A fresh approach to ditch cutting analysis as an aid to exploration in areas affected by large igneous province (LIP) volcanism

John Millett, M. J. Hole, D. W. Jolley

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Where hydrocarbon exploration targets occur within basins affected by large igneous province (LIP) sequences, an understanding of the volcanic stratigraphy is essential in compiling accurate basin models at all scales. Ditch cutting samples are one of the most commonly available sources of data yielding information in the context of LIP stratigraphy such as phenocryst load, degree of secondary precipitation and lava composition, largely unattainable by remote sensing. Where core data is limited or absent, cuttings provide the only means of accessing such data along with valuable inference of volcanic facies development and down-hole conditions. Interpretations based on cuttings data are widely used in industry and, as such, a repeatable and well-defined methodology for the analysis and designation of volcanic facies from cuttings is an important requirement for regional and individual play modelling. Such an approach has not been common practice to date. We propose a system of basic percentage-based cuttings analysis and ternary classification specifically tailored to LIP sequences, and argue for the benefits of a coherent and transparent basin-wide approach. The classification system is further developed into a log-style output for easy integration and comparison with other down-hole geophysical and biostratigraphic data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-207
Number of pages15
JournalSpecial Publication - Geological Society of London
Early online date21 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Comments from an anonymous reviewer are gratefully acknowledged in improving the manuscript. We would like to acknowledge members of the Chevron WoS team for helpful discussions and access to data. Stuart Archer, Simon Passey and Nick Schofield are thanked for fruitful discussions. John Still and Fiona Thomson at the University of Aberdeen are thanked for invaluable help in sample preparation and analysis. Finally Keiren Wall is thanked for discussions and analysis undertaken during
concept development


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