Weatherford Labs performed dual-energy CT scanning using medical-grade scanning equipment (photo: Weatherford Labs)
Weatherford Labs and Enthought announced that they are participating in the study of a 2,725-foot (830-metre) core recovered from the central area of the Chicxulub Crater. The crater, located in the Gulf of Mexico beneath the Yucatán Peninsula, is believed to have been caused by the same asteroid that led to a mass extinction event 66 million years ago.
Dual-energy CT scanning of the core at Weatherford Labs began the week of June 13, 2016. CT scanning entails the use of medical-grade computerised tomography (CT) scanners adapted for specialised use – generally, for analysing cores drilled as part of oil and gas exploration. Data from the scanners is presented as images and animations of the core slices are provided to enable rapid qualitative analysis.
Enthought’s Virtual Core software will be used to analyse the CT scan data and create a three-dimensional digital “fingerprint” of the core. The software provides machine learning feature detection intelligence and visualisation capabilities for detailed insight into the composition and structure of the core, which is critical data needed to understand the processes that occurred during the impact. This digital representation of the core’s features will also preserve the data for future exploration.
The project is led by scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and Imperial College London, and is funded by the International Ocean Discovery Program, European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling, and International Continental Scientific Drilling Project.