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Gravity Survey of Marine Field: Case Study for Silurian Reef Exploration

Previous HitPaulTop C. Heigold, Stephen T. Whitaker

A gravity survey conducted over and around Marine field in southwestern Illinois has been used as an example to show how measurement of the local gravity field can aid in the search for Silurian reefs in the Illinois basin. Acquisition parameters for gravity surveys over Silurian reefs should be calculated beforehand from simple models of the reef based on estimates of density contrasts, depths, and size.

Residual and derivative mapping techniques generally enhance gravity anomalies and enable more accurate portrayals of the structural relief on buried reefs. The second vertical derivative map of the residual Bouguer gravity anomaly surface at Marine field compares very well with the structure of the reef as mapped from subsurface data. This study indicates that similar mapping techniques could be effective on other reefs throughout the Illinois basin.

Although gravity mapping methods are potentially powerful exploration tools in themselves, the writers believe that their proper role is as a part of a more comprehensive exploration approach. Gravity surveys can be used effectively as an initial exploration method in reef-prone areas to define smaller, prospect-size areas in which more intensive exploration techniques can subsequently be focused.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91023©1989 AAPG Eastern Section, Sept. 10-13, 1989, Bloomington, Indiana.