Paleokarst features in the Aptian carbonates of the Barra Velha Formation, Santos Basin, Brazil

by David Chibuzor Nworie, Guilherme Furlan Chinelatto, Alexandre Campane Vidal, published at Brazilian Journal of Geology, March 2023.


Seismic data, borehole image logs, and conventional well logs were used to investigate the distribution and characteristics of paleokarst features in the Aptian carbonates of the Barra Velha Formation in a pilot area of the Santos Basin, Brazil. Multiple seismic attributes were used to enhance details on the seismic data and highlight key seismic parameters including strata deformation and geometry, continuity of seismic events, and fault patterns. The study found that karst structures are controlled by faults and fractures along structural highs, which served as a conduit for the flow of dynamic fluids that dissolved the carbonate materials. Several closed, circular depressions and bright spots identified in the northeastern portion of the study area represent possible sinkhole structures. Epigenic and hypogenic processes due to the action of meteoric water, hydrothermal activity, and intra-formation acidity along regional unconformities in the Barremian-Aptian may have been responsible for the dissolution. Limitations of this study are related to the dificulty of integrating multiple datasets with various scales. However, the higher confidence for the occurrence of the karst features is provided by borehole images at the sub-seismic scale. The findings of this study hold significant relevance for the strategic planning of energy development and carbon sequestration initiatives in the Brazilian continental margins, thereby aiding in informed decision-making.

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