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Book Chapter

Forebulge Migration: A Three-dimensional Flexural Numerical Modeling and Subsurface Study of Southwestern Wyoming

Hongjun Luo
Hongjun Luo
BP Exploration, Chertsey Rd., Sunbury-on-Thames, TW16 7LN, United Kingdom(e-mail:
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Dag Nummedal
Dag Nummedal
Colorado Energy Research Institute, Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois St., Golden, Colorado, 80401, U.S.A. (e-mail:
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January 01, 2013


The recognition of a forebulge in the subsurface is difficult because of its low amplitude and wide extent. It is further complicated by the subsequent tectonic modification (by the Laramide orogeny in this case) that may have overprinted the forebulge with complex younger structural patterns. Three-dimensional (3-D) flexural numerical modeling provides a strong supportive tool to help predict forebulge locations and focus subsurface search on their subtle isopach expression. Based on detailed well-log correlations and good outcrop control, three regional cross sections were established to identify Late Cretaceous forebulges in southwestern Wyoming. Along these sections in the Greater Green River Basin (two east-west and one northwest-southeast), the existence of forebulges was only recognized in the southern section. In response to the progressive eastward movement of the Crawford, early Absaroka, and late Absaroka thrusts, the forebulge migrated eastward to the Moxa Arch, the Rock Springs Uplift, and the Washakie Basin, respectively. The 3-D flexural modeling indicates that the forebulge was limited in its extent only to the southern part of the basin because of the distribution of thrust loads. The forebulge shifted southeastward over time because of the migration of these loads. The 3-D flexural modeling is critical to understanding Late Cretaceous forebulge migration across southwestern Wyoming.

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AAPG Memoir

Tectonics and Sedimentation: Implications for Petroleum Systems

Dengliang Gao
Dengliang Gao
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2013




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