On differential Glacial Isostatic Adjustment across the Grand Banks and the impact on hydrocarbon migration

Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA), also known as Postglacial Rebound, describes how the Earth responds to different loading/unloading processes, through deformation and vertical motion. One important loading/unloading process includes the Wisconsinan Glaciation Episode and the last glacial maximum, approximately 21ka BP. The unloading processes since led to vertical motion centered around James Bay/Hudson Bay, Canada, with uplift rates up to 12 mm per year. The spatial distribution of vertical motion differs which leads to differential vertical motion of the Earth surface. Together with the deglaciation cycles, this can lead to surface erosion, re-activation of faults, and tilting of geological units including oil and gas reservoirs. Oil traps potentially deform and release hydrocarbons out of the trap, making it challenging to find using conventional exploration tools. This project aims at identifying the potential of the GIA processes to tilt hydrocarbon reservoirs in the Grand Banks offshore Newfoundland.

Malcolm MacDougall
Faculty Supervisor: 
Alexander Braun
Partner University: