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The Practice of Seismic Stratigraphy in Deepwater Settings

Bradford E. Prather

INSTRUCTOR: Bradford E. Prather
DISCIPLINE: Geoscience
CEUS: 2.4
AVAILABILITY: Public & In-House

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Geologists, geophysicists, petroleum engineers, supervisors, managers, and technical support staff who are interested in learning the fundamentals of deepwater (turbidite) depositional systems for application to development and exploration.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Play-based exploration as used in the oil industry relies on developing a thorough understanding of the evolution of key sedimentary sequences through time in the form of Gross Depositional Environment (GDE) maps. This course provides techniques for making GDE maps of deepwater stratigraphy, and the language concepts needed to articulate a basin-to-prospect-scale, deepwater depositional model needed for the quantification of prospect risk and uncertainty. The course integrates slope depositional process understanding with sequence stratigraphy, and seismic facies analysis used in the construction of GDE maps.


  • Understand the role GDE maps play in frontier exploration
  • Achieve a general understanding of deepwater depositional models.
  • Learn how to classify slope systems
  • Practice classification and mapping of seismic facies, interpreting environments of deposition, and developing depositional models.
  • Apply sequence stratigraphic concepts in an analysis of deepwater systems.
  • Strengthen confidence in using depositional models to assemble appropriate analogs to benchmark distributions used as part of play and prospect evaluation processes.



  • Products expected of an industry seismic stratigrapher
  • Basics of gravity flows and sediment transport
  • Dynamics of basin subsidence and sediment flux
  • Seismic resolution of deepwater depositional stratigraphy
  • Classification of slope systems
  • Techniques for the classification and mapping of seismic facies
  • Regional depositional processes of continental slopes
  • Classification of gross depositional environments
  • Controls on reservoir distribution and architecture in submarine valley, leveed-channel complexes and submarine aprons
  • Application of sequence stratigraphy concepts to deepwater systems
  • Partitioning of sediment across slopes