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We here consider the petroleum resources only of the off shelf portion of the western North Atlantic Ocean. Very little information is available for this region; off the eastern United States, only four petroleum exploration holes have been drilled in one restricted area seaward of the shelf, off the Baltimore Canyon trough. However, by interpreting seismic reflection profiles and Stratigraphie data from the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) and other wells on the adjacent slope and shelf, we can evaluate the geologic conditions that existed during development of the basin and that might lead to petroleum accumulations.

The wellknown factors that lead to oil and gas accumulations are availability of source beds, adequate maturation, and the presence of reservoir beds and seals configured to create a trap. The western boundary of the area considered in this paper, the present sloperise break, is one that has developed from the interplay of sedimentation and erosion at the continental margin; these processes are affected by variations in margin subsidence, sedi-ment input, oceanic circulation, sea level, and other factors. Thus the sloperise break has migrated over time and is locally underlain by slope and shelf deposits, as well as deepbasin facies. These changes in depositional environments may well have caused juxtaposition of source and reservoir beds with effective seals.

Several papers have been written on the hydrocarbon pros-pects of the (Jansa and MacQueen, 1978; Roberts and Caston, 1975; Dow, 1979; Hedberg, 1976; Mclver, 1975; Schott and others, 1975;

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