Petrography and characterization of microbial carbonates and associated facies from modern Great Salt Lake and Uinta Basin’s Eocene Green River Formation in Utah, USA
Thomas C. Chidsey, Jr, Michael D. Vanden Berg, David E. Eby, 2015. "Petrography and characterization of microbial carbonates and associated facies from modern Great Salt Lake and Uinta Basin’s Eocene Green River Formation in Utah, USA", Microbial Carbonates in Space and Time: Implications for Global Exploration and Production, D. W. J. Bosence, K. A. Gibbons, D. P. Le Heron, W. A. Morgan, T. Pritchard, B. A. Vining
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Utah contains unique analogues of microbial hydrocarbon reservoirs in the modern Great Salt Lake and the lacustrine Eocene Green River Formation within the Uinta Basin. Characteristics of both lake environments include shallow-water, ramp margins that are susceptible to rapid widespread shoreline changes, as well as comparable water chemistry and temperature that were ideal for microbial growth and formation/deposition of associated carbonate grains. Thus, microbialites in Great Salt Lake and cores from the Green River Formation exhibit similarities in terms of microbial textures and fabrics. A detailed petrographic analysis provides unique insights into these modern and ancient deposits that can be used to determine reservoir characteristics in other microbial carbonate petroleum plays.
Great Salt Lake is a hypersaline lake and carbonate ‘factory’, containing actively forming microbial mats, stromatolites, thrombolites and associated carbonate grains. Open constructional pores are common within a spectrum of microbial structures. Green River Formation cores display excellent examples of stromatolites and thrombolites that contain primary megascopic pore and microporosity, as well as carbonate grainstones composed of ooids, peloids and skeletal material with abundant interparticle and intraparticle porosity. West Willow Creek oil field produces from a Green River microbial buildup/mound, a feature not currently recognized in Great Salt Lake.
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Microbial carbonates (microbialites) are remarkable sedimentary deposits. They have the longest geological range of any type of biogenic limestones, form in the greatest range of different sedimentary environments, oxygenated the Earth’s atmosphere and produce and, furthermore, store large volumes of hydrocarbons. This Special Publication provides significant contributions at a pivotal time in our understanding of microbial carbonates when their economic importance has become established and the results of many research programmes are coming to fruition.
It is the first book to focus on the economic aspects of microbialites and in particular the giant pre-salt discoveries offshore Brazil. The volume contains papers on the processes involved in the formation of both ancient and modern microbialites and the diversity of style in microbial carbonate build-ups. Structures and fabrics from both marine and non-marine settings are discussed from throughout the geological record.