Additional Factors Brought into play in Hydrocarbon Exploration in the Southern Appalachian Foreland Fold-Thrust Belt
R. D. Hatcher, Jr.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Most of the factors that are important in hydrocarbon accumulation in undeformed basins and continental margins—stratigraphic framework, porosity, thermal maturity, fluid systems, and basement features— are also important for accumulation in foreland fold-thrust belts. In addition, factors related to foreland fold-thrust belt development come into play. These include fault- and fold-related structures, fracture arrays that form in response to deformation, deformation- related porosity changes, and deformation driven fluid migration. Traps may be filled or emptied depending on their integrity prior to, during, and after deformation. If migration occurs before deformation, the hydrocarbons may survive and be trapped. If migration occurs after deformation, the hydrocarbons may not survive.
Exploration options in the southern Appalachian foreland foldthrust belt have been widened by the documenting of an Ordovician source for oil in the Swan Creek field. Structural options have also been increased by the footwall occurrence of hydrocarbons there as well. With this new discovery, the southern Appalachian foreland fold-thrust belt should no longer be written off as a barren region.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90900©2001 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Kalamazoo, Michigan