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Cratonic Basins and their Unconventional Resource Potential: Insights, Progress, and Prospects

  • Submission deadline: 26 August 2022
  • Lead Editor: Qinghai Xu, Yangtze University, Wuhan, China
  • Guest Editors:
    • Ren Wang, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China
    • Timothy Lawton, Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA
    • Xiangyang Xie, Department of Geological Sciences, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX, USA
    • Walter L. Manger, Department of Geosciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA

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Cratonic basins are sedimentary basins that are several hundred million years old. They form well within cratonic interiors away from major active deformation belts and subside nonlinearly and episodically at different times and places. Many cratonic basins preserve multiple thick depositional sequences (frequently over three kilometers) bounded by major unconformities, and experience strong alteration and modification over their lengthy depositional histories.

Approximately 25% of the world's conventional oil and gas can be found in cratonic basins. Recent studies confirm that the cratonic basins are also rich in unconventional resources, such as shale oil and gas, tight oil and gas, deep and ultra-deep gas. The main challenges of exploration and production of conventional and unconventional resources include a lack of understanding of the profound interaction among tectonics, base-level change, and sedimentation over the supposedly stable cratonic setting, the distribution and architecture of complicated depositional systems, and the structural overprinting on reservoir quality and properties, which have been proven to be the main controls of occurrence, migration, trapping, and redistribution of hydrocarbons in cratonic basins.

This Special Issue will focus on recent advances, novel insights, and the challenges in interpretation of sedimentary evolution, tectonic controls, depositional settings, diagenetic and thermal history, reservoir heterogeneity, and applications to occurrences of unconventional oil and gas resources in cratonic basins. Field and subsurface case studies, laboratory experiments, and numerical and physical simulation studies related to this topic are also encouraged. We welcome both original research and review articles.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Advances in understanding mechanisms and models of cratonic basins
  • Regional tectonics and sediment dispersal patterns
  • Basin analysis, sequence stratigraphy, and depositional systems
  • New techniques and their implications for source to sink analysis
  • Petroleum systems and sweet-spot prediction
  • Advances in understanding fine-grained sedimentary rocks
  • Diagenesis, reservoir characterization, and modeling
  • Organic geochemistry of oil shale
  • Pore structure characterization and modeling
  • Fracture networks and modeling
  • Evaluation and production of unconventional resources

Papers are published upon acceptance.

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