EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

From 3D digital outcrops to fluid flow reservoir simulations in a deltaic system: An integrated approach

Perrine Mas1, Raphaël Bourillot2, Benjamin Brigaud1, Rémy Deschamps3, and Bertrand Saint-Bezar1
Perrine Mas et al.
  • 1GEOPS, Université Paris-Saclay, Orsay, France (,,
  • 2EPOC, University of Bordeaux-Bordeaux INP, Pessac, France (
  • 3IFP Energies Nouvelles, IFP Energies Nouvelles, Rueil-Malmaison, France (

The construction and interpretation of digital outcrop models (DOM) from outcropping reservoir analogues enable to capture and characterize reservoir heterogeneities (in terms of facies, diagenesis, and petrophysical properties) from centimeter to kilometer scales, thus allowing to improve upscaling approaches in 3D reservoir modeling. Digital outcrop models offer a reliable tridimensional representation of sedimentary heterogeneities, which can strongly impact fluid flow and therefore geothermal reservoir exploitation.


The Roda Sandstones (Lower Eocene) are considered as a world-class outcropping example for deltaic sedimentary systems outcropping in the Graus-Tremp Basin (South Pyrenean Basin). Thanks to the quality of its outcrops and to the drilling of 50 to 80-meter-long cores in their vicinity, the Roda Sandstones are commonly used for educational and research purposes (Crumeyrolle et al., 1992; Martinius, 2012).


Over the past 15 years, a few digital outcrop models have been published from the Roda Sandstones (Enge et al., 2007; Leren et al., 2010). These models were only constructed at a small scale (decimeter to hectometer) and did not allow to capture the large-scale architecture of the Roda fluvio-deltaic system. In this study, we built a complete photogrammetric model of one of the prograding sand wedges of the Roda Sandstones (also called Y body) from more than 11000 photos acquired by drone. The model is accurately georeferenced thanks to a dGPS campaign carried out simultaneously with the drone acquisitions. This outcrop model covers a total area of about 4km², and the pixel resolution ranges between 3 mm and 3 cm.


A significant amount of quantitative and qualitative information could be extracted from this digital outcrop model, that helps at constraining the reservoir model. Its interpretation in a software dedicated to the geological interpretation of DOMs enabled to take measurements (e.g., dips, distances, etc.), to identify and to trace the main stratigraphic surfaces, locate the field observations and samples, allowing to precisely assess the architecture and the facies distribution of the Y sandbody.


The results show a multiphase sandbody, made up of different prograding lobes, with variable progradation directions and a diversity of sedimentary structures formed by the competition between fluvial and tidal currents, contributing to the complexity of the sedimentary system. Paleocurrent directions, sediment thicknesses, numerical outcrops painted in facies, digitized sedimentological sections, and boreholes interpreted in facies were used as input data to build a static facies model. The geological static model was then filled with porosity and permeability properties and used as a base for fluid flow simulations in order to assess the impact of sedimentary heterogeneities in deltaic reservoirs for geothermal exploitation purposes.

How to cite: Mas, P., Bourillot, R., Brigaud, B., Deschamps, R., and Saint-Bezar, B.: From 3D digital outcrops to fluid flow reservoir simulations in a deltaic system: An integrated approach, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-565,, 2023.