Effects of the Laramide Structures on the Regional Distribution of Tight-Gas Sandstone in the Upper Mesaverde Group, Uinta Basin, Utah
Raju Sitaula and Jennifer Aschoff
Basin-scale sequence stratigraphic correlation, well log analysis, syntectonic unconformity mapping, isopach maps, and depositional environment maps of the upper Mesaverde Group (UMG) in Uinta basin, Utah suggest higher accommodation in northeastern part (Natural Buttes area) and local development of lacustrine facies due to increased subsidence caused by uplift of San Rafael Swell (SRS) in southern and Uinta Uplift in northern parts. Recently discovered lacustrine facies in Natural Buttes area are completely different than the dominant fluvial facies in outcrops along Book Cliffs and could have implications for significant amount of tight-gas sand production from this area. Data used for sequence stratigraphic correlation, isopach maps and depositional environmental maps include > 100 well logs, 20 stratigraphic profiles and 10 outcrop-based gamma ray profiles. Seven 4th order depositional sequences (~0.5 my duration) are identified and correlated within UMG. Correlation was constructed using a combination of fluvial facies and stacking patterns in outcrops, chert-pebble conglomerates and tidally influenced strata. These surfaces were extrapolated into subsurface by matching GR profiles. GR well logs and core log of Natural Buttes area show intervals of coarsening upward patterns suggesting possible lacustrine intervals that might contain high TOC. Locally, younger sequences are completely truncated across SRS whereas older sequences are truncated and thinned toward SRS. The cycles of truncation and thinning represent phases of SRS uplift. Thinning possibly related with the Uinta Uplift is also observed in northwestern part. Paleocurrents are consistent with interpretation of periodic segmentation and deflection of sedimentation. Regional paleocurrents are generally E-NE-directed in Sequences 1-4, and N-directed in Sequences 5-7. From isopach maps and paleocurrent direction it can be interpreted that uplift of SRS changed route of sediment supply from west to southwest. Locally, paleocurrents are highly variable near SRS further suggesting UMG basin-fill was partitioned by uplift of SRS. In conclusion, we suggest that Uinta basin was episodically partitioned during the deposition of UMG due to uplift of Laramide structures in the basin and accommodation was localized in northeastern part. Understanding of structural controls on accommodation, sedimentation patterns and depositional environments will aid prediction of the best-producing gas reservoirs.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90156©2012 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Grand Junction, Colorado, 9-12 September 2012