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Book Chapter

Petroleum Potential of Southwest New Mexico and South Arizona

Frank E. Kottlowski
Frank E. Kottlowski
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January 01, 1971


Possible future petroleum provinces in southwestern New Mexico and southern Arizona are: (1) Tularosa Valley and Jornada del Muerto basins, where they include parts of the late Paleozoic Orogrande basin in western Otero, eastern Dona Ana, and eastern Sierra Counties; (2) Paleozoic Pedregosa basin of southern Hidalgo and southeastern Cochise Counties (and adjacent parts of Chihuahua in Mexico); (3) Estancia basin in central Torrance County; (4) south flanks of the Zuni Mountains in Valencia, northwestern Socorro, and northern Catron Counties; and (5) small buried Pennsylvanian basins, such as the Lucero basin in eastern Valencia and northwestern Socorro Counties and the San Mateo basin in southwestern Socorro County.

Paleozoic beds with petroleum potential that were deposited in the Pedregosa basin area in southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico consisted of more than 4,800 cu mi (20,000 cu km); the original Paleozoic section in the Orogrande basin consisted of about 7,200 cu mi (30,000 cu km) of marine carbonate rocks and sandstone-shale beds.

Shoreline and nearshore sandstone lenses, algal reef mounds, and shelf-edge bioclastic carbonate banks of Pennsylvanian and Early Permian age, associated with nearby black, organic-rich basinal facies, are primary petroleum targets of the late Paleozoic basin areas, such as the Pedregosa and Orogrande basins, which are similar to the petroliferous Permian basin. Porous dolomite in Leonardian and younger Permian carbonate rocks offers porosity traps in sequences rich in organic materials.

The thick Lower Cretaceous sequence in the Pedregosa region contains sandstone wedges, coralline reefs, and bioclastic banks which all are possible reservoirs. Ordovician and Silurian dolomite beds, especially where overlain by truncating black, shaly Devonian strata, are possible stratigraphic-trap reservoirs, as are the locally porous, biohermal, "crinoidal-hash" limestone beds of the Mississippian.

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AAPG Memoir

Future Petroleum Provinces of the United States—Their Geology and Potential, Volumes 1 & 2

Ira H. Cram
Ira H. Cram
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 1971




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