Outcrop analogs for fluvial geomodeling applications

Course Details

There is ever increasing need for better geomodels. Fluvial reservoirs post several challenges due to the inherent heterogeneity. Some heterogeneities such as orientation of channels may be an insignificant uncertainty in most cases, whereas others such as aspect (Width/Thickness) ratios do matter. So how does one decide what uncertainties need to be included and which can be left out? how does one derive input parameters such as channel width, channel belt width? and sinuosity?
This course is designed for development geologists, geomodelers and engineers who have the tough task of managing fluvial reservoirs.
Colorado and Utah offer fantastic opportunities where different fluvial reservoir types (low-sinuosity braided, low N:G meandering, and high N:G meandering) can be studied in spectacular outcrops. Our field-trip not only has several classroom-based lectures and workshops that will get you up-to-speed on fluvial sedimentology and stratigraphy, but has several field-based exercises that will leave a lasting impression of large-scale alluvial architecture.

In 2019 we have added outcrops of the Cretaceous Cedar Mountain formation to this field trip. These are the world’s best preserved fully exhumed fluvial channels. We will not only measure cross-sets and use equations to calculate geomodel input parameters and compare these with Google Earth images of these spectacular exposures.

If you would prefer a classroom version of this course, please click here.


The course is designed for geoscientists and reservoir engineers who primarily focus on fluvial successions, especially those involved in building or updating geomodels.

Course Outline

Day 1

Arrival at Grand Junction Regional Airport

We will take you to your hotel where you can rest and recuperate

Day 2

Morning Lecture: Orientation, safety briefing, and fluvial sedimentology and fluvial classification.

We will be headed very close to the Utah border and spend the day describing and interpreting fluvial lithofacies in the Jurassic Morrison Formation.

In the afternoon we will head to Colorado National Monument for a geology overview and have dinner in Grand Junction.

Day 3

We will be meeting at 9:00 am for lectures on static connectivity of fluvial sand-bodies

In the field we will be looking at seismic-scale alluvial architecture in the Eocene Wasatch Formation and compare it with the Cretaceous Williams Fork Formation.

Day 4

At 9:00 am we will gather in the hotel meeting room for lectures on the dimensions of fluvial sand-bodies and tools for calculating these.

In the field we will compare and contrast single, multi-storey, and multilateral channels in the Williams Fork Formation

Day 5

Morning lectures will focus on gathering input parameters for fluvial geomodels

In the field we will be visiting the Upper Williams Fork to look at amalgamated channel complexes, and mud-filled channels (mud-plugs). If you work on the Alberta Oil Sands we will also focus on fracture sets developed along the margins of mud-filled channels.

Day 6

In the morning we will have lectures on the overbank ("flood basin") environment, levees and crevasse splays.

We will head to the Wasatch to look at avulsion deposits, crevasse splays and on the way back to the hotel we will visit a very well-exposed fluvial point-bar where we will discuss increase oil recovery in fluvial reservoirs.

In the afternoon we will have a workshop on participant data - we want to ensure that you can relate everything you saw in the field with your daily tasks at the office

Day 7

Check-out from your hotel

Drop-off at Grand Junction Regional Airport

This field trip will be offered between October 18-22, 2021.

The field trip is $4000/person and this cost includes pick and drop from airport, all meals, ground transportation, permits, fuel, tuition, course manual, and exercise materials. The cost does not include airfare, alcoholic beverages and appetizers, medical expenses, hotel minibar, laundry, international dialing charges, or souvenirs.

This field trip begins and ends in Grand Junction, Colorado, USA. Contact us today about discounts if you are interested in this field trip.