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Abstract: The characterization and comprehension of buried reservoirs receive remarkable benefits from detailed studies of outcropping analogues which help to define the architecture of the buried sedimentary units and their petrophysical features. In particular, modern 3D techniques of geological data analysis can better constrain the geological mapping process and reveal the geometry of the sedimentary units with complex lateral and vertical relationships. By means of the 3D Move software, we define the sedimentological and stratigraphical relationships between lithostratigraphic units of the Bolognano Formation, outcropping in the northernmost sector of the Majella Mountain (Central Apennines, Italy). The study area belongs to the Apulian carbonate platform and the Majella Mountain represents the northward outcropping portion of its margin. The sedimentary succession of the Majella Mountain consists of Upper Jurassic to upper Miocene limestone and dolostone deposits. In the investigated area, outcropping deposits mainly belong to the Oligo–Miocene Bolognano Formation characterized by five lithofacies associations and representing a carbonate ramp developed in a warm subtropical depositional environment within the oligophotic to aphotic zone. The Bolognano Fm. represents, due to its specific hydraulic properties (e.g. porosity and permeability), an outcropping analogue of worldwide common reservoirs (i.e. porous calcarenite deposits of a carbonate ramp formed by benthic foraminifera such as lepidocyclinids, nummulitids, red algae, corals). In the study area, several geological units of the Bolognano Fm. are characterized by abundant hydrocarbon (bitumen) occurrences infilled within the high-porosity of the cross-bedded calcarenites ascribed to the Chattian and Burdigalian interval. The geological field mapping of the area and the visualization of the geological data in a 3D environment show that the unit formed by mid-ramp calcarenites (Lepidocyclina calcarenites 2 unit, Chattian–Burdigalian) increases in thickness towards the NE (basinward) direction as a consequence of sediment shedding from inner ramp. Our study illustrates how the geological mapping and the visualization and analysis of geological data in a 3D environment of the northernmost sector of the Majella Mountain confirms depositional models of the Bolognano Formation and represents a valid tool for the characterization of the lateral stratigraphic relationships within this formation, and hence of its potential hydrocarbon occurrences.
Keywords: Cenozoic, carbonate ramp, geological data managment, 3D environment, hydrocarbon reservoir analogue, MajellaDownload PDF document