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Modeling the Mesozoic-Cenozoic Structural Evolution of East Texas

Ofori N. Pearson¹, Elisabeth L. Rowan², and John J. Miller¹
¹U.S. Geological Survey, Denver Federal Center, Box 25046, MS 939, Denver, Colorado 80225–0046, U.S.A.
²U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Dr., 956 National Center, Reston, Virginia 20192, U.S.A.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently assessed the undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources within Jurassic and Cretaceous strata of the onshore coastal plain and State waters of the U.S. Gulf Coast. Regional 2D seismic lines for key parts of the Gulf Coast basin were interpreted in order to examine the evolution of structural traps and the burial history of petroleum source rocks. Interpretation and structural modeling of seismic lines from eastern Texas provide insights into the structural evolution of this part of the Gulf of Mexico basin. Since completing the assessment, the USGS has acquired additional regional seismic lines in east Texas; interpretation of these new lines, which extend from the Texas-Oklahoma state line to the Gulf Coast shoreline, show how some of the region’s prominent structural elements (e.g., the Talco and Mount Enterprise fault zones, the East Texas salt basin, and the Houston diapir province) vary along strike. The interpretations also indicate that unexplored structures may lie beneath the current drilling floor. Structural restorations based upon interpretation of these lines illustrate the evolution of key structures and show the genetic relation between structural growth and movement of the Jurassic Louann Salt. 1D thermal models that integrate kinetics and burial histories were also created for the region’s two primary petroleum source rocks, the Oxfordian Smackover Formation and the Cenomanian-Turonian Eagle Ford Shale. Integrating results from the thermal models with the structural restorations provides insights into the distribution and timing of petroleum expulsion from the Smackover Formation and Eagle Ford Shale in eastern Texas.

 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90158©2012 GCAGS and GC-SEPM 6nd Annual Convention, Austin, Texas, 21-24 October 2012