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The Interaction between Passive Margin Tectonism, Climate, Carbonate Platform Architecture, Source Rock Deposition and Oceanic Anoxic Events

Start Date: April 12, 2017 - 04:15 PM
End Date: April 12, 2017 - 05:15 PM

By Dr. Volker Vahrenkamp
KAUST
Venue: Lecture Hall 1 (2322), Engineering and Science Hall (Building 9)​

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​A​bstract: Thick Cretaceous carbonate platform sequences at the north-eastern margin of the Arabian Plate provide an excellent and detailed record for assessing the complex interaction between climate, passive margin tectonism and carbonate platform growth. Three examples are given, one from the Late Jurassic and two from the Early Cretaceous.

In the Late Jurassic previously widespread shallow water carbonate deposition differentiated. Uplift of the north-eastern plate margin caused the exposure and erosion at the margin and the formation of an intra-shelf basin to the west and south. In Abu Dhabi this led to the deposition of westwards prograding shallow water carbonate sequences during the Oxfordian/Tithonian and deep water carbonates in the basins(Hadria/Tuwaiq Mnt, Hanifa and Arab-D Formations). No apparent climate disturbance is known for this period and platform/basin differentiation is entirely driven by tectonism and sealevel fluctuations. In the Tithonian uplift and subsidence apparently waned and remaining accommodation space was filled with carbonate/evaporite sequences (Arab A-C, Hith Fms) indicating a more severe isolation of the basin during this final stage of basin evolution.

In the Early Cretaceous during periods of relative stable climate carbonate deposition was generally able to keep-up with sealevel rise at the slowly subsiding passive margin of the Arabian plate. This led to the generation of a giant layer-cake lagoon behind a platform margin prograding eastwards towards the Tethys-facing plate margin. However, climatic disturbances that likely also caused Oceanic Anoxic Events led to a differentiation of the shelf into shallow water carbonates and intra-shelf basins with subsequent source rock deposition.

 Conclusions are based on the integration of hundreds of wells, bore-hole logs, outcrop sections and regional seismic, thousands of meters of cores, a well-established facies classification and geochemical data consisting of thousands of carbon isotope and TOC analysis.

Bio: Volker has worked more than 28 years as carbonate geology expert for various Shell companies in the Netherlands, Malaysia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, where he was - until 2015 - Exploration Manager. In 2016 he became General Manager of Nordic Geothermal LLC, based in Dubai. For 2017 he has accepted a position as Professor of Geology at KAUST, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

​He has extensive technical experience covering both exploration and production aspects of the hydrocarbon business. His focus has been on stratigraphy, especially chemo-stratigraphy, facies architecture, diagenesis, core analysis including digital rock physics, rock typing and property upscaling, 3-D reservoir modeling & field development planning.
 
Volker has successfully managed exploration and studies teams with a multi-national diverse workforce, organized and led international conferences and innovative core workshops in the Middle East. He is an accomplished fieldtrip leader for geological outcrops and modern analogues. In 2008 he was an AAPG Distinguished International Lecturer.

He has a PhD in Marine Geology and Geochemistry from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences in Miami; a MS degree in Engineering Geology & Clastic Sedimentology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI and a BS in Geology from the Universität Freiburg, Germany.

Volker has more than 30 open literature publications and 100 presentations at international conferences.
He is member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG); Society of Sedimentary Petrologists (SEPM); Emirates Society of Geoscientists (ESG); Geological Society of Oman (GSO).