Skip to Main Content

Heat flow and thermal history of the Anadarko Basin, Oklahoma

Larry S. Carter, Shari A. Kelley, David D. Blackwell and Nancy D. Naeser
Heat flow and thermal history of the Anadarko Basin, Oklahoma
AAPG Bulletin (February 1998) 82 (2): 291-316


New heat-flow values for seven sites in the Anadarko basin, Oklahoma, were determined using high-precision temperature logs and thermal conductivity measurements from nearly 300 core plugs. Three of the sites are on the northern shelf, three sites are in the deep basin, and one site is in the frontal fault zone of the northern Wichita Mountains. The heat flow decreased from 55 to 64 mW/m2 in the north, and from 39 to 54 mW/m2 in the south, due to a decrease in heat generation in the underlying basement rock toward the south. Lateral lithologic changes in the basin, combined with the change in heat flow across the basin, resulted in an unusual pattern of thermal maturity. The vitrinite reflectance values of the Upper Devonian-Lower Mississippian Woodford formation are highest 30-40 km north-northwest of the deepest part of the basin. The offset in highest reflectance values is due to the contrast in thermal conductivity between the Pennsylvanian "granite wash" section adjacent to the Wichita uplift and the Pennsylvanian shale section to the north. The geothermal gradient in the low-conductivity shale section is elevated relative to the geothermal gradient in the high-conductivity "granite wash" section, thus displacing the highest temperatures to the north of the deepest part of the basin. Apatite fission-track, vitrinite reflectance, and heat-flow data were used to constrain regional aspects of the burial history of the Anadarko basin. By combining these data sets, we infer that at least 1.5 km of denudation has occurred at two sites in the deep Anadarko basin since the early to middle Cenozoic (40 plus or minus 10 m.y.). The timing of the onset of denudation in the southern Anadarko basin coincides with the period of late Eocene erosion observed in the southern Rocky Mountains and in the northern Great Plains. Burial history models for two wells from the deep Anadarko basin predict that shales of the Woodford formation passed through the hydrocarbon maturity window by the end of the Permian. The Late Pennsylvanian-Early Permian section in the deep basin moved into the hydrocarbon maturity window during Mesozoic burial of the region. Presently, the depth interval of the main zone of oil maturation (% Ro = 0.7-0.9) is approximately 2800-3800 m in the eastern deep basin and 2200-3000 m in the western deep basin. The greater depth to the top of the oil maturity zone and larger depth range of the zone in the eastern part of the deep basin are due to the lower heat flow associated with more mafic basement toward the east. The burial history model for the northern shelf indicates that the Woodford formation has been in the early oil maturity zone since the Early Permian.

ISSN: 0149-1423
EISSN: 1558-9153
Coden: AABUD2
Serial Title: AAPG Bulletin
Serial Volume: 82
Serial Issue: 2
Title: Heat flow and thermal history of the Anadarko Basin, Oklahoma
Affiliation: Marathon Oil Company, Tyler, TX, United States
Pages: 291-316
Published: 199802
Text Language: English
Publisher: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 89
Accession Number: 1998-022972
Categories: Economic geology, geology of energy sourcesApplied geophysics
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: Includes two appendices
Illustration Description: illus. incl. chart, sect., 3 tables, sketch maps
N34°30'00" - N35°00'00", W99°00'00" - W98°30'00"
Secondary Affiliation: New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM, USA, United StatesSouthern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, USA, United StatesU. S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 199809
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal