Fracture Analysis of Circum-Bighorn Basin Anticlines, Wyoming-Montana
Earth Science, Montana State University Bozeman, Bozeman, MT, USA
The Bighorn Basin, a Laramide intermontane basin in the Rocky Mountain foreland province, has been a productive hydrocarbon producing basin since the late 18th century. Previous detailed studies on individual anticlines within the basin provide local data on confined strain regimes, fracture timing and fluid migration based on fracture and thin section analysis.
The purpose of this research is to provide a basin-wide analysis of fractures within circum-basin anticlines to define specific structural domains displaying systematic variations in fracture orientation due to differences in local strain accommodation during the Laramide orogeny. This intermediate-scale research is important to gain an understanding how different areas within the basin accommodated strain in an overall transpressive environment. Data collection and processing will include: 1) preliminary Google Earth Pro lineament analysis on 16 anticlines with subsequent Geographic Information System visualization and analysis 2) outcrop fracture analysis of the anticlines utilizing Midland Valley FieldMove software 3) consolidation of both lineaments and fractures in GIS for statistical analysis and 4) construction of cross sections across 4-6 anticlines using Midland Valley 2D Move.
I anticipate to place the 16 studied anticlines into specific tectonic domains based on their fracture orientations and relate them to surrounding tectonic structures (e.g. Nye-Bowler and Owl Creek accommodation zones and Bighorn Mountain uplift). From these structural domains inferences can be drawn for fluid migration and cumulative hydrocarbon production in each domain. This basin-wide structural classification can also be applied to other producing Laramide basins and provide more information on the occurrence of hydrocarbons.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90199 © 2014 AAPG Foundation 2014 Grants-in-Aid Projects