An analysis of 31 whole cores (∼1600 ft, ∼490 m) and closely spaced wireline logs (∼500 wells) penetrating the Lower Cretaceous (Cenomanian) lower Woodbine Group in the mature East Texas field and adjacent areas indicates that depositional origins and complexity of the sandstone-body architecture in the field vary from those inferred from previous studies. Heterogeneity in the lower Woodbine Group is controlled by highstand, fluvial-dominated deltaic depositional architecture, with dip-elongate distributary-channel sandstones pinching out over short distances (typically <500 ft [<150 m]) into delta-plain and interdistributary-bay siltstones and mudstones. This highstand section is truncated in the north and west parts of the field by a thick (maximum of 140 ft [43 m]) lowstand, incised-valley-fill succession composed of multistoried, coarse-gravel conglomerate and coarse sandstone beds of bed-load fluvial systems. In some areas of the field, this valley fill directly overlies distal-delta-front deposits, recording a fall in relative sea level of at least 215 ft (65 m).
Correlation with the Woodbine succession in the East Texas Basin indicates that these highstand and lowstand deposits occur in the basal three fourth-order sequences of the unit, which comprises a maximum of 14 such cycles. Previous studies of the Woodbine Group have inferred meanderbelt sandstones flanked by coeval flood-plain mudstones and well-connected, laterally continuous sheet sandstones of wave-dominated deltaic and barrier-strand-plain settings. This model is inappropriate, and a full assessment of reservoir compartmentalization, fluid flow, and unswept mobile oil in East Texas field should include the highstand, fluvial-dominated deltaic and lowstand valley-fill sandstone-body architecture.