Author Archives: Brendon Hall

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About Brendon Hall

Brendon Hall is a Geosciences Applications Engineer at Enthought. Brendon has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a B.Eng. in mechanical engineering and B.Sc. in computer science from Western University in Canada. His graduate research focused on the numerical simulation of sediment transport by turbidity currents. Before joining Enthought, Brendon worked as a research scientist in the energy industry on projects including process based geologic modeling, computational geomechanics, uncertainty analysis for asset development, and the development of an application framework for quantitative interpretation.

Scientists Use Enthought’s Virtual Core Software to Study Asteroid Impact

Chicxulub Impact Crater Expedition Recovers Core to Further Discovery on the Impact on Life and the Historical Dinosaur Extinction

From April to May 2016, a team of international scientists drilled into the site of an asteroid impact, known as the Chicxulub Impact Crater, which occurred 66 million years ago. The crater is buried several hundred meters below the surface in the Yucatán region of Mexico. Until that time, dinosaurs and marine reptiles dominated the world, but the series of catastrophic events that followed the impact caused the extinction of all large animals, leading to the rise of mammals and evolution of mankind. This joint expedition, organized by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) recovered a nearly complete set of rock cores from 506 to 1335 meters below the modern day seafloor.  These cores are now being studied in detail by an international team of scientists to understand the effects of the impact on life and as a case study of how impacts affect planets.

CT Scans of Cores Provide Deeper Insight Into Core Description and Analysis

Before being shipped to Germany (where the onshore science party took place from September to October 2016), the cores were sent to Houston, TX for CT scanning and imaging. The scanning was done at Weatherford Labs, who performed a high resolution dual energy scan on the entire core.  Dual energy scanning utilizes x-rays at two different energy levels. This provides the information necessary to calculate the bulk density and effective atomic numbers of the core. Enthought processed the raw CT data, and provided cleaned CT data along with density and effective atomic number images.  The expedition scientists were able to use these images to assist with core description and analysis.

CT Scans of Chicxulub Crater Core Samples

Digital images of the CT scans of the recovered core are displayed side by side with the physical cores for analysis

chicxulub-virtual-core-scan-core-detail

Information not evident in physical observation (bottom, core photograph) can be observed in CT scans (top)

These images are helping scientists understand the processes that occurred during the impact, how the rock was damaged, and how the properties of the rock were affected.  From analysis of images, well log data and laboratory tests it appears that the impact had a permanent effect on rock properties such as density, and the shattered granite in the core is yielding new insights into the mechanics of large impacts.

Virtual Core Provides Co-Visualization of CT Data with Well Log Data, Borehole Images, and Line Scan Photographs for Detailed Interrogation

Enthought’s Virtual Core software was used by the expedition scientists to integrate the CT data along with well log data, borehole images and line scan photographs.  This gave the scientists access to high resolution 2D and 3D images of the core, and allowed them to quickly interrogate regions in more detail when questions arose. Virtual Core also provides machine learning feature detection intelligence and visualization capabilities for detailed insight into the composition and structure of the core, which has proved to be a valuable tool both during the onshore science party and ongoing studies of the Chicxulub core.

chicxulub-virtual-core-digital-co-visualization

Enthought’s Virtual Core software was used by the expedition scientists to visualize the CT data alongside well log data, borehole images and line scan photographs.

Related Articles

Drilling to Doomsday
Discover Magazine, October 27, 2016

Chicxulub ‘dinosaur crater’ investigation begins in earnest
BBC News, October 11, 2016

How CT scans help Chicxulub Crater scientists
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Chicxulub Impact Crater Expedition Blog, October 3, 2016

Chicxulub ‘dinosaur’ crater drill project declared a success
BBC Science, May 25, 2016

Scientists hit pay dirt in drilling of dinosaur-killing impact crater
Science Magazine, May 3, 2016

Scientists gear up to drill into ‘ground zero’ of the impact that killed the dinosaurs
Science Magazine, March 3, 2016

Texas scientists probe crater they think led to dinosaur doomsday
Austin American-Statesman, June 2, 2016

Geophysical Tutorial: Facies Classification using Machine Learning and Python

Published in the October 2016 edition of The Leading Edge magazine by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. Read the full article here.

By Brendon Hall, Enthought Geosciences Applications Engineer 
Coordinated by Matt Hall, Agile Geoscience

ABSTRACT

There has been much excitement recently about big data and the dire need for data scientists who possess the ability to extract meaning from it. Geoscientists, meanwhile, have been doing science with voluminous data for years, without needing to brag about how big it is. But now that large, complex data sets are widely available, there has been a proliferation of tools and techniques for analyzing them. Many free and open-source packages now exist that provide powerful additions to the geoscientist’s toolbox, much of which used to be only available in proprietary (and expensive) software platforms.

One of the best examples is scikit-learn, a collection of tools for machine learning in Python. What is machine learning? You can think of it as a set of data-analysis methods that includes classification, clustering, and regression. These algorithms can be used to discover features and trends within the data without being explicitly programmed, in essence learning from the data itself.

Well logs and facies classification results from a single well.

Well logs and facies classification results from a single well.

In this tutorial, we will demonstrate how to use a classification algorithm known as a support vector machine to identify lithofacies based on well-log measurements. A support vector machine (or SVM) is a type of supervised-learning algorithm, which needs to be supplied with training data to learn the relationships between the measurements (or features) and the classes to be assigned. In our case, the features will be well-log data from nine gas wells. These wells have already had lithofacies classes assigned based on core descriptions. Once we have trained a classifier, we will use it to assign facies to wells that have not been described.

See the tutorial in The Leading Edge here.

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