margin into a foreland basin at the junction of a Precambrian Shield, a Mesozoic Ocean, and a Mesozoic-Cenozoic orogen. We develop data-based crust-scale 3D models that reproduce the basin-wide structural configuration of the main sedimentary and crystalline crustal units. The inherent distribution of stratigraphic units and physical properties is used for investigations of the present-day thermal field and reconstructions of basin evolution.

The Western Bredasdorp Basin located on the sheared passive continental margin of southern South Africa has demonstrably active petroleum systems. However, there exists presently a scientific gap between this observation and the temporal and spatial geodynamic behaviour of the margin. By integrating multi-disciplinary data (borehole logs, reflection seismic data, gravity etc.) as well as specific physical laws, we develop numerical 3D models of the crust-scale geology and thermal field. This large-scale data-based approach facilitates better understanding basin evolution and appropriately setting boundary conditions for petroleum systems modelling.

Hot and saline springs have implications for deep geothermal energy exploration and groundwater utilization and contamination and are of great scientific and economic interest. Springs are surface manifestations of coupled processes occurring at depth in the Earth. In this regard, the TVZ and the NEGB represent two end members in terms of the hydrology and thermodynamics encountered.

Faults are likely to have a significant impact on physical processes controlling the fluid and heat transport in the earth`s interior. Quantifying this impact is important for a successful exploration of geothermal energy which depends on a reliable assessment of the fluid flow and thermal field in the subsurface.

Based on different raw data we develop a 3D structural model of the basin fill, which integrates the sediment thicknesses of the stratigraphical units in a refined resolution than previous models.

The joint research project Geoenergy - GeoEn - concentrates on the examination of four relevant core themes which engage in the climate friendly and sustainable energy supply in the future: CO2 capture and transport, CO2 storage, shale gas (unconventional geo-resource) and geothermal energy.

Understanding heat transport in sedimentary basins requires an assessment of the regional 3D heat distribution and of the main physical mechanisms responsible for transport of heat. We present 3D numerical simulations of heat transport based on regional 3D structural basin models of the Central European Basin System and assess the relative influence of conductive versus convective heat transfer.

The project is part of the program MOM (Methane On the Move), which aims at predicting methane migration and emission from the subsurface and evaluating potential climate feedback processes by integrated subsurface, ocean and atmosphere modelling. The aim of this sub-project is to assess the lithosphere-scale thermal field and thus provide the large-scale boundary conditions on a global scale in the frame of the larger MOM project.

A 3D structural model, consistent with geological and geophysical observations, integrates the sedimentary infill as well as the structure of the underlying crust and the lithospheric mantle from the continent over the severely extended continental margin to the oceanic domain. This model provides the base for reconstructions of the post-Jurassic deformation history and for the assessment of the related factors controlling temperature and pressure in the basin.

We study the controlling factors for salt movements in relation to regional deformation at passive continental margins. The planned research is part of larger research plan of our group addressing deformation mechanisms of salt-bearing basins in general. Specific controlling factors can be eliminated that are characteristically different for post-depositional mobilisation of salt at passive margins, in intra-continental basins and in foreland basins.

We analyse the polyphase deformation history of the CEBS (CEBS) and estimate the paleostress states responsible for the observed deformation by performing a field-based fault-slip analysis.

A combined analysis of seismic, gravimetric and well data is used to reveal the tectonic evolution of the Orange Basin and to identify parameters of rifting and basin development.

The North Alpine Foreland Basin developed since the Tertiary in consequence of the European-Adriatic continental collision. It features today a wedge shape and is filled with erosional products of the Alps (called Molasse). Bordered to the south by the Alps, the Molasse Basin is underlain by Mesozoic deposits, which have accumulated in the Tethys Ocean. This Mesozoic succession includes the karstified upper Jurassic Malm aquifer, which is today highly used for geothermal energy production.

To understand the present day structure and the mechanisms of subsidence at passive margins we assess the first-order configuration of the sediments, crust and upper mantle combining data on the geometry and distribution of physical properties into basin-scale data-based, 3D structural models. The latter subsequently are used as a base for isostatic, 3D gravity and 3D thermal modelling, to evaluate the isostatic state, the density structure as well as the characteristics of the thermal field. Examples from the conjugate South Atlantic margins offshore western South Africa-Namibia and Argentina show that, in spite of sharing several structural similarities, the two South Atlantic margins differ with respect to their structural grain.


Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth
Prof. Dr. Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth
Basin Modelling
Building C 4 , Room 1.09
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1345