Abstract:The Mesozoic Basins of Eastern North America: Exploration Target Whose Time Has Come
PYRON, ARTHUR J.
Pyron Consulting, Pottstown, PA
Significant hydrocarbon reserves may be found in Mesozoic age rift basins of the Eastern United States. The Mesozoic Basins of Eastern North America stretch from the Labrador Shelf in Nova Scotia down to the panhandle of Florida. These basins formed in response to extensional activity associated with the separation of Pangea in the late Paleozoic - Early Mesozoic time. These rift basins apparently formed simultaneously on both the North Atlantic and Euro-African plates. In Northwestern Africa, basins with stratigraphic columns of clastic rocks (sandstones, shales, and conglomerates) very similar to those in eastern North America have been documented. Similar basins formed on the South American and southern African plates in response to extensional activity which occurred concurrently with the more northern basins. Significantly, hydrocarbons have been found in Mesozoic rift basins in offshore Canada, Europe, Northwest Africa, and South America. Only the rift basins found onshore in the United States have not identified economic hydrocarbon reservoirs.
The Mesozoic rift basins of Eastern North America provide another new target area for domestic operators to consider. There are enough encouraging signs to direct an exploration effort in these basins. Each rift basin has unique geology, as well as a unique data set. Any company envisioning such a search must be well capitalized, overly optimistic, and sensitive to environmental regulations and political reality. Given the potential for reward, and the available access to market (where greater than 60% of the population of the United States lives), the risk may be warranted.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90930©1998 AAPG Eastern Section, Columbus, Ohio