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Skinner, Kenneth M.1, Richard Pawlowicz2 
(1) Bechtel Jacobs LLC, Knoxville, TN 
(2) Bechtel National, Inc, San Diego, CA

ABSTRACT: Structural and Stratigraphic Development of the Reelfoot Rift Basin

Exploratory drilling and subsequent hydrocarbon field development has been very successful in establishing substantial oil and gas production from Carboniferous Age sediments that were deposited in the deep marine environment along the Paleozoic continental margin in portions of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Prolific dry gas production from Mississippian and Pennsylvanian age clastic sediments was discovered in large folded anticlinal structures in the Arkoma Basin of western Arkansas in the early 1900s. Oil and gas production from Carboniferous age clastic sediments was also discovered several hundred miles to the east in the Black Warrior Basin. 
These two basins, the Arkoma and Black Warrior, and the Reelfoot Rift Basin, that connects the two basins, formed the trailing edge of the continental margin of the North American Craton during the entire Paleozoic Era. The depositional history and structural development of the Reelfoot Rift Basin is linked to the failed Reelfoot Rift System. This regional feature exhibits distinctively different characteristics than either of the two bounding hydrocarbon provinces. This trailing margin deep marine basin does however, have all of the characteristics of a prolific hydrocarbon basin 
Therefore, it is postulated that this region has a comparable, very high probability of substantial hydrocarbon accumulation and undiscovered reserves. This conclusion is based on a detailed evaluation of the structural and depositional history of the region as described in the following discussion.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.