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Geophysical Study of Needville and Arcola Faults in Fort Bend County

Kevin W. Schmidt
University of Houston

Several active faults are reported from southeast Texas, which have been studied in great detail in Harris County, but little work has been done in Fort Bend County. The Long Point, Needville, Arcola, and the Addicks fault systems are all present in Fort Bend. This study focuses on the Needville and Arcola fault systems to determine the continuity and displacement along these two fault systems. Slow movement of these faults causes them to be unnoticeable, and has become an issue for those who build infrastructures unknowingly on top of the faults. Studies conducted in Harris County using multiple geophysical techniques have produced promising results. For Fort Bend County combining these geophysical techniques produced a full cross sectional image of the faults, which helped in understanding some of the mechanisms that are behind the faulting. Carrying out this study required that both seismic and GPR surveys be conducted. The use of LiDAR and well logs along with collected seismic and GPR data allowed for the ability to calculate throw along with strike and true dip. This study provides knowledge for the area to benefit both urban planning and future petroleum operations in order to avoid possible hazards, such as cracked foundations, drilling through faults which can cause the casing to collapse as the faults shift, or provide a migration route for hydrocarbons to seep to the surface. Knowledge gained in this study helps us to better understand the geological events that occur in the passive margin along the Gulf Coast.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90182©2013 AAPG/SEG Student Expo, Houston, Texas, September 16-17, 2013