1st School on Sandstone Diagenesis

Controls on Sandstone Diagenesis 27-29th August 2018


The Applied Sedimentology group at the GeoZentrum NordBayern (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg) in collaboration with Geocosm LLC., are happy to announce the 1st School on Diagenesis of Silicilastic Sediments. The school will be held at the Geozentrum NordBayern in Erlangen (Germany) from the 27th to the 29th of August 2018 and will be focused on both traditional and innovative concepts for enhanced understanding of controlling processes on sandstone diagenesis and their implications for data interpretation and modelling.

Please download our flyer from the link below. We would appreciate if you could also print it and advertise it in your University/Company and circulate it among people who may be interested in the course.



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Why Diagenesis?

While the definition of diagenesis—the transformation of unconsolidated sediment to rock—is easily understood, the factors that influence the nature and magnitude of this transformation are complex.  In this school we will review the state-of-the-art in our understanding of many of these factors in sandstones.  Such an understanding is an essential prerequisite for accurately predicting rock properties in the subsurface and has important societal applications in topics as diverse as aquifer depletion, wastewater disposal, contaminant transport, hydrothermal energy production, and hydrocarbon exploration and production.

Why a Holistic Approach?

Although diagenesis in a strict sense refers to biological, chemical, and physical processes that occur after deposition, the nature and magnitude of these processes is inextricably linked to the starting composition and texture of the sediment.  To date little has been done to bring together two critical aspects of sandstone reservoir quality prediction:  the controls on the depositional composition and texture and the post-depositional overprint of diagenesis.  An important and novel aspect of this course is to bring together experts in these two disciplines to provide course participants with a review of both parts of the reservoir quality prediction problem.

Processes That Control Depositional Composition and Texture

Depositional composition and texture constrain fundamental rock properties such as porosity and permeability and strongly affect the nature and magnitude of diagenesis from shallow to deep burial. The starting point in understanding and predicting sediment depositional characteristics is an analysis of the genetic origin of the sedimentary input.  The source-to-sink concept has been increasingly invoked in basin analysis and related geodynamic studies, as the variable input of sediments through time affects basin development, sediment accumulation and distribution, burial, subsidence, flexural rebound, isostasy, denudation and other geodynamic effects. A comprehensive understanding of sediment generation – in its broader sense – therefore represents the only possible way to achieve a solid prediction of sediment texture and composition, its distribution within the sub-set of facies of a certain sedimentary environment, identification of sediment-induced heterogeneities, and eventually the starting composition of deposited sediments (e.g. sand framework composition, clay abundancy etc.) and how this would affect early diagenesis. The ultimate composition and texture of sediments, however, depends not only on provenance and final depositional environment but also on factors such as tectonic setting, climate, and transport history.  Important changes in depositional composition and texture through time and space may take place even within the same depositional facies in response to variations in such factors.  In the course we will review these controlling processes as well as discuss important advances in analytical techniques that provide a fast, inexpensive means for characterizing depositional compositional and textural variability through time and space.

Post-Depositional Processes

As sediments are buried they deform and alter in response to the evolving stresses, temperatures, and fluid chemistries that they experience through geologic time.  The impact of these processes on rock properties can be immense.  For instance, permeability in sandstones may drop by over six orders of magnitude from the time of deposition to the present-day.

The initial composition and texture influence the mechanical and chemical properties of the sediment, which in turn may lead to substantial differences in the nature and magnitude of diagenetic change through time.  For instance, grain shapes, size distributions, and material properties influence the depositional packing state as well as the magnitude of compaction that occurs in response to stress and the geochemical reactions that take place as a function of time and temperature.  In the course we will review controls on depositional packing state, compaction, and reactions involving carbonates, clay minerals, and quartz overgrowths, among other diagenetic processes.


Models serve as a means to encode and test our understanding of nature and have the potential to serve as an accurate basis for prediction.  In the course we will consider two broad groups of models associated with sandstone reservoir quality prediction.  These first of these has to do with predicting the spatial distribution of compositional and textural characteristics of sands.  This model group considers factors associated with provenance, tectonic setting, transport history, and the depositional system.  The second group of models encompasses the post-burial lithification of sandstones in light of the depositional composition and texture and in response to the cumulative effects of stresses, temperatures, and fluid compositions through geologic time.  Models that link the predicted composition and texture of diagenetically altered sandstones to properties of interest in fluid transport, geomechanics, petrophysics, and geophysics also are an important component of this group.  In the course we will review some of the leading approaches that have been developed for both groups of models.

List of topics

The final programme will be available from the 1st of May


Sediment factory, dispersal and deposition

  • Allogenic controls on sediment properties (L. Caracciolo – FAU)
  • Modelling of controlling factors for property prediction (G.J. Weltje – KU Leuven)
  • Depositional facies controls on early diagenesis: texture and composition (S. Henares – KU Leuven)
  • The Effects of Volcanism and related Chlorite Authigenesis on the Reservoir Quality (C. Cubitt – HOT Engineering)
  • Seismic Attributes, Drill Cuttings Analysis and GDE Mapping, Enabling Reservoir Quality Prediction (C. Cubitt – HOT Engineering)
  • Estimating permeability from drill cuttings (S. Tiainen – HOT Engineering)

Compositional modelling

  • Controlling factors on sediment generation and models for reservoir and seal presence (W.A. Heins – ExxonMobil)
  • Sediment compositional modelling as a key to identifying controlling factors (L. Caracciolo – FAU)
  • Disentangling diagenesis from provenance (P. Vermeesch – UCL London)
  • Compositional modelling of geochemical data and application to diagenesis (L. Caracciolo – FAU)
  • Integrated core analysis for reservoir quality prediction (G.J. Weltje – KU Leuven)

Following the diagentic pathway from sediment to rock
L. M. Bonnell, R. H. Lander, & T. R. Taylor

  • Sandstone diagenesis and reservoir quality: an overview
  • Petrography, petrology, and petrophysics
  • Compaction: mechanisms of bulk volume loss
  • Non-quartz cements and secondary porosity
  • Clay minerals: friend or foe?
  • Quartz cementation: controls and predictability
  • Reservoir quality prediction: approaches and examples

Microscope workshops
T. R. Taylor, R. H. Lander, L. M. Bonnell

  • Measuring porosity: dealing with the third dimension
  • Common cement types
  • Tips for differentiating replacement from cement
  • Grain size and sorting
  • Measuring grain coat coverage

Course Leaders

Dr. Luca Caracciolo (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg)

His research focuses on the application of a wide spectrum of Provenance analysis techniques applied to basin analysis, particularly on the relationships between tectonics and sedimentation. Most relevant analytical approaches and research interests are Quantitative sedimentary provenance analysis; Sedimentary petrology and heavy minerals, detrital geochemistry, sedimentary processes (weathering/recycling, sorting and volcaniclastic sedimentation) diagenesis (cementation chronology, pore-water interaction, thermal history), Low-temperature thermochronology (Fission tracks and U-Th/He dating). He’s keen on using and integrating state of the art techniques – e.g. Raman and QemScan – and model compositional data to link sediment mineralogy to pre- and post-depositional sedimentary processes.

The most exciting and challenging aspect of his research is to use provenance and sediment composition in different fields, especially those related to the O&G and geothermal industry for enhanced interpretation of facies heterogeneity, reservoir connectivity, diagenetic environments and their influence on fluid migration. Combining both academic and industry experience, he had the chance to work and publish in areas dislocated in all continents including Europe, North and South America, Africa, SE Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He’s actively involved in industry projects and training of professionals from the O&G industry. Besides numerous publications, he has also been Chief Editor for the special volume of Sedimentary Geology „Sediment generation and provenance: process and pathways

Dr. Linda M. Bonnell (Geocosm LCC)
Partner / Scientific Advisor

Linda Bonnell is deeply involved in Geocosm’s geoscience research efforts and leads many of the company’s reservoirs of quality prediction and risk assessment studies. She has been instrumental in the development of Geocosm’s Touchstone and Cyberstone systems for reservoir quality assessment.

Linda was awarded the AAPG Distinguished Lecturer’s AAPG Bulletin in 2010 in a review of peer reviewed journals, including one the Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award ,

Linda earned her Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Illinois in 1990 where she worked with Tom Anderson and subsequently held Research Associate positions at Washington University and Rice University where she worked with Lynn Walter and Rob Dunbar, respectively. She was a Senior Research Scientist with Rogaland Research in Stavanger, Norway from 1993 until 1997 when she joined Geologica AS, a spin off company. Linda co-founded Geocosm LLC in 2000 and holds the positions of Scientific Advisor and Partner. She also has an appointment as a Research Fellow at the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin.


Dr. Robert H. Lander (Geocosm LCC) 

Partner/Scientific Advisor

Rob Lander works with diagenesis and petrophysical models for Geocosm. He co-invented Geocosm’s Prism2D, Touchstone, and Cyberstone models and Geologica’s Exemplar® model.  Rob has published more than a dozen scientific papers in peer reviewed journals in the past 10 years and is the author of four “notable papers” in the AAPG Bulletin, including one that received the Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award for best paper.  He was an AAPG Distinguished Lecturer in 2015, co-edited a special issue of the AAPG Bulletin on sandstone reservoir quality prediction in 2010, and co-convened a Hedberg Conference and a meeting hosted by the Geological Society of London.

Rob obtained a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Illinois in 1991 under the supervision of Dick Hay and was a Senior Research Geologist at Exxon Production Research from 1991 to 1993. He then joined Rogaland Research in Stavanger, Norway and was one of the founding staff members of a spin-off company (Geologica AS) in 1996 where he held the position of Scientific Advisor and later as Technical Director. Rob co-founded Geocosm LLC in 2000 where he is a Scientific Advisor and Partner. He also has an appointment as a Research Fellow at the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin.


Dr. Thomas R. Taylor
Consultant – Sedimentary Petrology

Tom Taylor is owner and chief geologist for SedPetrology LLC. He has collaborated closely with Geocosm on reservoir quality and research projects over the past six years. Tom has developed a comprehensive technical training course titled “Quantitative Petrographic Analysis of Sandstones”, for geologists seeking to acquire petrographic skills and knowledge. The course has been attended by geologists from Shell, Total, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Repsol, and other companies. An SEPM Special Publication based on the course is in preparation. Tom has published a number of papers in peer reviewed journals during his career and continues to be involved in the field of sandstone diagenesis. Tom earned an M.S. degree in igneous petrology in 1979 and a Ph.D. in sedimentary petrology in 1982 from Michigan State University. He joined Shell International Research & Technology at their Bellaire Technology Center in Houston where he worked for 29 years on projects involving clastic diagenesis, reservoir quality prediction and assessment, and rock properties. Tom retired from Shell in 2012 as a Principal Research Geologist.


Invited Speakers

Prof. Gert Jan Weltje (KU Lueven)

Gert Jan Weltje studied Earth Sciences at Utrecht University (NL), where he obtained his PhD in 1994, on inverse (numerical-statistical) modelling of sediment composition for provenance analysis. After this, he worked for several years as a post-doc in sedimentary geology (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NL), applied nuclear physics (Groningen University, NL), and as independent sedimentological-statistical consultant for various E&P companies and the Dutch Ministry of Transport and Water Management. In 1997, he received the biennial Vistelius Research Award of the International Association for Mathematical Geosciences for outstanding contributions to the application of mathematics in the Earth Sciences. Between 1997 and 2002 he was employed as senior researcher in reservoir geology at TNO (Geological Survey of the Netherlands) and as assistant professor of mathematical geology and clastic sedimentology at Delft University of Technology (NL) where he became full-time associate professor in 2002. Between 2006 and 2013, he was editor-in-chief of the journal Sedimentary Geology and scientific advisor of the marine geoscience research conglomerate MARUM in Bremen (GE). He has been a research fellow in ocean and climate science at the Hanse Institute of Advanced Science (GE) since 2007, and guest professor of reservoir geology at the Politecnico di Torino (IT) since 2013. In 2014 he was appointed full professor of Sedimentary Systems at KU Leuven (BE), where he has been director of the educational programme in geology since 2017. Over the past 10 years, he has given 25 keynotes and invited lectures targeting both academic and industry audiences. He co-founded the Working Group on Sediment Generation (WGSG), chaired two conferences (ICFS 2005 and WGSG 2016), and acted as guest editor of five special issues of the journal Sedimentary Geology. His research interests centre on numerical modelling of siliciclastic basin fills and (geo)statistical analysis of their properties for the purpose of provenance analysis, palaeo-environmental reconstruction, mass-balancing studies, and reservoir-quality prediction.


Dr. William A. Heins (ExxonMobil)

Bill Heins is a Senior Geoscience advisor at ExxonMobil, where he applies source-to-sink genetic analysis of sedimentary systems to exploration questions in frontier basins and for unconventional resources. Previously Bill was an academic researcher at Lewis-Clark State College and Vassar College in the United States, and Eötvös Loránd Technical University in Hungary. He received a PhD in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and bachelors’ degrees in geology and economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Pieter Vermeesch (UCL London)

Pieter Vermeesch is a Reader in Geochronology at University College London (UCL) and co-director of the London Geochronology Centre (LGC). His research interests include geochronology, thermochronometry, (geo)statistics and aeolian geomorphology using the U-Pb, Ar-Ar, fission track and U-Th-He methods. Dr. Vermeesch develops novel ways to generate and interpret ‘Big Data’ for sedimentary provenance analysis, by combining detrital geochronology with mineralogical and chemical provenance tracers. He has developed a suite of free and user-friendly software to make these tools available to the Geosciences community.

Dr. Saturnina Henares (KU Leuven)

Saturnina Henares obtained her PhD in 2016 from the University of Granada, Spain, with a thesis on depositional controls of diagenetically-induced heterogeneity in red-bed sandstones. She played a pivotal role in developing the field of sedimentary petrology at her home university. During her PhD, she participated in several funded research projects and was co-leader of a field course for an oil company (CEPSA E.P.), for which she worked as external consultant. Nowadays, she is employed as post-doctoral researcher and principal investigator of the DiAMICT research project (Diagenetic Analysis and Modelling using Integrated Core-scanning Technology) at KU Leuven (BE), which is sponsored by several oil companies (Wintershall Noordzee, Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij, Shell, and Energie Beheer Nederland), and carried out in collaboration with Delft University of Technology (NL) and Geo-Forschungs Zentrum Potsdam (GE). She is also an instructor of the MSc course “Diagenesis” at KU Leuven, taught together with Prof. R. Swennen. Her current research focuses on quantitative petrological analysis (i.e. provenance and diagenesis) and well-log/core characterization of clastic reservoirs for integrated reservoir-quality and property prediction. She is highly familiar with state-of-the-art workflows and techniques in 3-D facies modelling (e.g. outcrop/behind outcrop characterization) and quantitative diagenetic analysis (e.g. QemScan, ICP-OES, EPMA, μ-CT, high-resolution core scanning).

Dr. Chris Cubitt (HOT Engineering)

Chris Cubitt holds an honours degree in Petroleum Geology and Geophysics and a PhD focused on reservoir characterisation and quality from the University of Adelaide, Australia. He is an exploration and reservoir geologist with more than 20 years’ experience having worked in exploration, appraisal and development roles. Chris is currently the Principal Reservoir Geologist at HOT Engineering where for the last eight years he has been the lead in numerous exploration and development projects. Prior to HOT Chris worked with PERM Consulting (Director and Geologist) and AuDAX Resources Ltd as the Principal Geologist. Preceding AuDAX Chris worked at Woodside Energy as a specialist geo-consultant within the auspices of Woodside’s Technical Services team for 8 years as both a reservoir and regional geologist. Prior to Woodside he was employed as an asset based exploration geologist with Santos Ltd based in Adelaide, South Australia. Chris is an instructor for HOT’s public courses ‘Play Fairway Mapping and Exploration Strategy’ and ‘Rock Typing – Reservoir Characterisation and Quality from Drill Cuttings’. Chris is a member of EAGE, PESA, PESBG, SEPM and IAS as well as being an author and co-author of numerous publications.

Sharon Tiainen (HOT Engineering)

Sharon Tiainen is a graduate of the University of Adelaide and has an Honours degree in petroleum geology and geophysics. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the upstream oil and gas industry with a number of companies and has a broad experience base working in exploration, appraisal, development and production roles. Over these years she has performed tasks as diverse as core logging, drill cuttings description (MACC), geological model development, 2 and 3D seismic interpretation, prospect generation, well operations duties, economic evaluations, accounts and cost and JV/asset management. Sharon established her own company in 2009 (PERM Consulting Pty Ltd) from which she is still actively consulting and most recently joined HOT Engineering Gmbh on a permanent part-time basis as a senior reservoir geologist in May 2013. She has worked acreage in Australia, Ecuador, Germany, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Romania, Tunisia, Turkey, the UAE and the United Kingdom. Sharon is an instructor for HOT’s public course ‘Rock Typing – Reservoir Characterisation and Quality from Drill Cuttings’ and is a member of EAGE, PESA and SPE and an author/co-author of several publications.


The school aims at offering both a high-quality training program and deep interaction between attendants and course leaders. Therefore, seats for the school are limited to 25.


The admission to the school is regulated through the selection of applications containing (1) a short CV and (2) a Cover Letter (Max. 500 words) including the main research aspects of the candidate along with a motivation for attending the school in view of project and/or career development.

Evaluation criteria are:

  • Quality of the application, including English (spoken and written).
  • Evaluation of the cover letter explaining how the school is relevant to project/career development;
  • Global representation

Costs and deadlines

The time window for submitting your application is from the 1st of March to the 15th of May. The school board will notify the acceptance to successful candidates by no later than the 1st of June. Participation fees will need to be transferred by no later than the 15th of June. In case of non-received payment, the school will contact those who have been unfortunately excluded according to the quality of the application.

Participation fees

Ph.D. students 350 €

Post-docs 500 €

Professionals from the industry 850 €

Please send your application to

Erlangen offers a wide range of accommodations, ranging from guesthouses to 4 stars hotels that can be easily reached from the main train station (Erlangen Hauptbahnof) and are within walking distance to the GeoZentrum.


Our recommendations are:

City Centre

AB Hotel

Hotel Boutique Villa Soy



Hotel Bayerischer Hof


Outside the city centre (easily reachable by bus)

Gästehaus Schmitt

Hotel B&B Erlangen

The GeoZentrum NordBayern is located in Schlossgarten 5, in the heart of Erlangen, a small but historical city located 20 minutes from Nuremberg.

Nuremberg airport is connected to all European capitals and to a large number of EU cities. Erlangen can be easily reached by bus (number 30 towards Erlangen Arcaden). The transfer takes approximately 35 minutes.  Alternative options are available via Nuremberg. The U2 metro line connects the airport to Nuremberg Central Station (Hauptbahnof) in less than 15 minutes. From there, the train to Erlangen will approximately be between 18 and 28 minutes depending on the train.

Erlangen is in between the two major airports in Germany, Frankfurt and Munich which are connected to Nuremberg/Erlangen with both airplane and trains.

Frankfurt airport has a train station served by high-speed long distance trains (ICE) covering the trip to Nuremberg in about 2 hours.

Munich airport is connected to Munich Central station by metro and is reachable in about 40 minutes. Connection frequency between Munich and Nuremberg is very high and the distance is covered in about 1 hour.

Both the Deutsche Bahn website and application for mobile devices are extremely helpful at the time of planning your trip.


WITec is a leading manufacturer of confocal and scanning-probe microscopes for state-of-the-art Raman Imaging, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy (SNOM) in addition to being the developer of the integrated Raman Imaging and Scanning Electron (RISE) microscopy. WITec’s headquarters is located in Ulm, Germany, where all WITec products are developed and produced. Branch offices in USA, Japan, Singapore, China and Spain provide a worldwide sales and support network. WITec has been distinguished by its innovative product portfolio and a microscope design that enables combinations of the various imaging techniques within one system. An exemplar of the company’s breakthrough development is the world’s first integrated Raman-AFM microscope. To this day, WITec’s confocal microscopes are unrivalled in sensitivity, resolution and imaging capabilities.

In geosciences Raman imaging is a valuable tool various analysis and research task:

  • Identification and distribution of minerals
  • Characterization of organic and inorganic components
  • Fluid inclusions
  • Petrology
  • Geo(micro)biology and astrobiology