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New Paleozoic Frontier Play in Eastern Great Basin

Alan K. Chamberlain

Discovery of two new oil fields have made the eastern Great Basin province one of the most attractive frontier areas in North America. The Grant Canyon field in east-central Nevada is producing from Devonian carbonates. It has already flowed more than 2 million bbl of oil since its discovery. The new Blackburn discoveries are producing from Mississippian siliciclastic and Devonian carbonate sediments in north-central Nevada. These hydrocarbons as well as the other 11 million bbl of oil produced from eastern Nevada fields were generated from shallow-water Mississippian siliciclastic sediments that shed eastward off the Antler Mountains. Some of these hydrocarbons were probably generated before and during the Laramide thrusting event, and were consequently trapped in large aramide age thrusts and folds in eastern Nevada. Some of these structures have since been modified by Tertiary Basin and Range normal faulting, and hydrocarbons have remigrated into smaller fault traps. Unfortunately, Tertiary sediments in these small traps have been the main target of exploration for the last three decades, which has precluded a concerned effort to explore Paleozoic sediments in large Laramide structures. A new effort is underway to evaluate the potential of Paleozoic sediments in Tertiary fault traps, which may lead to exploration of Paleozoic sediments in large Laramide structures.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91043©1986 AAPG Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 15-18, 1986.