Abstract

The three-dimensional, interwell-scale architecture of a Lower Ordovician Ellenburger coalesced, collapsed-paleocave system was constructed through the integration of ground-penetrating radar (GPR), shallow-core, and outcrop data. The data were collected near Marble Falls in central Texas over an area (∼800 × 1000 m [∼2600 × 3300 ft]) that could cover several oil-well locations (∼160 ac; 0.65 km2) typical of a region such as west Texas. Integration of core-based facies descriptions with GPR-reflection response identified several paleocave facies that can be recognized and mapped with GPR data alone: (1) continuous reflections image the undisturbed strata, (2) relatively continuous reflections (over tens of meters) characterized by faults and folds image the disturbed strata, and (3) chaotic reflections having little to no perceptible continuity image heterogeneous, cave-related brecciated facies recognized in core that cannot be individually resolved with the GPR data. These latter facies include the highly disturbed strata, coarse-clast chaotic breccia, fine-clast chaotic breccia, and sediment fill.

The three-dimensional architecture of the coalesced, collapsed-paleocave system based on core and GPR data indicates that there are trends of brecciated bodies that are as much as 350 m (1100 ft) wide, greater than 1000 m (3300 ft) long, and tens of meters high. These brecciated bodies are coalesced, collapsed paleocaves. Between the brecciated bodies are areas of disturbed and undisturbed host rock that are jointly as much as 200 m (660 ft) wide.

As a cave system is buried, many structural features form by mechanical compaction. These features include folds, sags, and faults. The folds and sags measure from a few meters to several hundred meters wide. The collapse-related faults are numerous and can have several meters of displacement. Most are normal faults, but reverse faults also occur.

You do not currently have access to this article.