Tony Troutman

Exploration Geologist

Currently with  a mid-size oil company in Carpinteria, California.

email: Tony.Troutman(nospam)

Contact me.


 Areas of expertise and interests:

Carbonate and clastic sequence stratigraphy, reservoir characterization and prediction:


M.S. Thesis: Reservoir characterization, paleogeomorphology and paleoenvironment of the Mississippian Redwall paleokarst, Hualapai Indian Reservation, Grand Canyon Area, Arizona, U.S.A. The abstract is here. An example of the stratigraphy of a typical breccia pipe is shows an example of vadose deposits in the later stages of speleogenesis, overall size of the cave passage developed, and some evidence of the timing of collapse. A model of the style of karstification in the Redwall was developed based on evidence of structural and fracture development, paleohydrology, and exposure time. These four major factors, exposure time, tectonic and eustatic changes, paleohydrology, and paloeclimate can be used to predict the style and extent of a paleokarst system and used to predict the large-scale reservoir properties of a paleokarst unconformity. The Bat Cave Pipe Breccia Pipe shows an excellent example of a paleokarst feature that is large enough to be seen on seismic profiles. Many of the paleokarst breccia features in the Redwall are of sufficient size to be seismic-scale.

Other field areas where I have worked include the Madison Limestone (Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana), Elk Basin, Wyoming, various areas in Nevada, West Texas Cretaceous and Permian basins, Black Warrior Basin in Alabama, Mississippian and Devonian outcrops in Illinois and Missouri, the Tabernas Basin of Southern Spain, the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile, Puerto Rico, Barbados, and the Great Rift Basin of Ethiopia. Non-reservoir related field work has included recovery of volcanic ash from Mt. St. Helens for use by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA and assistance with geologic inventory of Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico.

Reservoir characterization and carbonate sequence stratigraphy of the Cretaceous Ionian Basin, Albania. This was a confidential study that I completed. A map of Albania shows the area covered by measured sections done for this study. Outcrops of source rocks were located and sampled. Petrographic studies of samples taken from the measured sections allowed characterization of porosity and permeability of sedimentary facies. Reservoir characteristics of potential drilling targets were successfully predicted.

Natural fractures and fractured reservoir characterization:

My work has been based on the methods of the Fracture Group at the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, and has combined both surface measurements and subsurface measurements from core using SEM-CL and paleomagnetic measurements for core reorientation. Microfracture measurements done with a scanning electron microscope combined with cathodoluminescence detection instruments have been used to predict macrofracture frequency and orientation. Fracture characterization can result in predictions of fracture orientation, intensity, and occlusion percentages. Unoriented core from many geologic formations can be used combined with paleomagnetic measurements of samples to establish fracture orientation in samples.

Cave and karst dye tracing and mapping:

Example: Dye tracing of Panorama Cave, Mineral King Area, Sequoia National Park, published in California Caver. The study identified a previously unlocated hydrologic resurgence using invisible and biologically safe dye measured at low parts per billion using a field fluorophotometer. Similar methods could be used for locating natural oil seeps, basin modeling, and locating potential prospects.

Core studies:

My core work has included detailed description with facies identification, resistivity image log correlation and analysis, fracture identification, full high resolution scans, sampling for thin section description, photography, photomicrography, scanning electron microscopy, cathodoluminescence, porosity, permeability, sonic, or other petropysical measurements. Public core repositories and private core facilities are often utilized. A reference list of core repositories and well log databases is here.

A reference spreadsheet of well log mnemonics is here.

The spreadsheet I have created for well log mnemonics is not necessarily correct. I have assembled these mnemonics from various sources believed to be reliable. I would be happy to receive corrections or additions and will update the spreadsheet.

Petrographic studies:

Experienced with the permeability transforms developed by Lucia, using porosity classification to predict permeability in carbonates. Studies of large sets of core samples from from offshore Western Africa and West Texas basins have been completed.

Evaluation of potential subsurface porosity and facies identification from outcrop samples or core samples. Primary expertise in carbonates, but experienced with siliciclastics as well.

Current Projects:

Current geologic projects include diving on oil and gas seeps in the Santa Barbara channel. I am working on documenting the volume and rate of some the thousands of natural oil and gas seeps that exist in this area. I will post some photos and data when I have more of that work completed. I am especially interested in how these natural seeps may be affected by earthquakes, which are a common event here in California. The USGS seeps page is here.

A  geologic map showing the faults offshore Carpinteria shows how fault movement may affect the seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel.

I am also working on a paleokarst mapping project in the Nopah Range near Death Valley, looking at Ordovician age Pogonip Group dolomites. This is a photomontage of the Nopah Range taken from Twelve Mile Spring in the Chicago Valley.




I am a member of the following professional organizations:

American Association of Petroleum Geologists

Society for Sedimentary Geology

Houston Geological Society

The Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists

Geologic Society of America

The Society of Exploration Geophysicists

Society of Petroleum Engineers

National Speleological Society ( life member) I am currently the Secretary-Treasurer for the Geology and Geography Section.

Sigma Phi Delta, Alpha Chapter, an international engineering fraternity.

My academic degrees are from The University of Southern California, and The University of Texas at Austin, with additional course work at Long Beach City College, California State University at Long Beach, The University of Pennsylvania, the Center for Cave and Karst Studies at Western Kentucky University, and a technical degree from the College of Oceaneering  (now known as the National Polytechnic College of Science) in Air/Mixed Gas Diving.