Exploration in the Raton basin has delineated complex mountain-front structure in the asymmetric basin, and defined possible basin-centered gas. Exploration has included subsurface and surface geology, remote sensing, and seismic reflection.

The Raton basin is a north-south-trending structural basin straddling the Colorado-New Mexico boundary. It is bounded on the west by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, on the north and northeast by the Wet Mountains and Apishapa arch, and the Sierra Grande uplift on the south and southeast. The basin is asymmetric with transcurrent faulting and thrusting associated with the steeper western flank of the basin. Rocks range from Devonian-Mississippian overlying Precambrian basement to Miocene volcanics associated with the Spanish Peaks. Principal targets include the Entrada, Dakota, Codell, and Trinidad Sandstones and the Purgatoire and Raton Formations.

Seismic data include explosive and Vibroseis data. Data quality is good in the basin center and is fair in the thrusted areas. Correlations are difficult from line to line. However, a strike line in the disturbed area would probably be more disrupted by out-of-the-plane reflections than the dip lines would be. Significant stratigraphic changes are seen in both the Trinidad and Dakota intervals.

Integrated seismic and geological studies are keys to exploration in the basin. Subsequent work will rely heavily on improved seismic information.

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