Halokinesis and Sequence Stratigraphy of Salt Plays

Course Details

This field trip focuses on the precipitation and movement of salt and it’s influence on deposition of reservoir sands. It is no coincidence that the world’s largest oil and gas fields are associated with salt. During this field trip we will discuss why that is the case.

There are very few places where one can actually see not only the salt body itself but the deformation of strata around it. This includes the famed salt glaciers of Iran, La Popa Basin Mexico and the Paradox Basin in the US. As tricky as it is to get to the outcrops in Iran and because of the safety concerns surrounding La Popa Basin in Mexico, the Paradox Basin seems like a great place to visit.

Not only will participants get to hike into some of the most spectacular salt-related structures in Arches and Canyonlands National Park, the highlight of the trip is an hour-long flight in a chartered airplane that allows one to truly appreciate the scale and grandeur of salt tectonics.

Of all the field trips I lead this is one I am most passionate about because the sequence stratigraphy of mixed evaporite-carbonate-siliciclastic successions is my doctoral specialty and the field area is where I will lead you and the core we will look at were all part of my dissertation work.


• Geologists
• Geophysicists
• Petrophysicists
• Engineers

This course is meant for all who are working on substrate basin in an exploration or development capacity. This is especially relevant if you’re working license blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, Offshore Brazil and Angola.

Course Outline

Day 1

You will be arriving the day before the course starts at Grand Junction Regional Airport, Colorado, USA. The next morning we will begin with a safety briefing, orientation to the field area and an introduction to the deposition of giant saline bodies (salterns).

We will begin the field with a drive to look at salt cored anticlines, the relationship of strata and fracturing around a diapir, and a discussion in the field about the different phases of salt movement.


Salt-related faults, joints and relay ramps with a sunset hike to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Day 2

Lectures on halokinesis and it's relationship with sediment deposition

A close look at the relationship between cap rocks, deformation of surrounding strata and the formation of minibasins in the field


Chartered flight over salt-related structures

Day 3

Lecture on hydrocarbon associations with evaporites - comparing shallow-marine bedded evaporites with deepwater cummulates

A look at sabkha evaporites in the field


Investigating the oil associations with evaporites in the Paradox Basin

Day 4

Lectures will focus on the interaction of deepwater sands with mobile substrate basins (salt and shale) with examples from the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Brazil and Offshore Angola before we check-out of the hotel and head towards Colorado stopping at a series of outcrops where you will get to see large-scale folding associated with salt-movement


We will stop by a truly gigantic salt body and look at its internal deformation and evaporite textures before arriving at our hotel in Denver

Day 5

Lectures on the sequence stratigraphy of mixed evaporite-carbonate-siliciclastic successions

We will spend the day investigating 100s of feet of core where you will not only get to see shallow-marine evaporite textures but also deepwater cummulates and oil-stained reservoir sandstones

Your flight will be departing the evening of Day 5 from Denver International Airport

This field trip is scheduled for September 17-21 2018. The cost of the field trip is $4250 and this includes tuition, course manual and exercise materials, 5 nights hotel stay, breakfasts-lunches-dinners, snacks and drinks in the field, transportation, fuel, national park entrance fees, and an hour long flight in a chartered 9 seater airplane.

With the new administration our clients are finding it more and more difficult and time-consuming to acquire a US visa. if you intend on going on this trip we strong urge applying for a US visa with our letter of invitation no later than July 1st 2018.