The history of oil exploration in a large basin is very much like the history of research in most fields of investigation. A significant discovery is followed by a period of great activity along the trend. Enthusiasm runs high as long as effort is rewarded. But if success tends to diminish, so also does the activity, until some new idea leads to new discovery and the cycle is repeated.
In the history of research into the subject of oil occurrence, the rate of increase of knowledge has fluctuated greatly. Most of our progress has come from reasoning from the facts as found and interpreted in the field. Interpretations of any given set of field facts has often varied widely, however, among geologists. This is particularly true of such vital questions as the following.