--> Abstract: Reconstructing Waste History in an Old Flush Production Area: Smackover Field, AR, by Mary L. Barrett; #90914(2000)

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Mary L. Barrett1
(1) Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport, LA

Abstract: Reconstructing waste history in an old flush production area: Smackover Field, AR

Smackover Field, discovered in 1922, remains as one of the most visibly scarred oil field landscapes in the country. Emulsion problems and waste were severe, millions of barrels of heavy oil were stored in earthen pits for a decade, and millions of barrels of oil were lost to land and water. Over one trillion barrels of saltwater were spilled in the first decade. The landscape's spatial history was reconstructed using field observations, old production maps, old and modern aerial photography, and historical documentation on fluid production, earthen storage and waste. Modern landscape recovery varies depending on whether oil or saltwater dominated the waste history. Large earthen tank farms on the field edge stored millions of barrels of heavy oil in the 1920s and 1930s, but were not used for saltwater storage. Today the farms exist within forests where the ground is hardened by abundant degraded oil from years of storage seepage. Numerous pits within the field area were used for later saltwater storage; today vegetation is extremely limited around these former pit areas. Drainage areas also record the extensive waste history. Creek drainage is braided due to the extreme erosion and sediment choking which occurred. Asphaltic layers over 15 cm thick are prominent in creek areas which did not burn. Remnant burned cypress stumps record the common fires in most drainage areas. Vegetative recovery exists in all stages, from areas with no vegetation to those with a "salt marsh" style of resistant grasses to those with pine and hardwood trees.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana