Abstract

Aeromagnetic anomalies at Cement oil field (Anadarko basin, Oklahoma) have been attributed to authigenic magnetite. The following characteristics of the magnetite, however, indicate that it is contamination introduced by drilling: (1) occurrence as sharp angular blades and as spheres, commonly with metallographic textures typical of industrial alloys and with associated steel and wustite (FeO); (2) presence only in well cuttings and absence from core and quarry samples; and (3) lack of association with detrital framework grains or with authigenic carbonate and sulfide minerals.

Ferrimagnetic pyrrhotite occurs in well cuttings, cores, and quarry samples at Cement and is a possible natural source of the magnetic anomalies. Pyrrhotite, which is intergrown with more abundant FeS2 minerals, formed as a result of hydrocarbon seepage. Pyrrhotite is confined to beds above oil and gas reservoirs. These beds, which lack detrital organic matter, contain higher mineral sulfide and lower mineral sulfate sulfur (1.7 and 0.1 wt %, respectively) than do correlative beds off the field (0.2 and 1.1 wt %, respectively). In the field, isotopic values of sulfide S show a systematic decrease upward through the Permian section from positive values (maximum, +12 per mil at ∼610-760 m depth) to negative values (-1 to -11 per mil between 32 and 230 m; -26 to -30 per mil at the surface). Geochemical results, together with time-temperature data derived from burial curves, limit the major sources of the sulfide in the Fe-S minerals to two possibilities. Isotopically heavy sulfide was generated either inorganically at temperatures >∼90 °C in beds beneath Permian beds, or by bacterial sulfate reduction at temperatures <∼60 °C in Permian strata. If the latter, microbial sulfate reduction occurred under sulfate-limited conditions. The isotopically light sulfide occurring in minerals near the present surface is attributed to bacterial reduction of sulfate. Sulfate-reducing bacteria derived metabolic energy from leaking hydrocarbons and associated organic compounds.

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