Dr. Kyle Straub, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Tulane University, recently co-lead a three day course on the geomorphology and stratigraphy of continental margins for Repsol Inc., Spain's lagest oil company.
Kyle Straub with Repsol employees in Sediment Dynamics Lab, demonstrating sediment transport using the teaching flume.
The three day course, taught with David Pyles from the Colorado School of Mines, utilized a range of activities to help Repsol employees visualize how oil and gas reservoirs are constructed in continental margin environments. The course mixed classical lectures with field and laboratory activities.
The short course began on the 24th of August 2011 in Houston, TX. On the first day Drs. Straub and Pyles gave lectures on the geomorphology and stratigraphy of river deltas, in addition to lectures on the Mississippi Delta and Experimental stratigraphy. On the second day of the course, the students and instructors woke up early to fly to New Orleans.
After landing in New Orleans, they transferred to a helicopter for a 4 hour flight, following the Mississippi River to its distal end at Southwest Pass. From there they flew to the Atchafalaya and Wax Lake Deltas. During the helicopter ride Dr. Straub lectured on the geomorphology of the system they were flying over, focusing on how to relate the current geomorphology to the stratigraphy of deltas.
Repsol employees prepare to fly over Mississippi River and Atchafalaya deltas.
On the third day of the course, Respol employees took the street car in the morning from their hotel in the French Quarter to Tulane University and spent the remainder of the day in the Tulane's sediment dynamics laboratory. Over the course of the day they observed and interacted with a range of experiments. These included demonstrations on the fundamentals of sediment transport in our teaching flume, deltas responding to rising base level in our delta basin, ponding of turbidity currents in the teaching flume and interaction of turbidity currents with their overbank in our deep water basin.
Following their time at Tulane, the Repsol employees left for a 2 week field excursion with Dr. Pyles to look at outcrops of continental margin stratigraphy. The mix of lectures, field, and laboratory work gave Repsol employees a unique perspective on how the oil and gas reservoirs they are exploring for were created.
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