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ABSTRACT: Santa Maria Province Project, California

Caroline M. Isaacs, Richard G. Stanley

The Santa Maria Province Project, jointly sponsored by the U. S. Geological Survey's Evolution of Sedimentary Basins and Onshore Oil and Gas Investigations Programs, focuses on the tectonically active south-central California continental margin west of the Sur-Nacimiento fault. The region embraces the onshore and offshore Santa Maria basins, Pismo and Huasna basins, and includes part of the Santa Barbara-Ventura basin as well as several other basins and basin fragments. These Neogene basins have considerable economic significance the world's largest diatomite deposit, as the most extensive fractured petroleum reservoirs in California, as the largest United States petroleum discoveries since Prudhoe Bay, and as major petroleum resources (> 1 bilion bbl).

The Santa Maria Province Project is a 5-yr study involving over 40 researchers from government agencies, industry, and academia. Major problems addressed by the study are the tectonic history (origin and timing of pre-Neogene terrane accretion, origin and history of Neogene basins), spatial trends in reservoir and source rocks (Miocene paleogeography and lateral facies variations), and petroleum maturation and thermal history. In addition to a wide range of topical studies, major regional efforts include compilation of gravity and magnetic data, new surface and subsurface stratigraphic reference sections with state-of-the-art sedimentology and biostratigraphy, new structural cross sections, paleogeographic reconstructions, heat flow studies and new geothermal surveys, integrated studi s of thermal history and diagenesis, and cooperative research on organic geochemistry and fluid migration.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91003©1990 AAPG Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, June 3-6, 1990