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Book Chapter

Outcrops of Turbidite-channel Facies in the Torok Formation: Reservoir Analogs for the Alaska North Slope, USA

By
David W. Houseknecht
David W. Houseknecht
1
U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, USA
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Schenk J. Christopher
Schenk J. Christopher
2
U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2008

Abstract

Outcrops of the Lower Cretaceous (Albian) Torok Formation in the Brooks Range foothills of north-central Alaska expose an exhumed, oil-charged stratigraphic trap in a turbidite-channel system (Figure 1). Although scattered along strike for 21 km (13 mi), these outcrops collectively provide a unique and significant analog for an emerging oil play beneath the Alaska North Slope. Recent discoveries 140 to 180 km (90 to 110 mi) north of these outcrops in channelized turbidites of the Torok Formation (Nanuq Field, approximately 40 million barrels of oil recoverable [MMBO]) and Upper Cretaceous Seabee Formation (Tarn Field, approximately 100 MMBO, and Meltwater Field, approximately 50 MMBO) emphasize the magnitude of potential undiscovered resources in this play and suggest the potential for a prospective fairway that extends between the two areas.

The Torok Formation and overlying Nanushuk Formation (Cretaceous, Albian-Cenomanian) comprise sediment derived from the Brooks Range and deposited in a system that prograded eastward and northeastward across the foreland basin (Figure 3). Torok strata include basin-plain and marine-slope facies, whereas Nanushuk strata include marine-shelf, deltaic, and fluvial facies. The study area is located in the foredeep, where Torok submarine-fan and marine-slope facies were deposited basinward of a north-south-oriented shelf margin characterized by significant mass wasting (slumping and sliding of blocks of strata derived from the outer shelf and upper slope) as indicated by seismic data to the north (Houseknecht and Schenk, 2001).

Three generalized architectural elements are defined in the Torok outcrops. C1 is a basal element, comprising poorly sorted,

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Contents

AAPG Studies in Geology

Atlas of Deep-Water Outcrops

Tor H. Nilsen
Tor H. Nilsen
Desceased
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Roger D. Shew
Roger D. Shew
University of North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
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Gary S. Steffens
Gary S. Steffens
Shell International E&P
Houston, Texas
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Joseph R. J. Studlick
Joseph R. J. Studlick
Maersk Oil America Inc.
Houston, Texas
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Volume
56
ISBN electronic:
9781629810331
Publication date:
January 01, 2008

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