14 | Halliburton Landmark
available paleomagnetic data, while also being
consistent with known hotspot tracks and
accounting for inferred periods of true polar
wander. The detail of the relative position
between plates is resolved by integrating
geological data from the Neftex portfolio,
such as oceanic magnetic isochrones,
geochronology (hard rock and detrital),
mineral deposits, biostratigraphy, sedimentary
sequences, seismic, orogenic events, sutures,
and geophysical data.
A global geodynamic scenario can be
established between key assemblies, which
ensures that all plates and their boundaries
evolve in a consistent manner, respecting
geometrical rules and accepted limits for plate
velocities. This approach, termed “dynamic
plate boundaries” (Hochard, 2008) or “dual
control” (Verard, 2015; 2018), guaranties the
geometrical validity of a plate model. In this
instance, our model reflects more closely
the theory of plate tectonics as developed by
McKenzie, as opposed to pure continental
Holistic Earth: Greater Understanding
and Better Predictions
The recent advances in geoprocessing and big
data analytics have allowed us to add the third
dimension (depth/altitude) to plate tectonic
models and paleogeographic maps, through
paleo-digital elevation and paleo-bathymetric
models. These new detailed models are critical
inputs to generate source-to-sink studies and
The outputs of these models, and derived
predictions, have significant benefits to the oil
and gas industry. For example, the applications
of source-to-sink methods over an accurate
plate model representation and combined with
detrital geochronology datasets allows one
to discriminate on the provenance of clastic
sediments and, thus, make better-informed
predictions on reservoir quality. On the other
hand, the reconstitution of paleo-climates
enables the prediction of the formation and
occurrence of source rocks and tropical
carbonate reservoirs, for example.
Plate tectonics continues to be an intense
subject of research and development for the
geoscience community, as a whole. There
Exploration Insights | 15
is still a long way to go in improving model
accuracies, pushing plate tectonics further
back into deep time (Precambrian tectonics),
understanding how and when plate tectonic
activity started on Earth, or even on other
planets (e.g. Venus), and appreciating the
respective contributions of the different forces
driving plate tectonics. This will help build our
knowledge of the interactions at the internal
boundaries of the Earth, linking their effects
on plate motions, and ultimately on the whole
Earth system to influence climatic and eustatic
variations and their sedimentary response.
Conrad, C.P. 2013. The solid Earth’s influence on sea
level. GSA - Bulletin, v. 125, no. 7-8, p. 1027-1052.
Hochard, C. 2008. GIS and Geodatabases Application
to Global Scale Plate Tectonics Modelling. Institut de
Geologie et Paleontologie, Universite de Lausanne,
Mckenzie, D.P. 1966. The viscosity of the lower
mantle. Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 71, no. 16,
p. 3995-4010. (XURBB_641556).
Mckenzie, D.P. and R.L. Parker 1967. The North Pacific:
an Example of Tectonics on a Sphere. Nature, v. 216,
no. 5122, p. 1276-1280. (XURBB_641560).
Muller, R.D., J-Y Royer and L.A. Lawyer 1993. Revised
plate motions relative to the hotspots from combined
Atlantic and Indian Ocean hotspot tracks. Geology, v.
21, no. 3, p. 275-278. (XURBB_469480).
Scotese, C.R. and D.W. Baker 1975. Continental Drift
Reconstructions and Animation. Journal of Geological
Education. Taylor and Francis Group, p. 167-171.
Scotese, C.R. 1976. A continental drift ‘flip book’.
Computers and Geosciences, v. 2, no. 1, p. 113-116.
Simmons, M.D. 2015. Great Geologists.Halliburton,
Houston, Tx, 1-140p. (XURBB_641599).
Stampfli, G.M. and G.D. Borel 2002. A plate tectonic
model for the Paleozoic and Mesozoic constrained
by dynamic plate boundaries and restored synthetic
oceanic isochrons. Earth and Planetary Science
Letters, v. 196, no. 1-2, p. 17-33. (XURBB_463865).
Torsvik, T.H. 2019. Earth History: A journey in time and
space from the base to top. Teconophysics, v. 760, p.
Vérard, C., C. Hochard, P.O. Baumgartner, G.M.
Stampfli and M. Liu 2015. Geodynamic evolution
of the Earth over the Phanerozoic: Plate tectonic
activity and palaeoclimatic indicators. Journal
of Palaeogeography, v. 4, no. 2, p. 167-188.
Vérard, C. 2018. Plate tectonic modelling: review and
perspectives. Geological Magazine, v. 156, no. 2, p.
Vine, F.J. and D.H. Matthews 1963. Magnetic Anomalies
Over Oceanic Ridges. Nature, v. 199, no. 4897, p. 947-949.
Thanks to Mike Simmons and Rebecca Head for the
useful comments and the editorial work. Thanks to all
our colleagues who have contributed to the continuous
improvement of our plate model over the years.
Jean-Christophe Wrobel-Daveau, Senior
Geoscientist — Structural Geology
Advisor, Halliburton Landmark
Jean-Christophe is a subject matter
expert on complex geology and structural modeling.
He has 12 years of industry experience in play-
based hydrocarbon exploration, specializing in plate
tectonics and building structurally valid subsurface
models, with three years spent leading the team of
plate modelers at Neftex ® Insights. Jean-Christophe
holds an MSc degree in geochemistry and
cosmonucleids dating methods from the University
of Grenoble, France, and a PhD in structural geology
and detrital thermochronology from Cergy-Pontoise
University, France/Total SA).
Graeme Nicoll, Senior Geoscientist
— Solution Owner Source-to-Sink,
After post-doctoral work in
geochronology and basin dynamics at Edinburgh
University, and an industry consultancy role
looking at North Atlantic crustal evolution, Graeme
joined Neftex in 2012 and developed our Mineral
Deposit and Geochronology datasets, and their
subsequent integration into supporting Plate
Modeling and Gross Depositional Environment
mapping. Since 2017, he has led our Source-to-Sink
and Geochronology teams. He holds a PhD degree
from Trinity College Dublin.
This article is a synthesis based upon published data and information, and
derived knowledge created within Halliburton. Unless explicitly stated
otherwise, no proprietary client data has been used in its preparation.
If client data has been used, permission will have been obtained and
is acknowledged. Reproduction of any copyrighted image is with the
permission of the copyright holder and is acknowledged. The opinions
found in the articles may not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions
of Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. and its affiliates including but not
limited to Landmark Graphics Corporation.
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