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Department of Earth Sciences

Dedicated to Preparing Geoscience Professionals for the 21st Century

IAGA Global Paleomagnetic Database


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The RMML at KFUPM is well-positioned to offer external clients use of the laboratory facilities and a broad range of rock-magnetic and applied paleomagnetic measurement and interpretation services. The services have wide applications throughout the exploration industry, mapping and environmental agencies and research & development entities:  

Magnetic remanence and susceptibility (bulk, anisotropy) determination and logging

Analysis of magnetic mineral content

Directions of remanence for magnetic modeling using the pole path

Dating and correlation of rock units using the pole path and magnetic polarity zonation

Determination of source rocks paleolatitude evolution

Dating of fluid movement and magnetic phases during mineralization using magnetic overprints

Sediment source tracing/catchment studies using magnetic mineral content

Reviews and analyses of continental reconstruction models and pole paths

Training Courses in paleomagnetism, rock-magnetism and geomagnetism and Applications

Paleomagnetic Orientation of Cores

Accurately oriented cores can provide a crucial control on directional petrophysical data. Petrophysical data from accurately oriented cores are important in defining directional reservoir properties and in detailed modeling of reservoir anisotropies. Down-hole scribing is expensive, inaccurate, and prone to problems that degrade its reliability.

Using paleomagnetic techniques, we can orient your cores with respect to geographic coordinates and with accuracy better than 7o (compare with the intolerable error of 20o for the conventional methods). Our method requires a minimum number of core plugs, and uses post-drilling reference frame thus eliminating the need for expensive down-hole orientation and scribing. We use the same methods to orient fracture plane surfaces with respect to the geomagnetic field direction concurrent with deformation episodes

Magnetic Remanence and Q-Ratio Measurements

Bring your G&M models closer to reality by constraining them with the right parameters and prior information. We can provide you with these parameters from comprehensive paleomagnetic measurements of remanent magnetization, bulk susceptibility, and the Q-ratio of your well cores. Such measurements can also be a valuable addition to your geophysical database for source rock characterization, well-to-well correlation, and event dating.

Modeling for source geometry, depth-to-basement estimation and other quantitative interpretations of aeromagnetic maps can be misleading and invalid unless they are constrained by independent rock magnetic data.

The assumption that the anomalous field is due solely to induced magnetization rarely holds true; and it could be the poorest assumption in an otherwise costly and careful interpretation. An ever-increasing evidence form field and laboratory measurements indicates that many rocks of the earth's crust have remanent magnetization components an order of magnitude greater than the induced magnetization. Values of the Q-ratio for most rock types are rarely below one; they range between 2 to 10 for igneous rocks; and exceed 100 for some basaltic effusives.

Paleocurrent Analysis

The gravitational, magnetic, and hydrodynamic forces attending deposition influence the direction of natural remanent magnetization and of maximum susceptibility in many sedimentary rocks. Laboratory modelling and field studies have provided the basis for methods to determine paleofield direction from paleomagnetic data.

Reliable determination of paleocurrent direction is important for interpretation of sedimentary environment and inferring source area. Conventional methods of paleocurrent determination are slow, subjective, and limited to two dimensions. The paleomagnetic method, on the other hand, is quantitative, fast, and provides a complete 3-D picture of paleofield vector orientation.

Magnetic Characterization of Rocks

Mineral magnetic characterization of rock units consists of making exhaustive measurements of a large set of magnetic parameters that are diagnostic of all mineral constituents of the rock being studies and their bulk fabrics. The technique is literally equivalent to magnetic finger printing of the rock. It is sufficiently diagnostic that it is being used to identify types and sources of air pollution particulate.

Let us finger print you important horizons via measurements of their hysteresis parameters which include:

(i) hysteresis loops; (vi) coercivity of remanence,
(ii) saturation magnetization, (vii) effective grain size indices,
(iii) saturation remanence, (viii) Q-ratio,
(iv) reduced remanence, (x) anhysteretic susceptibility,
(v) bulk coercivity, (ix) S-Ratio,
(xi) low-temperature susceptibility, and much more!

Bulk Susceptibility Measurements and Logging

We will log your cores for any type of susceptibility you need: low and high-field, direct or anhysteretic. Physical characterization of rocks is the basis of reservoir characterization. The more petrophysical properties you know, the more guess work you leave out of your reservoir modeling, monitoring, and quality prediction efforts.

Bulk susceptibility is a fundamental magnetic property of rocks that must be part of your petrophysical database. It has varied uses in the magnetic analyses and characterization of rocks. It is frequently used as a surrogate measure of magnetite concentration, and is a sensitive indicator of magnetic effective grain size. It is also used as a reliable stratigraphic marker, and a lead parameter in sedimentary sourcing. Moreover, low-field susceptibility is a required input in modelling and inversion of magnetic and geoelectric sounding data.

The magnetic susceptibility (MS) of a volume of rock is a function of the amount of magnetic minerals, (mainly magnetite and pyrrhotite), contained within the rock. MS measurements can provide a rapid estimate of the ferromagnetism of the rock. These measurements can be interpreted to reflect lithological changes, degree of homogeneity and the presence of alteration zones in the rock mass. During the process of hydrothermal alteration, primary magnetic minerals (e.g. magnetite) may be altered (or oxidized) to weakly- or non-magnetic minerals (e.g. hematite). Anomalously low susceptibilities within an otherwise homogeneous high susceptibility (ferromagnetic) rock unit may be an indication of altered zones.

Basic flows and diabase dikes containing higher concentrations of magnetic minerals can be easily outlined with magnetic susceptibility measurements when they occur within a sedimentary sequence that normally contains little or no magnetic minerals

Anisotropy of Magnetic Susceptibility (AMS) Measurements

Measurement of the anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility is a rapid and non-destructive method for quantifying petrofabric. In sedimentary rocks, AMS is controlled by the processes of transport, deposition, and compaction, in volcanic rocks by the lava flow and in metamorphic rocks by ductile deformation. AMS techniques have become increasingly prevalent as effective tools for quantitative characterization of petrofabric and for structural analysis of almost all rock types. The techniques have proven to be fast, highly sensitive, and provide quantitative information on deformation intensity and symmetry. The output of AMS measurements is the ellipsoid of magnetic susceptibility which coincides with the kinematics of folds, faults, shear zones and other structural features.

Anisotropy of Magnetic Remanence (AMR) Measurements

Unlike AMS, which arises from all the mineral constituents of a rock, AMR is due primarily to the ferromagnetic mineral fraction that carries the remanent magnetization. Because, ferromagnetic minerals are more anisotropic than para- and diamagnetic minerals, AMR is more sensitive than AMS, and is immune to inverse anisotropy effects that characterize some non-ferromagnetic minerals. Hence, AMR may have distinct advantages over AMS for certain geological applications particularly in the study of weakly magnetic and/or weakly deformed rocks. AMR measurements may be based on isothermal remanence (AIR) and/or anhysteretic remanence (AAR).

Paleopole and Paleolatitude Determination

Leave the chores of laboratory measurements to us while you concentrate on your studies of paleogeography, tectonic reconstruction, and diagenetic analysis.

We can turn your core storage into a valuable data mine for your exploration and interpretation tasks. From cores and oriented rock samples we will provide you with paleolatitudes, virtual and Paleomagnetic pole positions, and pole paths.

Estimation of Permeability Anisotropy

We apply magnetic pore fabric analysis to estimate the average orientation and anisotropy of permeable pore spaces in sandstones and other porous rocks. The technique is based on rendering magnetic the pore spaces and the interconnecting pore throats, and then carrying out a combination of AMS and AMR analyses to calculate the ellipsoid of permeability anisotropy.

Magnetic pore fabric analysis is more efficient than the time-intensive conventional methods of measuring directional permeability. It provides an estimate of the average orientation and degree of permeability anisotropy. Pore shape anisotropy has direct influence on engineering properties of rocks such as hydraulic and electrical conductivities.

Rock Magnetic Interpretation of Aeromagnetic Surveys

Proper modelling and interpretation of aeromagnetic surveys can provide a powerful constraint on seismic modelling. The signal on aeromagnetic maps arises primarily from contrasts in the magnetic properties of different rocks, which in turn are a reflection of their characteristic magnetic mineral constituents. Hence, interpretation of magnetic anomaly maps must be constrained by measured rock magnetic parameters.

We can help you with your seismic modelling by providing a starting model based on cooperative inversion of your potential field data (gravity & magnetic) constrained by measured magnetic parameters. We can also interpret your potential field maps for depth-to-basement, lineament, and structural trends.

Magnetostratigraphy & Correlation of Cores

Geomagnetic field reversal sequences have become standard markers for correlation and dating of rock strata.  Detailed paleomagnetic study of drill cores allows determination of the characteristic pattern of reversals of rock sequence. Regional well-to-well correlation is accomplished by carefully matching the reversal pattern of cores from the different wells.

All this valuable information is on your core storage shelves in coded form. Let us decode it and bring it into your database.

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