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Oceanographic Institution
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Global Basins Research Network (GBRN)
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Sedimentary Basins

Sedimentary basins are the low-temperature chemical reactors that produce most of the hydrocarbon, mineral and drinking water resources upon which modern civilization depends. Understanding the operation of these reactors is difficult not only because they are hundreds of kilometers in size but also because their operation links many different processes, each of which has become a separate scientific discipline. The operation of these coupled thermo-chemical-structural reactors is important to the competitiveness of U.S. industry, and to the nation. For the next several decades there is probably no science or technology more important to the nation than that related to the discovery and production of subsurface fluids (hydrocarbons, minerals and drinking water).

In order to improve fluid exploration effectiveness, the greatest need is to predict how these fluids move in sedimentary basins, and such an understanding requires

  1. the development of basin process models that integrate the effects of sedimentation, structural deformation, temperature, fluid flow, and inorganic and organic chemical change, and
  2. the assembly of a unified multi-disciplinary data base on process-representative portions of specific basins that is accurate enough to test these models. Progress requires the linking of scientists from diverse disciplines in collaboration with a group of oil companies willing to provide the necessary data. The Global Basins Research Network was founded in January 1990 to meet these challenges.