Surface geomorphic features are frequently difficult to relate to potential productive structures, but in the East Texas basin there appears to be a significant correlation between surface features and oil fields.
The surface topography overlying the East Texas basin gives little indication of subsurface structure. However, conspicuous to southeastern Houston County on the southern margin of the East Texas basin, and to a large part of the entire basin, is a series of northwest- and northeast-trending stream and topographic alignments. These mappable linear geomorphic features (termed lineaments) may indicate fracturing, faulting, and jointing, and thus may be a clue to subsurface structure.
The lineaments of southeastern Houston County were mapped and analyzed on a local scale, and those of Houston, Cherokee, Trinity, and Angelina Counties were mapped and analyzed on a more regional scale. Both the local and regional scale lineament analyses indicated preferential orientations of north 30° west and north 30° east. These lineaments are thought to reflect fracturing and faulting although field reconnaissance could not confirm this.
It is suggested that gravity slide of the East Texas basin gulfward from the updip edge of the Louann Salt provided the tensional forces necessary for major lineament formation. However on a more scale there is a correlation between lineaments and productive fields.
Areas of minimum lineament density on the lineament-density contour maps represent subtle subsurface structural highs and, conversely, areas of maximum lineament density on the lineament density contour maps represent subtle subsurface structural lows. Therefore, petroleum potential is generally limited to areas of minimum lineament density.