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USGS Mendenhall Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program

17-27. Alaska North Slope Integration of Regional Sequence Stratigraphy and Seismic Amplitude Analysis to Support Assessment of Oil and Gas Resource

Alaska North Slope oil exploration has been rejuvenated since 2015 by the discovery of significant oil accumulations in shallow, stratigraphic traps in a giant mid-Cretaceous clinothem. USGS assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in similar traps ranging in age from Early Cretaceous through Miocene requires the refinement of sequence stratigraphic understanding integrated with extraction of 2D-3D seismic amplitude anomalies at the scale of a depositional sequence.

We seek a Mendenhall Fellow to use novel data and/or analytical techniques to refine the sequence stratigraphy of Cretaceous and Cenozoic strata and to develop forward looking models of potential oil and gas accumulations across a broad region of the Alaska North Slope and adjacent offshore. Proposals that integrate seismic reflection and other subsurface data, field work, and ancillary data are encouraged. Proposals should address the merit of integrating specific data types and observations to advance our understanding of depositional sequences and the predictability of reservoir-trap-seal combinations within a sequence stratigraphic framework.

A rich array of subsurface and surface data populated in a digital workstation environment and robust ancillary data sets exist. These include more than 500,000 line-km of 2D and thousands of square km of 3D seismic reflection data, approximately 1,000 wireline logs from exploration wells, additional pertinent data from hundreds of wells (cores, biostratigraphy, petrophysics, organic geochemistry, etc.), regional gravity and magnetic coverage, geologic maps and stratigraphic sections, and a robust literature documenting the regional stratigraphic and structural framework. Proprietary data pertaining to known oil and gas occurrences also are available. One to four weeks per year of helicopter-supported field work is likely, pending annual budgets. Collaboration is expected within a project team whose disciplines include sedimentology-stratigraphy, structural geology, geochronology, thermochronology, organic and inorganic geochemistry, petrophysics, and petroleum engineering. Potential for collaboration across the full breadth of USGS disciplines also is possible. The combination of turnkey data access and an active team of collaborators should be considered in proposal preparation within the two-year duration of the fellowship.

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the advisor below early in the application process to discuss project ideas.

Proposed Duty Station: Reston, VA

Areas of Ph.D.: Geology with a focus on basin analysis, sequence stratigraphy, and seismic interpretation or geophysics with a focus on seismic stratigraphy, amplitude analysis and extraction, and exploration applications (candidates holding a Ph.D. in other disciplines, but with extensive knowledge and skills relevant to the Research Opportunity may be considered).

Qualifications: Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications: Research Geologist, Research Geophysicist. (This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the occupations stated above. However, other titles may be applicable depending on the applicant's background, education, and research proposal. The final classification of the position will be made by the Human Resources specialist.)

Research Advisor(s): David Houseknecht, (703) 648-6466,

Human Resources Office Contact: Carrie Marez,, 303 236-9555

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
URL: Houseknecht.htm
Direct inquiries to Cara A. Campbell at
Maintained by: Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program Web Team
Last modified: 11:07:40 Fri 08 Feb 2019
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