Oil reservoirs in foreland basins charged by thrustbelt source rocks: insights from numerical stress modelling and geometric balancing in the West Carpathians
Michal Nemčok, Andreas Henk, 2006. "Oil reservoirs in foreland basins charged by thrustbelt source rocks: insights from numerical stress modelling and geometric balancing in the West Carpathians", Analogue and Numerical Modelling of Crustal-Scale Processes, S. J. H. Buiter, G. Schreurs
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The West Carpathian thrustbelt advanced northeastwards over the European Platform. Its thrust sheets comprise sediments of the Early Cretaceous rifts that evolved on a passive margin of the European Platform, the Late Cretaceous–Paleocene basins formed by rift inversion, and the Eocene-Oligocene flexural basin. Geochemical analyses established a clear link between pooled oils in the foreland and the Oligocene Menilite Formation inside the thrustbelt. In order to understand the driving forces for this oil migration scenario, finite-element models of fault-propagation and fold-bend folds are used to study the mean stress distribution in the thrust sheets and the foreland. Mean stress has a profound control on the pore fluid pressure through the relationship affected by sediment porosity, and sediment skeleton and fluid compressibilities. Modelling results suggest that only fault-propagation folds are capable of generating foreland-directed mean stress gradients as they are characterized by a large foreland area of decreased mean stress, by coupled increased/decreased mean stress areas on advancing/receding sides of the ramp tip, and an overall mean stress decrease inside the thrust sheet in the direction towards the foreland. This interpretation is in accordance with the dominant fold-and-thrust style in the Western Carpathians inferred from balanced cross-section restoration. It shows that frontal fault-propagation folding was active during the late Oligocene–Early Miocene, providing an effective tectonic driving force for hydrocarbon migration from source rocks inside the thrustbelt towards reservoirs in the foreland.