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Dr. John Suter
Variations on a Theme—Latitudinal Impacts on
Sequence Stratigraphy

11:30 AM Wednesday, February 8, 2017
at the Cascades
4511 Briarwood Road
Tyler, TX 75709

Cost: $20


John R. Suter, PhD. is a consulting geologist in Houston, Texas, with primary expertise in clastic facies and sequence stratigraphy.  He has over thirty years of domestic and international geoscience experience, having worked projects involving source, seal, and reservoir for conventional and un-conventional deposits at exploration, appraisal, development, and production scales on multiple continents.  Suter obtained bachelor's degrees in chemistry and geology, and a master's degree in geology from the University of Texas at Austin, followed by a Ph.D. in geology from Louisiana State University. He started his geological career as a marine geologist with the USGS, Louisiana Geological Survey, and Louisiana State University in the early 1980’s, working with high-resolution seismic and vibracore data. He mapped and developed sequence stratigraphic models for incised valleys, shelf-phase and shelf margin deltas, and shelf and shoreline deposits. During this time, he held leadership roles in international organizations devoted to Quaternary shoreline studies, including the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) and the International Geological Correlation Program (IGCP). Suter joined Exxon Production Research in 1988 and Conoco, Inc. in 1994, and became part of ConocoPhillips with their merger in 2002, until departing in 2015.  He spent much of his industry career in technology groups, doing research, technical service and training.  He also worked advisory and managerial roles in ConocoPhillips Oil Sands in Calgary, and as a Principal Geologist for Lower 48 New Ventures Exploration at ConocoPhillips in Houston.

Suter has published numerous papers, organized and convened multiple research conferences, and has taught a variety of short courses, field schools and core workshops for petroleum companies, scientific societies and universities.  John has received awards for papers, presentations, and posters from various professional societies, including AAPG, AASP, CSPG, GCAGS, SEG, and SEPM; most recently the 2012 CSPG Link Award for Outstanding Technical Presentation.  John is a member of AAPG, IAS, GSA and AGU, and is a Sustaining Member of SEPM.  He is a Texas Professional Geologist (#3915). He was an AAPG Distinguished Lecturer, served as SEPM Councillor for Research and chaired the AAPG Technical Advisory Committee.  He is currently the chairman of the AAPG Research Committee and is the President of the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM.


Variations on a Theme—Latitudinal Impacts on Sequence Stratigraphy
by JR Suter (Consulting Geologist) and CM Fraticelli (Noble Energy)


Sequence stratigraphy is a powerful tool for analyzing and interpreting the rock record. Decades of outcrop, subsurface, flume and modern analog studies have elucidated how significant surfaces form, and the genetic relationships of strata between them. The capacity of this tool to predict the nature of strata beyond the extent of available data is a key component of stratigraphic analysis, especially in frontier exploration.

For a variety of reasons, studies from which conventional sequence stratigraphy was developed are largely based on low to mid latitude examples, introducing both a bias and limitation to the methodology for high latitude systems. Many low-mid latitude sedimentary processes are either diminished or absent in high latitude settings; conversely, important processes that impact deposition at high latitudes are either diminished or non-existent at low latitudes. This variability will manifest as disparities in timing, lithology, stacking patterns, and prominence of significant surfaces when comparing high and low latitude basins.

In conventional sequence stratigraphy, the forcing factors of tectonics and climate are considered to be globally distributed and synchronous via their influence on eustasy. During glacio-eustatic periods, climatic changes drive accommodation loss via the creation of continental ice sheets and corresponding removal of water from the ocean basins. High latitude systems are adjacent to the primary source of change (ice sheets). Therefore, their response will reflect the primary control (ice sheet growth and decay) as well as the derivative controls: eustasy, glacial-isostasy and hydro isostasy. Low latitude systems, being further from the ice sheets, respond dominantly to the derivative control, eustasy. Mid-latitude systems may appear to be more akin to high or low latitude systems dependent on their paleogeographic location.

Application of conventional seismic/sequence stratigraphy in high latitude icehouse systems requires understanding the variance that proximity to ice sheets imparts on the rock record. Changes in timing, forcing, and magnitude of accommodation differ, and resultant systems tract characteristics will not suitably correlate with an age equivalent low latitude system. Exploration in high latitude settings also requires the understanding that the early TST, rather than the LST, contains most of the conventional reservoir targets.

Earlier Event: January 26
Later Event: February 11
CCGS Rio Granda Delta Field Trip