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Abstract: Jurassic Hydrocarbon Exploration of Southern Florida

Hugh J. Mitchell-Tapping

South Florida Jurassic exploration has been overlooked as a viable exploration target due to lack of data and plate-tectonics application. In Florida, "basement" is defined as crystalline, igneous, metamorphic, and unmetamorphosed sediments of Paleozoic age. Age-dating of zircons has proven that the Florida lower Paleozoic terrane is not akin to that of North America but is part of the West African Guinean shield. Previous published reconstructions of late Paleozoic fits of crustal plates and continents have failed to account for the differences in peninsula Florida basement and the geologic and tectonic continuities of peninsula Florida, Yucatan, Cuba, Hispaniola, and Bahamas. Pre-Atlantic reconstruction of the Gulf of Mexico in this study proposes that there was a Florida connection to Yucatan-Cuba-Africa during the Triassic. This reconstruction also shows that the Jurassic sediments that are well known in the northern Gulf Coast should have been deposited in similar depositional environments in southern Florida. Deep drilling on the Florida peninsula has confirmed this hypothesis. By using plate tectonic reconstruction based on the rising of the North Atlantic Ocean and evidence from petrology of basement samples from deep wells together with petrographic analyses of Jurassic sediments, a Smackover-equivalent exploration play can be developed. Petrographic and petrophysical analysis of these wells that have encountered Jurassic marine shales, anhydrite, dolomite, carbonate, and clastic sediments has determined that these sediments are from shallow-water subtidal, t dal, intertidal, and supratidal environments. Excellent gas shows, oil stain in the pores and high TOC values in the marine shales, indicate that large accumulations of hydrocarbon are present. To date, preferential drilling of structure has shown that pre-Cretaceous rocks have been intruded by igneous rocks in certain areas. However, application of Gulf Coast Smackover analogous stratigraphic models to this area will reduce risk and indicate where large oil and gas production volumes will be found.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90983©1994 GCAGS and Gulf Coast SEPM 44th Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas, October 6-7, 1994