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Regional Geophysical Study of the Athabasca Region, Northeastern Alberta: Implications for Geothermal Development Open Access


Other title
Integrated interpretation
Seismic reflection
Athabasca region
Geophysical study
Northeastern Alberta
Grosmont Formation
intrusiv dyke
Taltson magmatic zone
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Poureslami Ardakani, Elahe
Supervisor and department
Schmitt, Douglas R. (Department of Physics)
Examining committee member and department
Chacko, Tom (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Louie, John (Geological Sciences and Engineering)
Sacchi, Mauricio (Department of Physics)
Gu, Yu J. (Department of Physics)
Department of Physics
Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The Athabasca region located in Northeast Alberta, Canada, hosts many ongoing projects of bitumen extraction from Cretaceous oil sand and Devonian carbonate reservoirs. Despite the importance of the Athabasca region as one of the largest bitumen reserves in the world, the geology and geophysics of the area remains to a large degree poorly understood. In addition, the exploitation and production of these bitumen resources is environmentally and economically expensive and challenging. The main objective of this study is to reduce the knowledge gap of the sedimentary basin and crystalline basement by assembling multidisciplinary geophysical data to assist in investigation of the area, and provide solution for the environmental impact caused by bitumen production by assessing the potential of geothermal energy within the sedimentary formations. Interpretation of the integrated seismic-well data allows for a detailed mapping of the Grosmont topographic variations related to karst-driven erosion and some key structural maps above and below the SubMannville Unconformity. Below this unconformity, we demonstrate via 3D stratigraphy and property modeling, that wide distribution of heat values is available within five Paleozoic aquifers of Keg River, Waterways, Cooking Lake, Leduc, and Grosmont. These low enthalpy geothermal reservoirs could reduce the environmental impact of oil sand production if heat-pump technologies are used. A study of magnetic lineaments in the sedimentary basin reveals the existence of a dyke swarm referred to as the Buffalo Creek dyke field. These dykes may be related to the Farallon plate subduction under the west coast of the North American Plate. Furthermore, the tectonic boundary of Taltson Magmatic Zone and Buffalo Head Terrane is located using the Euler deconvolution of the aeromagnetic data.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication
Ardakani, E. P., D. R. Schmitt, and T. D. Bown, 2014, Detailed topography of the Devonian Grosmont Formation surface from legacy high resolution seismic profiles, Northeast Alberta: Geophysics, 79, B135-B149, doi: 10.1190/geo2013-0268.1.Ardakani, E. P., D. R. Schmitt, 2016, Geothermal energy potential of sedimentary formations in the Athabasca region, Northeast Alberta, Canada: Interpretation, 4, SR19-SR33, doi: 10.1190/INT-2016-0031.1.

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