Description and Interpretation of Siliciclastic Well Core

Course Details

This course is conducted at the United States Geological Survey Core Research Center (USGS-CRC) in Lakewood, Colorado, USA – one of the largest laboratories in the world where core is collected and stored. Not only is there a large room where several hundred meters of core can be displayed at a time but there is also a classroom where lectures can be delivered. The course will run for 5-days and participants will get to log at least 300 meters of core on a cm-scale. We believe that one learns by doing and not watching and at the end of the course participants will be confident in their ability to describe and interpret siliciclastic core from common shallow and deep marine environments of deposition.

If your interest lies in a specific environment of deposition (for example deltas), please let us know in advance so we can arrange cores that would be relevant to your learning objectives.


• Geologists
• Geophysicists
• Petrophysicists
• Engineers

The course assumes no prior knowledge of sedimentology or sequence stratigraphy, which is why we strongly urge engineers to enroll.

Course Outline

Day 1

How to approach a core facility, equipment and instruments, photographing core, washing core, measuring grain-size and sorting and identification of lithology.

Lecture on sedimentary structures in fluvial and shallow marine siliciclastic successions


Core logging on cm-scale for grain-size, lithology, contacts, and sedimentary structures

Day 2

Lectures on ichnology, the ichnofacies concept and biogenically enhanced permeability


Logging bioturbation index and identification of top 10 most common marine trace fossils, interpretation of ichnofacies and stressed vs "normal" trace fossil suites, using trace fossils to interpret common paralic depositional environments

Day 3

Lecture on common river-wave and tide-influenced depositional environments in a shallow marine setting: Shorefaces, Deltas, Incised Valleys and Shelf-Sand Ridges


Core logging and interpretation of environments of deposition after completion of description.

Day 4

Lecture on process sedimentology of deepwater siliciclastics: fluid vs sediment gravity flows, turbidity currents, debris flows, flow transformation, hybrid beds, delta derived density flows.


Identification and description of sediment gravity flows in core

Lecture on deepwater channels and lobes

Interpretation of logged core

Day 5

Introduction to sequence stratigraphy of marginal marine siliciclastic depositional systems

Identification of key sequence stratigraphic surfaces such as the subaerial unconformity, maximum flooding surface, ravinement surfaces and flooding surfaces in core

Participants will then log a complete shoreface parasequence from the Western Interior Cretaceous Seaway


Lecture on borehole image logs and core to log calibration and the creation of electrofacies

Comparison of core with borehole image and gamma ray logs and correlation/mapping using electrofacies.

Core viewing at the USGS-CRC is in high-demand and to book the facility for five consecutive days is not easy and has to be done at least 5-6 months in advance. Therefore if you are interested in taking this course within the next 6 months, the booking has to be made as soon as possible to secure a spot.

A FOUR-DAY VERSION OF THIS COURSE IS BEING OFFERED DEC 10-13, 2018 @$2500/person (Discounts are available to unemployed professionals and students)

This cost includes equipment, course manuals, hand-outs, exercise materials and pick-and-drop from hotel to core research center and lunches.