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Architectural element analysis of fluvial deposits within the Muddy Creek Formation, southern Nevada: a Late Miocene analog for dryland hydrocarbon reservoirs.

Thomas Muntean

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Department of Geoscience

Las Vegas, Nevada

[email protected]

This project will document fluvial deposits within the Late Miocene fluvial to lacustrine Muddy Creek Formation (MCF), southern Nevada. The study area is adjacent to the northern part of Lake Mead, where predominantly fluvial sandstone and conglomerate crop out. MCF outcrops in the vicinity of the Overton Arm are hypothesized to be excellent analogs for dryland fluvial deposits.

The MCF has excellent preservation and exposure of dryland fluvial deposits due to Nevada’s arid climate. Similar deposits are major hydrocarbon reservoirs in important fields globally. Dryland fluvial deposits are emerging hydrocarbon reservoirs and their internal sedimentary architecture is poorly understood. This project will document the sedimentary architecture of a sequence of these deposits. Global application of the results to dryland hydrocarbon reservoirs will further the understanding of primary structural controls on hydrocarbon migration and reservoir quality, as well as address issues related to compartmentalization of these reservoirs; allowing for improved reservoir characterization and application of better recovery techniques to these types of reservoirs.

An architectural element analysis of fluvial deposits within the MCF will be conducted. Sedimentary structures will be mapped onto outcrop photomosaics. The mapped outcrops will be tied to measured stratigraphic sections, grain size data, and porosity and permeability data. Hierarchical architectural elements will be interpreted for the formation based on these data and depositional modes will be determined. Results of the analysis will further our understanding of dryland fluvial deposits; providing a three-dimensional model of primary sedimentary structures for application to hydrocarbon reservoir architecture.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90060©2006 AAPG Foundation Grants-in-Aid