The 3D Facies Architecture and Petrophysical Properties of Hyaloclastite Delta Deposits: An Integrated Photogrammetry and Petrophysical Study from southern Iceland

Lois Greenfield*, John Millett, John Howell, Douglas A Jerram, Tim Watton, David Healy, Malcolm J Hole, Sverre Planke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Hyaloclastites develop where lava interacts with water resulting in deposits that have a unique and often complex range of petrophysical properties. A combination of eruptive style and emplacement environment dictates the size, geometry and distribution of different hyaloclastite facies and their associated primary physical properties such as porosity, permeability and velocity. To date, links between the 3D facies variability within these systems and their petrophysical properties remain poorly understood. Hjörleifshöfði in southern Iceland presents an exceptional outcrop exposure of an emergent hyaloclastite sequence > 1 km wide by > 200 m high and enables an investigation of the distribution of the hyaloclastite deposits at seismic scale. Within this study we present a photogrammetry‐based 3D model from part of this recent hyaloclastite delta and incorporate previous work by Watton et al. (2013) to undertake detailed facies interpretation and quantification. Laboratory petrophysical analyses were performed on 34 core plugs cut from key field facies samples, including P‐ and S‐wave velocity, density, porosity and permeability at both ambient and confining pressure. Integration of the 3D model with the petrophysical data has enabled the production of pseudo‐wireline logs and property distribution maps which demonstrate the variability of physical properties within hyaloclastite sequences at outcrop to seismic scale. Through comparison of our data with examples of older buried hyaloclastite sequences we demonstrate that the wide‐ranging properties of young hyaloclastites become highly uniform in older sequences making their identification by remote geophysical methods for similar facies variations more challenging. Our study provides an improved understanding of the petrophysical property distribution within hyaloclastite sequences and forms a valuable step towards improving the understanding of similar subsurface sequences and their implications for imaging and fluid flow
Original languageEnglish
Article number12415
Pages (from-to)1081-1104
Number of pages24
JournalBasin Research
Issue number5
Early online date4 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Dougal Jerram is partly funded through a Norwegian Research Council Centres of Excellence project (project number 223272, CEED). Adam Soule, Kirstie Wright and an anonymous reviewer are thanked for their extensive comments which helped to improve the final manuscript. We thank Cynthia Ebinger for clear editorial guidance and handing of the manuscript.

Data Availability Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are provided in the supplementary material.


  • basalt
  • eruption
  • fluid flow
  • lava delta
  • petrophysical distribution
  • petrophysical distribution


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