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Red Wing Creek Field, North Dakota: A Review

Bridges, L. W. Dan1 (1) Retired Independent Petroleum Geologist, Aurora, CO


Red Wing Creek Field is located in township 148N, range 101E, in McKenzie County, North Dakota, 30 km southwest of the center of the Williston Basin. The structure is complexly faulted, generally with a diameter of 10 km, and has a central uplift of about 750 m, but no surface expression. Since discovery in 1972, it has produced approximately 17 million bbls of oil primarily from the Mississippian Mission Canyon and Charles formations.


When first discovered it was concluded to have been created by meteorite impact which is still the most popular interpretation. I have concluded that it is a pop-up structure created by long-term structural growth between Devonian and Cretaceous time. So the question is: Did the force come from above or below?


Those who champion impact, claim that the presence of shocked quartz and shatter cones proves impact; and there is no need to consider other contradictory evidence. I claim that three stratigraphic anomalies: 1. No salt in the Charles in the highest wells. 2. Pennsylvanian subcrop thinning. 3. No breccia or meteoritic fragments in the Triassic or Jurassic sections of the synclinal wells, are strong evidence against meteorite impact. I conclude that powerful gaseous explosions in the subsurface created the shocked quartz and shatter cones.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90055©2006 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Billings, Montana