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Shattuck Member of Queen Formation (Permian), Northwest Shelf, Permian Basin: Eolian Sandstone Deposited During a Lowstand of Sea Level

J. Siegel, A. Malicse, J. Mazzullo, S. Mazzullo

The Queen Formation is a sequence of carbonates, evaporites, and sandstones of Permian (Guadalupian) age that is found across the subsurface Northwest shelf of the Permian basin. The formation is a major reservoir for oil and gas, and one of its producing zones is a thick sandstone (equivalent to the Shattuck sandstone) that defines the top of the Queen. Studies of logs and cores of the Shattuck from Caprock and Central Corbin fields (Chaves and Lea Counties, New Mexico) were undertaken to determine its sedimentary history.

The Shattuck is a wedge-planar sand body that thickens downdip (Caprock to Corbin) from 6 to 19 m. It generally has sharp (in some places clearly erosive) contacts with dolomite and anhydrite that lie above and below it. The Shattuck is composed of well-sorted arkosic to subarkosic silty sand, and it contains the following sedimentary structures (in order of decreasing abundance): (1) high-angle cross-bedding, (2) planar wind-rippled laminae, (3) wavy and discontinuous adhesion laminae, (4) wavy and lenticular-bedded water ripples, and (5) contorted and massive beds with small nodules of anhydrite. The cross-bedded and wind-rippled sandstones are generally reservoirs for oil and gas; the remaining lithologies are not reservoirs.

The Shattuck was deposited in continental eolian environments during a lowstand of sea level. This lowstand exposed highstand marine and shoaling sediments (carbonates and evaporites) beneath the Shattuck to subaerial erosion and weathering, and they were soon buried by windblown sand. The sand accumulated in desert dunes (cross-bedded sandstone), sand sheets (erges) that were alternately dry (planar-laminated sandstone) and wet (adhesion laminae, water ripples), and sabkhas (anhydritic sandstone). Deposition of the Shattuck was terminated by a sudden rise in sea level and the return of marine depositional environments.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91034©1988 AAPG Southwest Section, El Paso, Texas, 21-23 February 1988.