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Environment of Deposition of Clear Fork Formation: Yoakum County, Texas

Brian K. Moore

The Clear Fork Formation is Permian (Leonardian) in age and constitutes a major oil-bearing unit in the Permian basin of west Texas. In Yoakum County, west Texas, the upper Clear Fork carbonates record a subtidal upward-shoaling sequence of deposition. A small bryozoan-algal patch reef is situated within these carbonates near the southern edge of the North Basin platform. The reef is completely dolomitized, but paramorphic replacement has facilitated a study of the paleoecology, lateral variations, and community succession within this buildup. Buildups of this type are scarcely known in strata of Permian age.

The reef was apparently founded on a coquina horizon at the base of the buildup. The reef apparently had a low-relief, dome-shaped morphology. The trapping and binding of sediment by bryozoa appear to have been the main constructional process. A significant role was also played by encrusting forams and the early precipitation of submarine cements, both of which added rigidity to the structure. The reef also contains a low-diversity community of other invertebrates. Algal constituents predominate at the basinward edge of the buildup. The reef was formed entirely subaqueously on a broad, relatively shallow tropical marine carbonate shelf environment.

An understanding of the lithofacies distribution and paragenesis within this sequence will provide information on porosity variations and the nature and distribution of permeability barriers. Such information is useful in reservoir modeling studies and for secondary recovery techniques in shelf-edge carbonate reservoirs of this type.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91038©1987 AAPG Annual Convention, Los Angeles, California, June 7-10, 1987.