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Petroleum in Unconformity Traps: From Kerogen in Truncated Permeable Wedges?

By
John E. Sanders
John E. Sanders
Barnard College, Columbia University New York, New York
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Published:
January 01, 1982

Abstract

The "wedge belts of permeability" that A. I. Levorsen emphasized as being prime targets for petroleum exploration have not become the objects of systematic exploration efforts, possibly because many geologists do not readily understand how petroleum can be found in an angular-unconformity trap that was subaerially eroded. The thesis of this paper is that modern geochemical research about kerogen, mostly isolated from supposed "source-rock" shales, can be applied equally to the kerogen found within permeable formations. If this concept is true, then many of the geologic enigmas associated with angular-unconformity traps can be explained.

Immature kerogens within sands possibly can be subaerially exposed and/or flushed through with groundwater without being significantly altered. Because it does not migrate, solid kerogen within the permeable potential reservoir formation would not be lost updip when the future reservoir-to-be was exposed at the land surface. Moreover, any immature kerogen in the pre-unconformity permeable strata that survived weathering would be available for delayed conversion to petroleum at depth after geothermal heating either during the cycle of subsidence when the covering strata were deposited or later. In the origin of such petroleum, the only migration required is updip within the permeable formation to the sealed unconformity trap—Levorsen's wedge edge.

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Contents

AAPG Memoir

The Deliberate Search for the Subtle Trap

Michel T. Halbouty
Michel T. Halbouty
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Volume
32
ISBN electronic:
9781629811697
Publication date:
January 01, 1982

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