Stratigraphic Forward Modelling: the truth machine of geological processes


Every day geologists face the challenge to interpret what happened on the Earth’s surface and beneath, often with sparse evidence. The geological rock record is often incomplete, particularly in sedimentary basins. However, the development of numerical simulation of geological processes has empowered geologists to test their hypotheses from first principles, utilising detail in the ancient rock record.

One such type is Stratigraphic Forward Modelling (SFM) that provides the landscape and stratigraphic evolution of a sedimentary system at the basin or sub-basin scale, over geological time. Being completely process based, the SFM is not biased by any forced constraints and allows different scenarios to be tested. This is a big advantage for the geologist that wants to test hypothesis on depositional environment and occurrence of facies or grain-size distribution. The SFM challenges the geologist to understand the system in a complete way: from processes to controlling factors, such as climate, sediment supply or tectonics.

This talk illustrates the dynamic processes and input parameters required to execute a reliable SFM model and presents examples from projects conducted in Italy and Australia


Dr. Valeria Bianchi graduated from the University of Padua (Italy) and completed her Bsc in "Sedimentology of coastal environment in Siena Basin (Pliocene)". Valeria's Msc focussed on petroleum geology with thesis at ENI (internship) titled "Stratigraphy and sedimentology of ventian foredeep outcropping and buried (Late Oligocene-Miocene)".

Her PhD (University of Padua, Italy) was on fluvial response to tectonic control in upland incised valley system during Pleistocene in Northern Apennines. In particular she analysed the sedimentology and geomorphology of the area integrated with geophysics investigation (electrical tomography, passive seismic data and well cores). As a final step she verified and tested the conceptual model through a numerical reconstruction of the area with geomorphic and stratigraphic forward modelling (internship in CSIRO).

Dr Bianchi's current research focuses on outcrop analogue modelling and forward stratigraphic modelling. 


Room 309, Steele Building (#03)