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Stratigraphic and Combination Traps Within a Seismic Sequence Framework, Miocene Stevens Turbidites, Bakersfield Arch, California

James S. Hewlett
James S. Hewlett
Vastar Resources Inc. Houston, Texas U.S.A.
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Douglas W. Jordan
Douglas W. Jordan
ARCO International Oil and Gas Company Plano, Texas U.S.A.
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January 01, 1993


The expression of stratigraphic and combination traps in upper Miocene Stevens turbidite sandstones of the Bakersfield arch, southern San Joaquin Valley, California, can be placed within a depositional sequence framework by integrating seismic, wireline-log, and core data. Insights from this study should reduce exploration risks in this mature basin and serve as exploration analogs in similar sand-rich turbidite systems globally.

Stevens sandstones occur as turbidites within the lowstand systems tracts of three depositional sequences (Coulter, Gosford, and Bellevue) that were deposited in a narrow, deep-water forearc basin. Regional marine-condensed sections containing siliceous shale and cherts separate the lowstand turbidite systems. Turbidites comprising the oldest (Coulter) system were transported by sediment gravity flows through distinct canyons on a sloping deep-water ramp, whereas the stratigraphically younger Gosford and Bellevue turbidite systems were deposited by gravity flows originating on high-relief deltaic slopes. The turbidite systems contain sandy, high-density (primarily) and low-density turbidite and debris-flow deposits in confined and unconfined complexes. Preexisting structural highs and depositional topography influenced the stacking geometries of the turbidite systems.

Four principal stratigraphic and combination stratigraphic/structural trap types in the Stevens turbidites are recognized: (1) permeability (facies) changes from proximal, thick, coarse-grained sandstones to distal, thin, fine-grained, interbedded sandstones and shales that occur on anticlinal flanks and account for the largest accumulations (up to 60 MMBOE); (2) channelized turbidite sandstones that pinch out against structural highs and contain reserves up to tens of MMBOE; (3) numerous small traps (<10 MMBOE) formed by compactional, low-relief, four-way structural closures; and (4) pinch-out of channelized, gully-fill turbidite sandstones within the less-explored middle and lower deltaic slopes of the Santa Margarita Formation.

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Figures & Tables


AAPG Memoir

Siliciclastic Sequence Stratigraphy: Recent Developments and Applications

Paul Weimer
Paul Weimer
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Henry Posamentier
Henry Posamentier
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
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Publication date:
January 01, 1993




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