Since 1990 we have been working with Prof. Nick Kusznir (Liverpool University) on understanding and modelling the processes of continental extension. Together we have developed techniques and a suite of software products (Stretch, Flex-Decomp and HEAT) for the large-scale analysis of rift basins and continental margins. In a commercial context these are used mainly to assist frontier exploration projects.
Stretch is a forward modelling program that produces profiles of whole-basin/regional structure, both at the syn-rift stage of fault-block development and during the subsequent phase of post-rift subsidence. Stretch can be used to analyse multiple rift episodes. It models whole-lithosphere extension, incorporating fault-block geometry, isostatically- balanced subsidence and thermal perturbation though time.
Stretch takes cross-section geometries, typically as seen on seismic data, and produces 2D structural/stratigraphic models, predicting fault-block geometries, footwall uplift and erosion, subsidence history and rift-related heat-flow history.
Model basin histories Make quantitative predictions about basin development, either for isolated rift events or for multiple rift events separated by periods of thermal subsidence. Complete structural and stratigraphic models are produced.
Understanding fault-block structure Detailed models of fault-block structure are produced which can be matched against seismic observations.
Uplift, erosion and burial
Predict fault-related footwall uplift within and adjacent to the basin, identifying sediment source areas and providing estimates of erosion and sediment supply. Model subsequent burial histories through the post-rift interval, including the effects on stratigraphy of compaction and loading.
Magnitude of stretching and thermal consequences
Calculate structurally-constrained estimates of beta-(stretching)-factor and the associated heat-flow anomaly through time. These results can be carried forward as input to further thermal modelling of the basin (HEAT).
Integrate with gravity data
Forward modelling the gravity field allows calibration against measured data and assessment of the contributions from the various separate lithosphere components.
Isostatically-balanced cross-sections can help to validate and QC seismic interpretation, by highlighting structural features that are admissible and also those that aren't. Stretch models also help you to understand the geodynamic processes which have impacted the development of your basin, thus reducing exploration uncertainty.