AAPG Foundation 2019 Grants-in-Aid Projects

Datapages, Inc.Print this page

Quantification of sedimentation patterns in late Paleozoic mixed deep-water carbonate and siliciclastic deposits, Argus Mountains, east-central California, USA


The Pennsylvanian-Permian Darwin Basin strata in the Argus Mountains of east-central California represent mixed basinal carbonate and siliciclastic strata. Deposition occurred during periods of active tectonism from the Antler Orogeny, followed by basin and range deformation in the Cenozoic. Large exposures of deep-water deposits up to 7 kilometers in length and 100’s-1000 meters thick provide excellent lateral and vertical views of the system. Detailed drone photogrammetry and high-resolution Gigapan photography along with multiple measured sections will allow characterization of sediment gravity flows, detailed identification of lateral changes in facies, and quantification of vertical and lateral changes over the extent of the outcrops. Initial analysis identified a transition from carbonate-dominated Pennsylvanian strata to Permian deposits with siliciclastic input increasing vertically through the section. Both carbonate and siliciclastic deposits exhibit a range of sediment gravity flows including debrites and high- to low-density turbidites. Continued research will assess lateral variability in event beds, lateral transitions and geometries of individual packages, and the influence of underlying stratigraphy on overlying depositional geometries. Multiple conventional and unconventional reservoirs exist in similar settings, most notably the Wolfcamp and Bone Spring Formations of the Permian Basin in West Texas and southeast New Mexico. This study may increase predictability of geometries and variability in similar systems, aiding in characterizing lateral changes and increasing predictability in reservoir distribution.