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Short Course 8: Stratigraphic Forward Modeling

Numerical stratigraphic forward modelling (SFM) attempts to simulate the physical, chemical and biological processes that are responsible for stratal architecture over time scales from seconds to millions of years. We can only demonstrate that we understand these processes by making quantitative predictions about stratal architecture and rock properties, away from observations, at all scales and time intervals from the Pre-Cambrian to the future. Using this technology earth scientists can develop quantitative multiple working hypotheses of basin fill and the response of depositional systems to future climate change. The course will focus on hands-on use of the Sedsim SFM software, and the workflow needed to develop and test depositional and stratigraphic understanding at a variety of scales. Theoretical foundations will be included but there will be an emphasis on using SFM programs in real-world settings so that their capabilities and limitations are well understood. A range of practical applications from flume tank to continental scales will be discussed.  Copies of the latest trial version of Sedsim and other software used in the course, as well as documentation will be provided beforehand together with exercises and test data sets.

Date and Time: Sunday 2 September 2018, 9 am – 6 pm, and Monday 3 September, 9 am – 5 pm.

Venue: Conference Centre of the Clarion Hotel, Seneca Meeting Room

Cost: 135 USD

Requirements: Course participants will be expected to have their own Windows computer and pre-load the provided software and exercises.

Course Outline:

  • Day 1, Morning: Introduction to Stratigraphic Forward Modelling: Historical review, current status, trend and future. Quantitative description of sedimentary processes: Sediment diffusion, free-surface steady and unsteady flow, principles of sediment erosion, transport, and deposition, compaction, diagenesis, syndepositional and postdepositional deformation.
  • Day 1, Afternoon: Sedsim (algorithm, parameters, problem identification and specification):  Use of Trial-Sedsim and discussion of the input files. Simple worked class exercise.
  • Day 2, Morning: Carbonate and organic exercises: Digital flume tank exercises: Basin Scale Exercise: Constraint and Verification.
  • Day 2, Afternoon: Problems and pitfalls posed by structural reconstruction and syndepositional tectonics. Data honoring, predictability and uncertainty. Summary and discussion.


Course Instructors:

Cedric M. Griffiths is Director of StrataMod and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University. He has held positions as Nordic Council Research Professor in Petrophysics at NTNU, Trondheim, and the South Australian Chair of Petroleum Geology at the University of Adelaide. He has worked for BP Research and Sintef, in Norway, and CSIRO in Australia on various aspects of quantitative stratigraphic modelling. Cedric holds a PhD from Newcastle University in the UK, is an Associate Editor of Terra Nova, and over the past 30 years has published numerous peer‐reviewed papers in the fields of quantitative stratigraphy, stratigraphic forward modelling, petroleum geology, coastal process modelling and petrophysics.


Daniel M. Tetzlaff is an independent consultant in stratigraphic and structural modeling. He holds a PhD from Stanford University, where he authored the original version of Sedsim (a precursor of today’s vastly expanded software) and coauthored the first textbook on three- dimensional simulation of clastic sedimentation. He has worked as a Senior Geologist for Texaco, Geoscience Software Development Manager for Baker Hughes, and Principal Research Scientist for Schlumberger Doll Research, where he initiated the development of GPM, a stratigraphic forward modeling package which is now an integral part of the Petrel™ software, used by major oil companies. Since 2015 Daniel works as an independent consultant and has developed a renewed interest in the scientific fundamentals of stratigraphic modeling.



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