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Abstract: Structurally Dependent Source Rock Maturity and Kerogen Facies, Estancia Basin, New Mexico

Ronald F. Broadhead

The Estancia basin of central New Mexico is an asymmetric, north-south trending structural depression that originated during the Pennsylvanian. The present-day basin covers 1,600 mi2 (4,100 km2). It is bounded on the east by the late Paleozoic Pedernal uplift, on the west by the Tertiary-age Manzano and Los Pinos Mountains, on the north by the Espanola basin, and on the south by Chupadera Mesa Depth to Precambrian basement ranges from 9,000 ft (2,700 m) in a narrow graben in the eastern part of the basin to less than 1,500 ft (460 m) on a shelf to the west. Basin fill consists primarily of Pennsylvanian and Wolfcampian sandstones and shales in the graben and sandstones, shales, and marine limestones on the shelf.

Mature to marginally mature dark-gray to black Pennsylvanian shales are probable source rocks. Thermal Alteration Index ranges from 2.0 to 3.2. Shales become thermally mature with depth in the eastern graben. On the western shelf, shales become mature to the west as a result of increased heating from the Rio Grande rift. Total organic carbon exceeds 0.5% in many shales, sufficient for hydrocarbon generation. Kerogen types are mixed algal, herbaceous and woody, indicating that gas, or possibly gas mixed with oil, was generated. Kerogens in shales of the eastern graben are entirely continental, gas-prone types. In limestones and shales of the western shelf, kerogens have a mixed marine and continental provenance, indicating that both oil and gas may have been generated on thermally matu e parts of the shelf.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90959©1995 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Reno, Nevada