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Joint inversion of long-offset and central-loop transient electromagnetic data: Application to a mud volcano exploration in Perekishkul, AzerbaijanNormal access

Authors: A. Haroon, J. Adrian, R. Bergers, M. Gurk, B. Tezkan, A.L. Mammadov and A.G. Novruzov
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 63, No 2, March 2015 pp. 478 - 494
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2478.12157
Organisations: Wiley
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.65Mb )

Mud volcanism is commonly observed in Azerbaijan and the surrounding South Caspian Basin. This natural phenomenon is very similar to magmatic volcanoes but differs in one considerable aspect: Magmatic volcanoes are generally the result of ascending molten rock within the Earth’s crust, whereas mud volcanoes are characterised by expelling mixtures of water, mud, and gas. The majority of mud volcanoes have been observed on ocean floors or in deep sedimentary basins, such as those found in Azerbaijan. Furthermore, their occurrences in Azerbaijan are generally closely associated with hydrocarbon reservoirs and are therefore of immense economic and geological interest. The broadside long-offset transient electromagnetic method and the central-loop transient electromagnetic method were applied to study the inner structure of such mud volcanoes and to determine the depth of a resistive geological formation that is predicted to contain the majority of the hydrocarbon reservoirs in the survey area. One-dimensional joint inversion of central-loop and long-offset transient electromagnetic data was performed using the inversion schemes of Occam and Marquardt. By using the joint inversion models, a subsurface resistivity structure ranging from the surface to a depth of approximately 7 km was determined. Along a profile running perpendicular to the assumed strike direction, lateral resistivity variations could only be determined in the shallow depth range using the transient electromagnetic data. An attempt to resolve further two-dimensional/threedimensional resistivity structures, representing possible mud migration paths at large depths using the long-offset transient electromagnetic data, failed. Moreover, the joint inversion models led to ambiguous results regarding the depth and resistivity of the hydrocarbon target formation due to poor resolution at great depths (>5 km). Thus, 1D/2D modelling studies were subsequently performed to investigate the influence of the resistive terminating half-space on the measured long-offset transient electromagnetic data. The 1D joint inversion models were utilised as starting models for both the 1D and 2D modelling studies. The results tend to show that a resistive terminating half-space, implying the presence of the target formation, is the favourable geological setting. Furthermore, the 2D modelling study aimed to fit all measured long-offset transientelectromagnetic Ex transients along the profile simultaneously. Consequently, 3125 2D forward calculations were necessary to determine the best-fit resistivity model. The results are consistent with the 1D inversion, indicating that the data are best described by a resistive terminating half-space, although the resistivity and depth cannot be determined clearly.

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