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Gulf of Mexico Virtual Outcrops Project (2020- )

Concept & Rationale

  • Create a series of virtual outcrop models for classic outcrops of the Circum-GoM region, using UAV/drone imagery integrated with satellite imagery and other geospatial data (surficial geologic maps, x-sections, etc.).

  • Based on the abovementioned virtual outcrop models, create a set of “Virtual Geological Field Excursions” using Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality technology.

  • Outcrops provide critical data for understanding geologic features in the scale range gap between seismic reflection profiles and wells.  Features observable in outcrops are generally 1) too small to be observed on seismic datasets and 2) too big to be observed on well datasets.

  • Recent, major advances in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV/drone) technology and digital imaging and have made quantitative analysis of outcrops much faster, efficient, and more comprehensive.

  • Business value of project:  at present, international oil companies focusing on Mexico E&P opportunities are generally unwilling to send their geoscientists into the field because of security concerns.  As such, virtual models for outcrops relevant to understanding the subsurface geology of key Mexican E&P areas could have substantial value to those companies.

Projects & Publications

Selected Publications

Rosenfeld, J. and J.F. Blickwede, 2005, Early Paleogene isolation of the Gulf of Mexico from the world’s oceans:  from hypothesis to theory (abstract):  Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies (GCAGS) Transactions, v. 55, p. 714-715


Johnson, E., M. Kacewicz, J.F. Blickwede, and H. Huston, 2005, An interpretation of the crustal framework and continent-oceanic boundary in the U.S. OCS of the Gulf of Mexico, based on gravity and refraction data analysis:  Gulf Coast Section-SEPM 25th Research Conference


Blickwede, J.F., et al., 2004, The Trident discovery: play-opener of the Perdido Foldbelt, deepwater northwestern Gulf of Mexico: GCAGS Transactions v. 54


Kacewicz, M., J.F. Blickwede, E.A. Johnson, and T.E. Smith, 2004, Preliminary 3D basin model of the US portion of the Perdido Foldbelt, deepwater northwestern Gulf of Mexico (abstract): AAPG International Conference, Cancun, Mexico


Bartolini, C, R.T. Buffler, and J.F. Blickwede (editors), 2003, The Circum-Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean: Plate Tectonics, Basin Formation and Hydrocarbon Habitats:  AAPG Memoir 79


Blickwede, J.F., 2001, The Nazas Formation of northern Mexico: a detailed look at the Pacific convergent margin forming the western rim of the Gulf of Mexico province: in C. Bartolini, R. Buffler, and A. Cantú-Chapa, eds., The Western Gulf of Mexico Basin:  Tectonics, Sedimentary Basins and Petroleum Provinces: AAPG Memoir 75, p. 317-342


Blickwede, J.F., 2001, Cuba: an overview of its geology, hydrocarbon systems, and petroleum industry:  Houston Geological Society Bulletin, v. 43, n. 9, p. 13-17


Blickwede, J.F., and Hernández-Pérez, G., 2000, Cuba deepwater exploration opportunities: Oil & Gas Journal v. 98.50, p. 42-48

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