Multidimensional basin and petroleum systems modeling in the Molasse Basin, Austria

Jürgen Gusterhuber

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Hydrocarbon exploration in the Molasse Basin of Austria has been successful for decades. However, knowledge of the geological evolution and its relation to timing of hydrocarbon generation and migration of the tectonically complex area close to the oil kitchen at the southern edge of the basin was still incoherent. In a first step, a multi-technique approach combining geological, geophysical and geochemical data was applied to assess amount and timing of uplift and erosion events in the basin. Three different events can be distinguished: (1) Tilting of the basin towards the west in the Early Miocene; (2) Extensive regional uplift during the Late Miocene with erosion of sediments 500 to 900 m thick; (3) Local uplift of the eastern part of the study area resulting in additional erosion of sediments up to 1000 m thick. In the second part of the thesis, a two-dimensional petroleum systems model was established based on a structural forward model in the western part of the study area (Salzburg, Upper Austria). Main goal was to investigate the impact of the fold and thrust belt on the petroleum system within and in front of the Perwang imbricates. Present-day heat flow, calibrated with formation temperatures, ranges between 28 and 60 mW/m² and decreases southwards. Maturity data suggest that heat flow was even lower during Miocene times. The postulated sub-recent (Plio-/Pleistocene) increase in heat flow is supported by sensitivity analysis. However, its geological cause is yet not fully understood. Minor hydrocarbon generation (transformation ratio
Translated title of the contributionMultidimensionale Becken- und Kohlenwasserstoffsystemmodellierung in der österreichischen Molassezone
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Montanuniversität
  • Sachsenhofer, Reinhard, Assessor A (internal)
  • Piller, Werner, Assessor A (external), External person
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

no embargo


  • Austrian Molasse Basin
  • Basin Modeling
  • Petroleum Systems
  • Generation
  • Migration
  • Fold and Thrust Belt
  • Imbricated zone

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