Deep Learning Applications in Geosciences: Insights into Ichnological Analysis

Ayranci K., Yildirim I. E., bin Waheed U., MacEachern J. A.

APPLIED SCIENCES-BASEL, vol.11, no.16, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 16
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/app11167736
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aerospace Database, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Communication Abstracts, INSPEC, Metadex, Directory of Open Access Journals, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: ichnology, deep learning, transfer learning, artificial intelligence, trace fossils
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Ichnological analysis, particularly assessing bioturbation index, provides critical parameters for characterizing many oil and gas reservoirs. It provides information on reservoir quality, paleodepositional conditions, redox conditions, and more. However, accurately characterizing ichnological characteristics requires long hours of training and practice, and many marine or marginal marine reservoirs require these specialized expertise. This adds more load to geoscientists and may cause distraction, errors, and bias, particularly when continuously logging long sedimentary successions. In order to alleviate this issue, we propose an automated technique to determine the bioturbation index in cores and outcrops by harnessing the capabilities of deep convolutional neural networks (DCNNs) as image classifiers. In order to find a fast and robust solution, we utilize ideas from deep learning. We compiled and labeled a large data set (1303 images) composed of images spanning the full range (BI 0-6) of bioturbation indices. We divided these images into groups based on their bioturbation indices in order to prepare training data for the DCNN. Finally, we analyzed the trained DCNN model on images and obtained high classification accuracies. This is a pioneering work in the field of ichnological analysis, as the current practice is to perform classification tasks manually by experts in the field.