About 2 years have been spent by several members of a United States Geological Survey party in studying the buried oil- and gas-bearing Bartlesville and Burbank sands in Osage and Kay counties, Oklahoma, and Cowley, Butler, and Greenwood counties, Kansas. This work followed about 212 years study of the Kansas area, made by Bass for the Kansas Geological Survey in cooperation with the United States Geological Survey, the results of which were presented before the Association meeting at Dallas and published in the Bulletin in 1934. The later work has also included an examination of the Bluejacket sandstone, which crops out in northeastern Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas, and certain of the beach deposits on the Atlantic coast and on the Gulf coast of Texas.

Stratigraphic cross sections made from well logs show that the Bartlesville sand is stratigraphically lower than the Burbank sand and that the shoestring sands of Greenwood, Butler, and Cowley counties, Kansas, are equivalent to the sands of the Burbank, South Burbank, and Naval Reserve oil fields of Oklahoma. The Bartlesville and Burbank sands are actually zones composed of numerous lenses of sand that occur within narrowly restricted limits in the Cherokee shale.

The Burbank sand bodies particularly occur in definite systems, called “trends,” made up of lenses that are separated by gaps containing no sand. The individual sand lenses have an offset arrangement within the trends. Similar features are found in the systems of offshore bars on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The shapes in cross section of the shoestring oil-bearing sand bodies are similar to those of offshore bars. The composition and physical characteristics of the oil-bearing Bartlesville and Burbank sands are similar to those of the sands that form the modern offshore bars on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Many modern offshore bars, of which that at Cape Henry, on the Virginia coast, is an example, are made up of a series of overlapping beaches that have been preserved as ridges of sand trending parallel with the coast. These ridges represent lines of beach growth. The sand body of the main Burbank oil field, that of the Stanley stringer on its eastern margin, and the sand body of the South Burbank oil field appear to be characterized by features that may be growth ridges.

The studies indicate that the Bartlesville sand was deposited as a series of offshore bars along the western shore of the Cherokee sea during an early stage of the sea when the western shore migrated to and fro across a narrow strip of country in northeastern Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas. The Burbank sand bodies were deposited much later, after the Cherokee sea had expanded widely to the northwest. The trends of Burbank sand were deposited as offshore bars mainly during the Teeter-Quincy and Sallyards-Lamont stages of the Cherokee sea. The sand bodies of the Burbank and South Burbank oil fields are tentatively assigned to the Teeter-Quincy stage and are believed to have been formed by a series of overlapping beach deposits similar to those that form Cape Henry, Virginia.

It is recommended that, in prospecting for additional shoestring-sand oil fields, drilling sites be selected by projecting the known shoestring-sand trends in approximately straight lines similar to the trends of the systems of offshore bars on our present coasts, and not by meandering lines similar to stream courses. Inasmuch as modern offshore bars and the developed shoestring-sand bodies have an offset or en échelon arrangement within the systems and have gaps separating the individual sand bodies, these features should be expected in the projection of the sand trends into undeveloped territory.

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