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Revised Stratigraphic Synthesis of the Baltimore Canyon Trough: Implications for Reservoir Identification and Analysis


We synthesized geological (well logs, biostratigraphy, limited core) and geophysical (multichannel seismic profiles, velocity) data from the Baltimore Canyon Trough (United States Mid-Atlantic Margin), tracing its evolution from Late Triassic-earliest Jurassic rifting through to a “passive” continental margin. This region, from the fall-line in Virginia to New York to the Continental Rise, is among the world’s most thoroughly studied passive margins by academic researchers and has been of interest to the exploration industry in the 1970’s to 1980’s. We use and update legacy data to evaluate the coupled development of the margin and its stratigraphy, focusing on quantifying reservoirs and seals for carbon storage and sea-level studies. Significant sea-level advances have been made by coring and logging the onshore coastal plain by ODP Legs 150X and 174AX and, more recently, the middle continental shelf by IODP Expedition 313. We have evaluated industry wells drilled on the middle to outer-continental shelf to better delineate porous Cretaceous strata and evaluate the potential for sequestration of supercritical CO2. Knowledge of the early structural development of the basin is not constrained by drilling results and contains large uncertainties (20-30 Myr) in the age of rift onset and the initiation of seafloor spreading. However, recent studies place firmer constraints on the rift-drift transition. Until now, these advances have not been considered in a broader, more unified context. We attempt to fill gaps with process-based interpolations between data points, while highlighting unresolved questions. We evaluate spatial facies variation across the margin have been evaluated, linking fluvial systems updip with deltaic and shelfal systems downdip that have clear implications for reservoir identification. For example, we correlate the mid-Cretaceous onshore Potomac Group/Formation with the offshore Logan Canyon Formation, estimating reservoir capacity using legacy log and seismic data combined with new porosity and permeability measurements.

This work is supported by U.S. Department of Energy-National Energy Technology Laboratory Agreement Nos. DE-FC26-0NT42589 and DE-FE0026087.