28 Sep 2023
 | 28 Sep 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Application of the creeping flow restoration method to an analogue model

Melchior Schuh-Senlis, Guillaume Caumon, and Paul Cupillard

Abstract. Structural restoration is commonly used to assess the deformation of geological structures and to reconstruct past basin geometries. For this, most methods use numerical simulations to compute the deformation of geological models from a chosen deformation mechanism for each geological layer, and conditions applied on the boundaries depending on geological knowledge. For example, geomechanical restoration classically uses elastic motion, considers faults as frictionless contact surfaces, and imposes boundary conditions such as interface flattening to estimate the paleo-deformation. To bring more physical behavior and better handle large deformations, we use a reverse time Stokes-based method with negative time step advection. In order to test the method on complex models including various rheology and faults, we apply it to an analogue experiment model. We first show that reasonable restored geometries can be obtained using classical kinematic boundary conditions. We then show that it is possible to relax the imposed kinematic conditions and replace them by more physical boundary conditions. These conditions, however, imply a larger impact of the material properties on the restoration results. Finally, we show that relaxing the boundary conditions and using the previous imposed conditions as choice criteria allows both the assessment of the value of the effective material properties, and the improvement of the restoration results.

Melchior Schuh-Senlis et al.

Status: open (until 29 Nov 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2039', Peter Lovely, 26 Oct 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2039', Anonymous Referee #2, 28 Nov 2023 reply

Melchior Schuh-Senlis et al.

Melchior Schuh-Senlis et al.


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Short summary
This paper presents the application of a numerical method for restoring models of the subsurface to a previous state in their deformation history, acting as a numerical time machine for geological structures. The method is applied to a model based on a laboratory experiment. The results show that using more natural conditions in the computation of the deformation allows us to assess the value of some previously unknown physical parameters of the different materials inside the model.