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Progressive Deformation in the Arbuckle and Wichita Mountains: Implications for Mid-Continent and Resource Plays – A Field Seminar (G083)

  • TypeType: Field
  • TypeDiscipline: Resource Plays, Structural Geology
  • TypeDuration: 4 days

Tutor(s)

Kevin J. Smart, David A. Ferrill, Adam J. Cawood: Southwest Research Institute

Overview

This field seminar will explore natural deformation in Paleozoic rocks in and around the Wichita and Arbuckle uplifts in southern Oklahoma. Investigating mechanical stratigraphy and the regional tectonic setting provides the context for understanding deformation features, such as joints, shear fractures, folds, faults and stylolites. Outcrop observations will be tied to the deformation conditions under which they developed, and related to the subsurface (cores, logs and stress data), to illustrate the critical importance of understanding deformation in the subsurface, including both pre-existing natural deformation and as analogs for deformation produced by induced hydraulic fracturing.

Duration and Logistics

A 4-day field course, comprising a mix of field exercises (85%) and classroom work (15%). The course will start in Lawton, Oklahoma, and end near Ardmore, Oklahoma.

Level and Audience

Advanced. The course is aimed at geoscientists, petrophysicists, reservoir engineers and production engineers working in mechanically layered, deformed rocks in Oklahoma or other relatively gently deformed sedimentary foreland basins. It will be of particular interest to any geoscientists, petrophysicists and engineers working in unconventional reservoirs, including those in the Anadarko Basin.

Exertion Level

This course requires a LOW exertion level. Fieldwork is in southern Oklahoma, where the climate can be variable according to the season. Transportation is by SUVs. Most driving is on black-top roads, and most outcrops are adjacent to roads or within inactive quarries with uneven ground, where long strenuous hikes are not needed to access the exposures.

Objectives

You will learn to:

  1. Identify small-scale deformation features that are common in the SCOOP/STACK plays of the Anadarko basin and other unconventional reservoirs.
  2. Interpret stress conditions and stress evolution from small-scale deformation features.
  3. Characterize mechanical stratigraphy based on lithostratigraphy and rock strength information.
  4. Relate deformation style to tectonic setting of southern Oklahoma.
  5. Assess the role of mechanical stratigraphy, stress conditions and pre-existing deformation features on rock behavior, including fracture prediction in unconventional and conventional reservoirs.
  6. Consider, in general terms, the behavior of lithological units under different well completion strategies.
  7. Evaluate geomechanical issues for common petroleum and unconventional resource applications such as well design, borehole stability and hydraulic fracturing.

Course Content

The course will be primarily field-based with some initial classroom time. The course will explore outcrops in the Wichita and Arbuckle uplifts, and discuss relevance to deformation in and around the Anadarko Basin. The variety of rock types and the locations along the southwestern edge of the Anadarko Basin provide examples of the major tectonic influences and rock deformation responses, including progressive deformation that can inform interpretations of the subsurface hydrocarbon plays.

Draft Itinerary

Day 0

  • Travel to Lawton, Oklahoma.
  • Welcome lecture and safety brief.

Day 1

Field visit: Wichita Mountains

  • Introductory lectures covering basic concepts of faulting, fracturing and mechanical stratigraphy, and regional tectonic setting
  • Field trip to outcrops in and around the Wichita Mountains
  • Return to Lawton, Oklahoma

Day 2

Field visit: Slick Hills

  • Field trip to outcrops in the Slick Hills
  • Continue to Ardmore, Oklahoma

Day 3

Field visit: Arbuckle Mountains

  • Field trip to outcrops of Paleozoic strata in and around the Arbuckle Mountains, including Arbuckle anticline transect
  • Return to Ardmore, Oklahoma

Day 4

Field visit: Arbuckle Mountains

  • Field trip to outcrops of Paleozoic strata in and around the Arbuckle Mountains – explore 3-dimensionality of deformation, stress history and progressive deformation
  • Course wrap-up and departure
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