SIMSAFADIM-CLASTIC: A new approach to mathematical 3D forward simulation modelling for terrigeneous and carbonate marine sedimentation


  • O. GRATACÓS Centre Mixt d’Investigació GEOMODELS – Group of Geodynamics and Basin Analysis, Facultat de Geologia, Universitat de Barcelona (UB) C/Martí i Franqués s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
  • K. BITZER Universität Bayreuth, Germany. Geowissenschaften. Abteilung Geologie. Centre Mixt d’Investigació GEOMODELS – Group of Geodynamics and Basin Analysis, Facultat de Geologia, Universitat de Barcelona (UB) C/Martí i Franqués s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
  • L. CABRERA Dept. Estratigrafia i Paleontologia, Facultat de Geologia, Universitat de Barcelona (UB)C/Martí i Franqués s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain. Centre Mixt d’Investigació GEOMODELS – Group of Geodynamics and Basin Analysis, Facultat de Geologia, Universitat de Barcelona (UB) C/Martí i Franqués s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
  • E. ROCA Dept. Geodinàmica i Geofísica, Facultat de Geologia, Universitat de Barcelona (UB)C/Martí i Franqués s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain. Centre Mixt d’Investigació GEOMODELS – Group of Geodynamics and Basin Analysis, Facultat de Geologia, Universitat de Barcelona (UB) C/Martí i Franqués s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.



Forward modelling, Process-based, Diffusion, Advection, Sediment transport, Mixed terrigenous-carbonate sedimentation


Most sedimentary modelling programs developed in recent years focus on either terrigenous or carbonate marine sedimentation. Nevertheless, only a few programs have attempted to consider mixed terrigenous-carbonate sedimentation, and most of these are two-dimensional, which is a major restriction since geological processes take place in 3D. This paper presents the basic concepts of a new 3D mathematical forward simulation model for clastic sediments, which was developed from SIMSAFADIM, a previous 3D carbonate sedimentation model. The new extended model, SIMSAFADIM-CLASTIC, simulates processes of autochthonous marine carbonate production and accumulation, together with clastic transport and sedimentation in three dimensions of both carbonate and terrigenous sediments. Other models and modelling strategies may also provide realistic and efficient tools for prediction of stratigraphic architecture and facies distribution of sedimentary deposits. However, SIMSAFADIM-CLASTIC becomes an innovative model that attempts to simulate different sediment types using a process-based approach, therefore being a useful tool for 3D prediction of stratigraphic architecture and facies distribution in sedimentary basins. This model is applied to the neogene Vallès-Penedès half-graben (western Mediterranean, NE Spain) to show the capacity of the program when applied to a realistic geologic situation involving interactions between terrigenous clastics and carbonate sediments.


Allen, J., 1978. Studies in fluviatile sedimentation: An explo - ratory quantitative model for the architecture of avulsion controlled suites. Sedimentary Geology, 21, 129-147.

Bice, D., 1991. Computer simulation of carbonate platform and basin systems. Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin, 233, 431-447.

Bitzer, K., Harbaugh, J.W., 1987. DEPOSIM: A Macintosh computer model for two-dimensional simulation of transport, deposition, erosion and compaction of clastic sediments. Computers and Geosciences, 13, 611-637.

Bitzer, K., 1999. Two-dimensional simulation of clastic and carbonate sedimentation, consolidation, subsidence, fluid flow, heat flow and solute transport during the formation of sedimentary basins. Computers and Geosciences, 25(4), 431-447.

Bitzer, K., Salas, R., 2001. Simulating carbonate and mixed carbonate-clastic sedimentation using predator-prey models. In: Merriam, D., Davis, J.C. (eds.). Geologic Modeling and Simulation: Sedimentary Systems. New York, Kluwer Aca - demic/ Plenum Publishers, 362 pp.

Bitzer, K., Salas, R., 2002. SIMSAFADIM: three-dimensional simulation of stratigraphic architecture and facies distribution modeling of carbonate sediments. Computers and Geosciences, 28, 1177-1192.

Bitzer, K., 2004. Estimating paleogeographic, hydrological and climatic conditions in the upper Burdigalian Vallès-Penedès basin (Catalunya, Spain). Geologica Acta, 2(4), 305-320.

Bosence, D., Waltham, D., 1990. Computer modeling the internal architecture of carbonate platforms. Geology, 18, 26-30.

Bridge, J., Leeder, M., 1979. A simulation model of alluvial stratigraphy. Sedimentology, 26, 617-644.

Cabrera, L., Calvet, F., 1996. Onshore Neogene record in NE Spain: Vallès-Penedès and El Camp grabens (NW Mediterranean). In: Friend, P.F., Dabrio, C. (eds.). Tertiary Basins of Spain, Cambridge University Press, 97-105.

Cabrera, L., Roca, E., Garcés, M., de Porta, J., 2004. Estratigrafía y evolución tectonosedimentaria oligocena superiorneógena del sector central del margen catalán (Cadena Costero-Catalana). In: Vera, J.A. (ed.). Geología de España, Madrid, SGE-IGME, 569-573.

Flemings, P.B., Grotzinger, J.P., 1996a. STRATA: freeware for solving classic stratigraphic problems. GSA Today, 6(12), 1-7.

Flemings, P.B., Grotzinger, J.P., Morris, J.E., 1996b. STRATA: a stratigraphic modeling package (user manual). http://hydro.

Gibert, J.M., Robles, J.M., 2005. Firmground ichnofacies recording high-frequency marine flooding events (Langhian transgression, Vallès-Penedès Basin, Spain). Geologica Acta, 3(3), 295-305.

Goldhammer, R.K., Dunn, P.A., Hardy, L.A., 1987. High frequency glacio-eustatic sealevel oscillations with Milankovitch characteristics recorded in middle Triassic platform carbonates in Northern Italy. American Journal of Science, 287, 853-892.

Gradstein, F., Ogg, J., Smith, A., 2004. A Geologic Time Scale. 2004. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 589 pp.

Gratacós, O., 2004. SIMSAFADIM-CLASTIC: Modelización 3D de transporte y sedimentación clástica subacuática. Doctoral Thesis. Universitat de Barcelona, 256 pp.

Harbaugh, J.W., Bonham-Carter, G., 1970. Computer simulation in Geology. New York, John Wiley and Sons, 574 pp.

Hardy, S., Dart, C., Waltham, D., 1994. Computer modelling of the influence of tectonics on sequence architecture of coarse-grained fan deltas. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 11(5), 561-574.

Hardy, S., Gawthorpe, R., 1998. Effects of variations in fault slip rate on sequence stratigraphy in fan deltas: insights from numerical modeling. Geology, 26(10), 911-914.

Haupt, B., Stattegger, K., Seidov, D., 1999. SEDLOB and PATLOB: Two Numerical Tools for Modeling Climatically-Forced Sediment and Water Volume Transport in Large Ocean Basins. In: Harff, J., Lemke, W., Stattegger, K. (eds.). Computerized

Modeling of Sedimentary Systems. Springer, 115-147.

Hjülstrøm, F., 1935. Studies of the Morphological Activity of Rivers as Illustrated by the River Fyris. Upsala University, Geological Institution Bulletin, 25, 221-527.

Kaufman, P., Grotzinger, J., McCormick, D., 1991. Depthdependent diffusion algorithm for simulation of sedimentation in shallow marine depositional systems. In: Franseen, E., Watney, W., Kendall, C., Ross, W. (eds.). Sedimentary modelling: computer simulations and methods for improved parameter definition. Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin, 233, 489-508.

Kinzelbach, W., 1986. Groundwater modeling: an introduction with sample programs in BASIC. Amsterdam, Elsevier Publication Company, 331 pp.

Komar, P., 1973. Computer models of delta growth due to sediment input from rivers and longshore transport. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 84, 2217-2226.

Lawrence, D., Doyle, M., Aigner, T., 1990. Stratigraphic simulation of sedimentary basins: Concepts and Calibration. American Association of Petroleum Geology, Bulletin 74(3), 273-295.

Martinez, P.A., Harbaugh, J.W., 1994. Simulating nearshore environments. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 265 pp.

Permanyer, A., 1990. Sedimentologia i diagènesis dels esculls miocènics de la conca del Penedès. Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Barcelona, Arxius de la Secció de Ciències, XCII, 324 pp.

Read, J.F., Grotzinger, J.P., Bova, J.A., Koerschner, W.F., 1986. Models of generation of carbonate cycles. Geology, 14, 107-110.

Roca, E., Sans, M., Cabrera, L., Marzo, M., 1999. Oligocene to Middle Miocene evolution of the central Catalan margin (northwestern Mediterranean). Tectonophysics, 315, 209-233.

Saaltink, M., Carrera, J., Ayora, C., 2000. A comparison of two approaches for reactive transport modelling. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 69-70, 97-101.

Saaltink, M., Batlle, F., Ayora, C., Carrera, J., Olivella, S., 2004. RETRASO, a code for modeling reactive transport in saturated and unsaturated porous media. Geologica Acta, 2(3), 235-251.

Steefel, C., MacQuarrie, K., 1996. Approaches to modeling of reactive transport in porous media. In: Lichtner, P., Steefel, C., Oelkers, E. (eds.). Reactive transport in porous media. Reviews in Mineralogy, 34, 83-130.

Strobel, J., Soewito, F., Kendall, C., Biswas, G., Bezedk, J., Cannon, R., 1989. Interactive (SEDPAK) simulation of clastic and carbonate sediments in shelf to basin settings. Computers and Geosciences, 15(8), 1279-1290.

Syvitski, J., Hutton, E., 2001. 2D SEDFLUX 1.0C: an advanced process-response numerical model for the fill of marine sedimentary basins. Computers and Geosciences, 27(6), 731-753.

Tetzlaff, D.M., Harbaugh, J.W., 1989. Simulating clastic sedimentation. Computer methods in the Geosciences, New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 202 pp.

Vanoni, V., 1975. Sedimentation engineering. American Society of Civil Engineers, Manual 54.

Warrlich, G., Waltham, D., Bosence, D., 2002. Quantifying the sequence stratigraphy and drowning mechanisms of atolls using a new 3-D forward stratigraphic modelling program (CARBONATE 3D). Basin Research, 14(3), 379-400.







Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>