Sequence Stratigraphy Field Trip

Course Details

This field course is designed for geoscientists and reservoir engineers. A lecture and field component introduces participants to some spectacular outcrops in Colorado and Wyoming. The primary objective is for participants to be able to identify key sequence stratigraphic surfaces in outcrop and tie these with observations in sub-surface data sets such as seismic and well logs. By the end of the course you should be able to create more realistic geological cross sections and have a greater degree of confidence when interpreting depositional environments in seismic data.

Most sequence stratigraphy trips are run in the Book Cliffs along the Colorado-Utah border, however our trip is run on outcrops that are well studied yet rarely frequented by others. The reason for choosing these is unlike the primarily horizontal strata of the Book Cliffs where one is almost always standing at the base of a cliff where all the key sequence stratigraphic surfaces are developed on top of the cliff, the outcrops in northern Colorado and Wyoming are tilted between 60-90 degrees. That allows participants to walk and intersect key surfaces and also walk along them laterally.

The Book Cliffs have no carbonates and our sequence stratigraphy trip covers both, which is why northern Colorado provides an excellent natural laboratory.

If your interest lies in the “standard Book Cliffs field trip” then please check out our offerings here.


• Geologists • Geophysicists • Petrophysicists • Engineers who wish to develop a better understanding of the factors that control distribution, reservoir connectivity and compartmentalization of a particular reservoir. The course assumes no prior knowledge of sequence stratigraphy, which is why we strongly urge engineers to enroll.

Course Outline

Day 0

Arrival at Denver International Airport, your hotel is located about 45 minutes from the airport. We will be picking you up and helping you check-in.

Check-in at hotel in Ft. Collins.

Day 1

Safety briefing, Orientation, Introduction to siliciclastic sequence stratigraphy: evolution of models from Exxon to Embry, cyclicity in the stratigraphic record, reservoir distribution during sea-level stands, parasequences and their stacking pattern.


Afternoon will be spent at the USGS in Lakewood looking at sequence stratigraphic surfaces and cycles in both conventional (siliciclastic example) and unconventional (carbonate example) resource play cores such as the Williams Fork and Bakken-Three Forks respectively.

Day 2

Key Sequence Stratigraphic surfaces and their identification in core and well logs: Sequence Boundaries, Maximum Flooding Surfaces, Maximum Regressive Surfaces, Wave and Tidal Ravinement Surfaces.

Afternoon excursion to look at sequence boundaries, ravinement surfaces and parasequences and their stacking in outcrops.

We will be using a "drowned delta" - a river dominated delta that was preserved during transgression, as an example. This is a fantastic outcrop to understand the link between deltas and incised valley systems.

Day 3

Carbonate sequence stratigraphy, controls on reservoir quality and distribution, influence on T-, M-, and C- carbonate factories.

Afternoon excursion to a mixed carbonate-siliciclastic succession. These outcrops are a text-book example of 'reciprocal sedimentation' - clastics are deposited during relative sea-level lowstands whereas carbonates are deposited during highstands.

Day 4

Advantages of chronocorrelating vs lithocorrelating well logs. Understanding this difference is key whether your daily tasks include well log correlation or if you are a geomodeler.

Afternoon excursion to look at Transgressive-Regressive Cycles in clastics. These outcrops are great if you want to typify the kind of changes associated with Transgressive vs Regressive cycles in shallow marine clastic systems.

Day 5

This is our "seismic stratigraphy" day with an emphasis on clinoforms. We will be showing you examples of clinoforms on seismic data from basins across the world. We will emphasize the changes in well-log signatures as one moves from a proximal to distal setting within each clinoform.

We will be headed north and crossing the border from Colorado into Wyoming to look at some of the best preserved clinoforms you will find anywhere.

Day 6

Check out from hotel in Fort Collins

Departure from Denver International Airport

We need at least 3 people to run this trip. This field trip is scheduled for October 12-16, 2020. The field trip is $5000/person and this cost includes all hotels, meals, transportation, permits, field guide, exercise materials and tuition. E-mail us if you're interested.

Visas for the US typically take 1-2 months to process therefore we recommend contacting us as soon as possible so we can send you a letter of invitation that you can take to your local US consulate.