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Field trip to Greece

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Once again it was time for a field trip to Greece with Bayerngas. From the 13th to the 17th of October, 12 lucky Bayerngas employees got to experience the beauty of Greece. The purpose of the field-trip was to provide an introduction to rift basins, study structural and sedimentological heterogeneities, and to try to link the observations made in the field, to the exploration- and reservoir-challenges that Bayerngas faces daily. Einar Sverdrup was the field-guide, and with his excellent knowledge of the area, great outcrops and perfect weather, the field trip could not have been any better.

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Day 1 – 13th of October 2014

The first day of the field trip included several hours of travelling, running at Schiphol airport due to a delayed flight from Oslo, and excitement around whether or not the luggage had made it all the way to Athens. Luckily, all the luggage arrived safely, and the cars were picked up at the airport. After some hours driving the group arrived in Kalavrita at around 20:00, checked into the Filoxenia Hotel, and went out to get some dinner. The food and drink consisted of classical Greek dishes such as pita souvlaki, pork and chicken chops, Greek salad, tzatziki, and feta cheese, all of which tasted amazing and with great company the trip was off to a good start.

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Day 2 – 14th of October 2014

The day started with breakfast at the hotel at 8, and the group left for field work at around 9. First stop was the alpine skiing centre at almost 2000m above sea level where the goal was to get an overview of the area. The rumours said that this was going to be the coldest experience during this field trip, and, as typical Norwegians, warm wool, winter jackets and gloves had been packed in anticipation of chilly conditions. But no need for any of that, as, when we reached the base of the skiing centre, it was around 15 degrees and the sun was shining.

Other locations that day provided an overview and understanding of the large scale faulting dominating the area, fault deformation zones, fault plane geometries and sediment deposits spanning alluvial fans, fluvial channels and deltas. Discussions about seismic resolution, fault displacement, tectonic evolution, sedimentation and where to place a well occurred at the different locations and links to the challenges faced around the same topics in our daily work were made. On the way back from the field one of our four cars broke down. After several discussions on whether or not it was safe to drive the group finally arrived back in Kalavrita for a quick shower, and yet another amazing Greek dinner at a local taverna, around 10 hours after leaving the hotel in the morning.

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Day 3 – 15th of October 2014

The same morning procedures were followed but in addition some of the guys went to a local garage to see what was wrong with the broken car. After some investigations worth 10€, it turned out to be the parking brake, and due to the challenging roads it was decided that three cars were enough for this day. The topics to be discussed during this second day of field work included sub-seismic heterogeneities, reservoir analogues and fault zone characteristics and, as the sun shone and the early morning mist disappeared, the group headed off to the first of three stops that day.

The importance of sub-seismic heterogeneities (faults and channel deposits) with reference to fluid flow in a reservoir was the main topic at the first stop of the day. After the first stop we visited the Mega Spileion Monastery, with its amazing location virtually on a cliff face, followed by a tasty picnic lunch at a taverna close to the monastery.

The second stop, situated within the β-block, supplied a great overview of the large-scale structural expression of this fault block. We reviewed the earlier field work and laboratory modelling of the large scale rotation of the block, and had an enthusiastic discussion about the spatial distribution and frequency of small-scale faults with respect to reservoir modelling properties such as fluid flow and fault sealing. The last stop of the day was also within the β-block and the purpose was to have a closer look at one of the internal faults and related structures within the β-block. After a short but steep and quite challenging hike we reached the fault-plane. The locality provided a perfect opportunity to study the damage-zone, and clear evidence of brittle deformation and associated cementation was observed. A short hike further up to the top provided us with an amazing view of the landscape surrounding us.

Over the many years that Einar has studied the geology of this area he has clearly made some friends for life, as the hotel owner at Filoxenia Hotel took us all out for dinner the last night in Kalavrita (huge thanks from all of us in Bayerngas!)

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Day 4 – 16th of October 2014

Bags were packed and the last breakfast at Hotel Filoxenia was eaten. Heading for the last day of field-work in the mountains a number of short stops were made on the way down to the coast of Corinth. Text-book examples of fan deltas and marine sequences were studied and discussed. Some of the examples were so good that Einar was suspected of having created them himself during the years he has spent in the region. The lunch consisted again of a great Greek picnic accompanied by a well-deserved swim in the Gulf of Corinth for many of us. How cool to be able to say, as a geologist, that you have swum in an active rift-basin! A short stop was made at a small coffee shop near the Gulf of Corinth canal, where the 70 m high bridge crossing the canal provides a great location for photographs.

The last night was spent in Loutraki at a seaside resort, and after checking in an evening trip back to the canal was made. The canal walls provide excellent outcrops and correlating faults across the canal, and discussing the timing of fault movement was fairly easy, and the day in the field naturally ended when the sun went down.

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Day 5 – 17th of October 2014

To round off an amazing field-trip some of us decided that a morning swim in the Gulf of Corinth was a great way to prepare for a cold and rainy Norwegian autumn. After breakfast we set off into the field again and made a short stop on the other side of the canal to view a small graben structure. We then continued to the last stop of the trip which provided us with the opportunity to climb into an active fault. The fault moved significantly in 1981 and the surface nicely displayed the fault movement. The Bayerngas employees at this location invented a new measurement unit, exactly the length of the fault-movement in 1981 - “en Truls” (~ 190 cm and corresponding to 6.7 on the Richter-scale).

We had a final lunch at a local taverna before heading to the airport and saying our goodbyes. Some of us transformed into tourists of Athens while the rest headed back to Norway (and Denmark).
On behalf of the lucky 12 that participated in this field-trip, many thanks to Bayerngas for giving us the opportunity to learn by visiting this amazing place and to Einar for excellent guiding and organization.

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