Prof. Dr. S.M. Luthi


Emeritus Professor in Production Geology
Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geoscience
Delft University of Technology

Senior Technical Advisor
Schlumberger Limited
The Hague, Netherlands

PhD 1978, ETH Zurich, Switzerland: On the Mechanics of Turbidity Currents. Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Ken J. Hsu and Prof. Dr. Themistocles Dracos
MSc 1973, ETH Zurich, Switzerland: Geology of the Monte Nudo, Prov. Varese, Italy. Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Rudolf Trümpy and Prof. Dr. Daniel Bernoulli


Petroleum geology, reservoir characterization, sedimentology and borehole logging.


Petroleum Geology, Reservoir Characterization for Field Development, Production Geological Field Course (Germany), miscellaneous single lectures at other courses.


My research interests are quite broad and most of the time interdisciplinary. The common thread to most projects is that I like to investigate new techniques and methods to better understand the subsurface composition and architecture of reservoirs. Quite often I use research boreholes for this purpose, as can be seen from my publication record. Linking core, well log and seismic data is often the preferred way to achieve this, and with each one of these data sets new measurement or computational techniques can be tried, often in combination with each other. Including dynamic data such as fluid pressures and flow rates is often very valuable as well, as these data can provide signals quite far away from boreholes. It is thus obvious that I often work with geophysicists and reservoir engineers, and I have always found these collaborations very rewarding. As my original background is in sedimentology I still have one major activity in the field of sediment-laden subaqueous gravity currents, notably turbidity currents. The main focus here lies on the understanding of the behaviour of these currents on complex topographies such as strongly faulted continental margins or minbasins induced by salt tectonics. As of now I have supervised 17 PhD students and more than 50 MSc students, published over 50 peer-reviewed papers and written one book. 

Current Research Projects (Supervisor)

  • Geologic Knowledge in Non-Linear Seismic Inversion (Delphi, Ph.D. student Siddarth Sharma, 2013-2017)
  • Estimating Reservoir Parameters from Non-Linear Seismic Inversion (Delphi, Ph.D. student Runhai Feng, 2013-2017)
  • Modeling Subaqueous Megaflows (ISES, Ph.D student Navid Hermidas, 2014-2018)
  • Modeling turbidite deposits from outcrops and Brazilian reservoirs (Petrobras, Ph.D. student Thaís Almeida Cabral Empinotti, 2014-2018)
  • Multiscale petrophysical properties of sub-salt Aptian carbonate rocks (Schlumberger, Ph.D. student Rodolfo Oliveira, 2014-2018)

Current Research Projects (Promotor)

  • Untangling the sediment flux control in sedimentary basin stratigraphy (NWO Vidi; daily supervisor Joep Storms; Ph.D. student Andrea Forzoni; 2010-2014)
  • Modeling of fluvial systems in a semi-arid basin setting (CSC plus various industry; daily supervisor Rick Donselaar; Ph.D. student Jiaguang Li; 2010-2014)
  • A  basin-scale process-based model of a fluvio-deltaic network and stratigraphy (several sponsors; daily supervisor Gert Jan Weltje; Ph.D. student Pantelis Karamitopoulos; 2010-2014)
  • Enhanced core processing: towards a semi-automatic characterization and interpretation strategy (Wintershall; supervisor Gert Jan Weltje; Ph.D. student Menno Bloemsma, 2011-2015)
  • Bridging geological and engineering time scale: The application of process-based models in fluvial-deltaic reservoirs (Statoil; supervisor Joep Storms, Ph.D. student Liang Li; 2012-2016)
  • Generating deltaic subsurface models using an integrated hydro-morphodynamic software modelling tool (Shell, NWO and Deltares; daily supervisor Joep Storms, Ph.D. student Helena van der Vegt; 2013-2017)


  1. Luthi, S.M.  (1980): Some New Aspects on The Mechanics of Two-Dimensional Turbidity Currents. Sedimentology v. 28, p. 97-105.
  2. Luthi, S.M. (1981): Experiments on Three-Dimensional Turbidity Currents. Marine Geology v. 40, p. M59-M68.
  3. Luthi, S.M. (1981): Zur Ausbreitung dreidimensionaler Trübeströme. Ecl. Geol. Helveticae v. 73, n. 3, p. 881-904.
  4. Luthi, S.M. and J.R. Banavar (1988): Application of Borehole Images to the 3-D Modelling of Eolian Sandstone Reservoirs, Permian Rotliegende, North Sea. AAPG Bulletin v. 72, n. 9, p. 1074-1089.
  5. Pezard, P.A., R.N. Anderson, S.M. Luthi and J.J. Howard (1988): Structure of the Crystalline Basement from Measurements of Electrical Resistitivity in the Cajon Pass Scientific Drillhole, California.  Geophysical Research Letters, v.15, n. 9, p. 1021-1024
  6. Pezard, P.A. and S.M. Luthi (1988): Borehole Electrical Images in the  Basement of the Cajon Pass Scientific Drillhole, California: Fracture Identification and Tectonic Implications. Geophysical Research Letters, v.15, n. 9, p. 1017-1020.
  7. Luthi, S.M. (1990): Sedimentary Structures of Clastic Rocks Identified from Electrical Borehole Images. In: A. Hurst, M.A.Lovell, A.C. Morton (Eds.): Geological Application of Wireline Logs, London Geological Society, Special Publication, p. 3-10.
  8. Luthi, S.M., J.R. Banavar and U. Bayer (1990): Models to Interpret Bedform Geometries from Cross-Bed Data. Journal of Geology, v. 98, p. 171-187.
  9. Luthi, S.M. and P.Souhaité (1990): Fracture Apertures from Electrical Borehole Scans. Geophysics, v. 55, n. 7, 821-833.
  10. Luthi, S.M. (1992): Solid Computational Models of Geological Structures in Boreholes. In: Pflug, R. and J.W. Harbaugh (Editors): Computer Graphics in Geology: Three-Dimensional Modeling of Geologic Processes. Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences, v. 41, Springer Verlag,  Berlin, p. 51-61.
  11. Hornby, B.E. and S.M. Luthi (1992): An Integrated Interpretation of Fracture Apertures Computed from Electrical Borehole Scans and Reflected Stoneley Waves. In: Hurst, A., C.M. Griffiths and P.F. Worthington (Editors): Geological Applications of Wireline Logs II. Geological Society of London Special Publication 65, p. 185-198.
  12. Hornby, B.E., S.M. Luthi and R.A. Plumb (1992): Comparison of Fracture Apertures from Electrical Borehole Scans and Reflected Stoneley Waves: An Integrated Interpretation. The Log Analyst, v.. 33, n. 1, p. 50-66.
  13. Luthi, S.M. (1993): Borehole Imaging. In: Morton-Thompson, D. and A.M. Woods (Editors): AAPG Development Geology Manual. AAPG Publication, Tulsa, p. 163-166.
  14. Luthi, S.M. (1994): Textural Segmentation of Digital Rock Images into Bedding Units Using Texture Energy and Cluster Labels. Mathematical Geology, v. 26, n. 12, p. 181-196.
  15. Luthi, S.M. and Bryant, I.D. (1997): Well-Log Correlation Using a Backpropagation Neural Network. Mathematical Geology, v. 29, n. 3, p. 413-425.
  16. Anselmetti, F.S., Luthi S.M. and Eberli, G.P. (1998): Quantitative Characterization of Carbonate Pore Systems by Digital Image Analysis. Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, v. 82, n. 10, p. 1815-1836.
  17. Luthi, S.M. (2001): At a Turning Point in Petroleum Geology. In: Briegel U. and Xiao W.-J. (eds.): Paradoxes in Geology. Elsevier, ISBN 0-444-50560-1, p. 301-305.
  18. Seleznev, N., Boyd A., Habashy T., Luthi S.M. (2004): Dielectric mixing laws for fully and partially saturated carbonate rocks. In: Proc. 45th Annual SPWLA Symposium, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 6-9 June 2004, Paper CCC, 12 p.
  19. Luthi, S.M. (2005): Fractured reservoir analysis using modern geophysical well techniques: application to basement reservoirs in Vietnam. In: Harvey, P.K., Brewer, T.S., Pezard, P.A. & Petrov, V.A. (eds): Petrophysical properties of crystalline rocks. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 240, p. 95-106. ISSN 0305-8719.
  20. Taal-van Koppen, J.K.J., Luthi, S.M., Beek, T., Bertotti, G. (2005) Multi-scale fracture characterization of an outcrop analog and comparison with borehole data, Permian Tanqua-Karoo Basin, South Africa. 46th Annual SPWLA Logging Symposium, New Orleans, Transactions Paper W, 12 pp.
  21. Hodgson, D.M., Flint, S.S., Hodgetts, D., Drinkwater, N.J., Johannesson, E.P. & Luthi, S.M. (2006): Stratigraphic evolution of fine-grained submarine fan systems, Tanqua depocenter, Karoo Basin South Africa. Journal of Sedimentary Research. 76, p. 19-39. ISSN 1527-1404.
  22. Luthi, S.M., Hodgson, D.H., Geel, C.R., Flint, S.S., Goedbloed, J.W., Drinkwater, N.J., & Johanessen, E.P. (2006): Contribution of research borehole data to modelling fine-grained turbidite reservoir analogues, Permian Tanqua-Karoo basin-floor fans (South Africa). Petroleum Geoscience, 12, 175-190.
  23. Rivera Rabelo I., Luthi, S.M., van Vliet L.J., (2007): Parametrisation of meander-belt elements in high-resolution three-dimensional seismic data using the GeoTime cube and modern analogues. In: Davies, R. & Cartwright J. (eds): Seismic Geomorphology. Geological Society of London, Special Publication 277, 121-137.
  24. Bertotti, G., Taal-van Koppen, J., Beek, T., Luthi, S.M., Hardebol, N. (2007): Integration of outcrop with borehole data to improve fractured reservoir models. First Break, vol. 25, August 2007, 73-77.
  25. Bertotti, G., Hardebol, N., Taal-van Koppen, J., Luthi, S.M. (2007): Towards a quantitative definition of mechanical units: New techniques and results from an outcropping deep-water turbidite succession (Tanqua-Karoo basin, South Africa). Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, v. 91, n. 8, p. 1085-1098.
  26. Hodgson D.M., Drinkwater, N.J., Flint, S.S., Luthi, S.M., Hodgetts, D., Johannessen, E.J., Wickens, H.DeV., Keogh, K., Kavanagh, J.P. & Howell, J.A., (2007): Fine-grained submarine fan growth and the distribution of lithofacies and architectural elements: an example from the Skoorsteenberg Formation (Fan 4), Tanqua Depocenter, SW Karoo Basin, South Africa. In: R. Shew, T. Nilsen, G. Steffans, and J. Studlick (eds). Atlas of deepwater outcrops, AAPG Special Publication. ISBN: 978-0-89181-063-6.
  27. Luthi, S.M. (2008): Fossil hydrocarbons: Where, how much, and for how long? In Peet, D.J., Hatton C., de Werk G. and van Drimmelen, R. (eds) Geotechnology and Sustainable Development. Eburon Delft, pp. 14-24. ISBN 978-90-5972-293-4
  28. Luthi, S.M. (2008): Olie. Chapter in Energie Zakboek (J. Luyendijk ed.), pp. II-4 – II26. ISBN 978-90-6228-736-9.
  29. Luthi, S.M. (2008): Production Geology. Chapter in H. Leetaru (ed): AAPG Teaching Sets in Petroleum Geology. American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Data Pages and Miscellaneous Publications, ISBN 978-1-58861-337-0
  30. Tetyukhina, D., Luthi, S.M., van Vliet, L.J., Wapenaar, K. (2008): High-resolution reservoir characterization by 2.D model-driven Bayesian inversion: An example from a Tertiary deltaic clinoform system in the North Sea. Extended abstract, SEG Annual Conference.
  31. De Jager, G., van Doorn, J.F.M., Jansen, J.D., Luthi, S.M. (2009): An evaluation of relevant geological parameters for predicting the flow behavior of channelized reservoirs. Petroleum Geoscience, vol 15, pp. 345-354.
  32. Paulissen, W.E. and Luthi, S.M. (2010): Integrating magnetostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, cyclostratigraphy and seismic data to obtain a high-resolution stratigraphic record: A case study from the Vienna basin. First Break, v. 28, p. 35-41.
  33. Zinati, F.F., Jansen J.D. and Luthi, S.M. (2010): Estimating near-wellbore permeability in horizontal well from distributed pressure measurements using an adjoint-based minimization algorithm. SPE 135223, 18p.
  34. Athmer, W., Groenenberg, R.M., Luthi, S.M., Donselaar, M.E., Soukoutis, D., Willingshofer, E. (2010): Relay ramps as pathways for turbidity currents: A study combining analogue sandbox experiments and numerical flow simulations. Sedimentology, v. 57, p. 806-823.
  35. Groenenberg, R.M., Hodgson, D.M., Prélat, A., Luthi, S.M., Flint, S.S. (2010): Flow-deposit interaction in submarine lobes: Insights from outcrop observations and realizations of a process-based numerical model. Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 80, p. 252-267.
  36. Tetyukhina, D., van Vliet, L.J., Luthi, S.M., Wapenaar, K. (2010): High-resolution reservoir characterization by an acoustic impedance inversion of a Tertiary deltaic clinoform system in the North Sea. Geophysics, v. 75, no. 6, P. O57-O67.
  37. Athmer, W., Gonzalez Uribe G.A., Luthi, S.M., Donselaar, M.E. (2011): Tectonic control on the distribution of Palaeocene marine syn-rift deposits in the Fenris Graben, north-western Vøring Basin, offshore Norway. Basin Research, 23, 361-375.
  38. Tetyukhina, D., Luthi, S.M. and Gisolf, D. (2011) An outcrop-based high-resolution geological and petrophysical model, Book Cliffs (Utah, USA). Chapter 9 in the annual book of the Delphi consortium.
  39. Paulissen, W.E., Luthi, S.M. (2011) High-frequency cyclicity in a Miocene sequence of the Vienna Basin established from high-resolution logs and robust chronostratigraphic tuning , Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol., 307, 313-323.
  40. Paulissen, W.E., Luthi, S.M., Grunert, P., Coric, S. and Harzhauser, M. (2011) Integrated high-resolution stratigraphy of a Middle to Late Miocene sedimentary sequence in the central part of the Vienna Basin. Geologica Carpathica, 62/2, 155-169.
  41. Hoetz, G., Steenbrink, J., Bekkers, N., Vogelaar, A. and Luthi, S.M. (2011) Salt-Induced Stress Anomalies: an Explanation for Variations in Seismic Velocity and Reservoir Quality. Petroleum Geoscience, 17, 385-396.
  42. Weijermars R. and Luthi, S.M. (2011): Dutch Natural Gas Strategy: Historic Perspective and Challenges Ahead. Netherlands Journal of Geosciences, 90/1, 3-14.
  43. Athmer, W. and Luthi, S.M.(2011): The effect of relay ramps on sediments routes and deposition: A review. Sedimentary Geology, 242, 1-17.
  44. Tetyukhina, D., Luthi, S.M. and Gisolf, D. (2012) Acoustic non-linear full-waveform inversion on an outcrop-based detailed geological and petrophysical model, Book Cliffs (Utah). Chapter 7 in the annual book of the Delphi consortium, p. 85-106.
  45. Farshbaf Zinati, F., Jansen, J.D., and Luthi, S.M. (2012): Estimating Near-Wellbore Permeability in Horizontal Wells From Distributed Pressure Measurements Using an Adjoint-Based Minimization Algorithm. SPE Journal, 742-751.
  46. Strijker, G., Bertotti, G.V. and Luthi, S.M. (2012) Multi-scale fracture data acquisition and the development of predictive tools – a case study from the Cambro-Ordovician clastic succession in Southwestern Jordan. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 38, 104-116.
  47. Gisolf, A., Tetyukhina, D., Luthi, S.M. (2012): Full elestic inversion of synthetic seismic data of an outcrop model (Book Cliffs). Extended Abstract, Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
  48. Luthi, S.M. and Flint, S.S. (2013): The Contribution of Outcrop-Based Research Boreholes for Reservoir Modeling: Potential, Challenges and Pitfalls. Martinius, A.W. et al. (eds) Sediment Body Geometry and Heterogeneity: Analogue Studies for Modelling the Subsurface. Special Publication Geological Society London 387; online doi 10.1144/SP387.6.
  49. Strijker, G., Beekman, F., Bertotti, G.V. and Luthi, S.M. (2013): FEM Analysis of Deformation Localization Mechanisms in a 3-D Fractured Medium under Rotating Compressive Stress Orientations. Tectonophysics 593, 95-110.
  50. Tetyukhina, D., Luthi, S.M., Gisolf, A. (2014): Acoustic non-linear full-waveform inversion on an outcrop-based detailed geological and petrophysical model (Book Cliffs, Utah). Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 98/1, 119-134.
  51. Maeso, C. and 12 coauthors inc. Luthi, S.M. (2014): Fracture aperture calculations from logging and wireline while drilling tools. SPE 170848, 11p.
  52. Li, J., Luthi, S.M., Donselaar, M.E., Weltje, G.J., Prins, M.A. and Bloemsma, M.R. (2014): An ephemeral meandering river system: sediment dispersal processes in the Rio Colorado, Southern Altiplano Plateau, Bolivia. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie, online do 10.1127/zfg/2014/0155.
  53. Monecke, K. and 14 coauthors inc. Luthi, S.M. (2014): Beach ridge patterns in West Aceh, Indonesia, and their response to large earthquakes along the northern Sunda trench. Quaternary Science Reviews, online doi 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.10.014.
  54. Li, J., Menenti, M., Mousivand, A. and Luthi, S.M. (2014): Non-Vegetated Playa Morphodynamics Using Multi-Temporal Landsat Imagery in a Semi-Arid Endorheic Basin Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. Remote Sensing, 6, 10131-10151.
  55. Ponziani, M., Slob, E.C., Luthi, S.M., Bloemenkamp, R.M. and Le Nir, I. (2015): Experimental validation of fracture aperture determination from borehole electrical micro-resistivity measurements. Geophysics, 80/3, 175-181
  56. Morris, E.A., Hodgson, D.M., Flint, S.S., Brunt, R.L., Luthi, S.M. and Kolenberg, Y. (submitted): Integrating outcrop and subsurface data to assess the temporal evolution of a submarine channel-levee system. Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
  57. Li, J., Luthi, S.M., Bristow, C.S. and Donselaar, M.E. (submitted): Dryland river bank accretion and erosion and their impacts on channel planform. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.
  58. Ponziani, M., Slob, E.C., Luthi, S.M. and Reveillat, G. (submitted): Electrical response to fractures of a high-definition imaging-while-drilling tool. Leading Edge.
  59. Wang, X., Luthi, S.M., Hodgson, D.M., Sokoutis, D. and Willingshofer, E. (submitted): Turbidite stacking patterns in salt-controlled minibasins: Insights from integrated analogue models and numerical flow simulations. Sedimentology.

Stefan Luthi

Emeritus Professor in Production Geology

  • Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

    Building 23

    Stevinweg 1 / PO-box 5048

    2628 CN Delft / 2600 GA Delft