Abstract

Geochemical and rock magnetic studies, undertaken to determine the causes of magnetic anomalies over Cement oil field (Anadarko basin, Oklahoma), Simpson oil field (North Slope basin, Alaska), and the Wyoming-Idaho-Utah thrust belt, have revealed different magnetic sources developed under different sedimentologic, geochemical, and structural settings.At Cement, ferrimagnetic pyrrhotite (Fe 7 S 8 ), typically intergrown with more abundant, nonmagnetic pyrite (FeS 2 ), formed as a result of hydrocarbon seepage. Sulfur isotopic data indicate that sulfur in the Fe-S minerals was probably derived from two different sources: (1) isotopically heavy, thermochemical H 2 S in petroleum, and (2) isotopically light H 2 S generated by sulfate-reducing bacteria that derived metabolic energy from leaking hydrocarbons or organic compounds derived from hydrocarbons. Although pyrrhotite may make a minor contribution to the reported total magnetic field anomalies at Cement, the measured anomalies are probably mostly caused by man-made features such as buried well casings and pipelines. Magnetite, found in well cuttings from Cement and previously considered the source of the anomalies, is contamination from drilling.At Simpson, ferrimagnetic greigite (Fe 3 S 4 ) is concentrated locally in Upper Cretaceous beds. A preliminary geochemical study reveals a complicated picture in which early diagenetic chemical and mineralogic changes are variably overprinted by later epigenetic alterations, perhaps related to hydrocarbon seepage. The greigite probably formed at different times from sulfate reduction by bacteria that used either organic compounds derived from hydrocarbons or detrital organic matter, or both, as food sources. Magnetic-property studies suggest the natural remanent magnetization of greigite-bearing rocks may contribute to the magnetic anomalies.In the thrust belt, the Middle Jurassic Preuss Sandstone has magnetizations as much as 0.76 A/m (average 0.14 A/m) west of the Absaroka fault where aeromagnetic anomalies locally correspond to exposures of the Preuss and much lower magnetizations (average 0.44 X 10 (super -2) A/m) east of the Absaroka fault. The magnetization is carried by rounded titanium-bearing detrital magnetite, commonly concentrated along heavy-mineral laminations. Carbon isotopic compositions of calcite cement (-2.4 to +1.5 per mil) reflect an absence of organic carbon in the calcite and thus suggest that hydrocarbon had no role in the preservation of the detrital magnetite.Our results show that abiologic and biologic mechanisms can generate different magnetic sulfide minerals in zones of sulfidic hydrocarbon seepage. More commonly, sulfidic seepage could either diminish magnetization by replacement of detrital magnetic minerals with nonmagnetic sulfide minerals, or it would have no effect on magnetization if such detrital minerals were originally absent. An important negative result is the absence of abundant secondary (diagenetic) magnetite in the seepage environments. Although secondary magnetite occurs in some biodegraded crude oils, concentrations of such magnetite capable of producing aeromagnetic anomalies have not been documented.

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