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Dakota (Cretaceous) Core from Cheyenne County

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Since discovery of oil in Cretaceous beds in the Denver Basin in 1949, there have been intensive efforts to locate additional producing areas in southwestern Nebraska and eastern Colorado. Although northwestern Kansas, including Cheyenne County, may be regarded as part of the Denver Basin petroleum province, little attention has been given to rocks of Mesozoic age, even the Cretaceous, in the state. Developments have progressed, however, to the extent that the easternmost fields in the Denver Basin are about 50 miles from the Kansas border; major oil and gas fields are no more than 80 miles west of the state line (Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, 1954). It seems feasible that petroleum reserves may be found in similar rocks in Kansas (Merriam, 1958). Because little information is available concerning Cretaceous rocks between the outcrop area on the east and densely drilled areas in the Denver Basin on the west, the core taken from the Guy F. Atkinson No. 1 Beaumeister well, which is about half way between the two areas, should merit special consideration at this time. Because of paucity of information, it is impossible to make comparisons or detailed correlations; thus conclusions must be tentative.

The dry wildcat test from which the core was taken, the Guy F. Atkinson No. 1 Beaumeister in the SE SE NE sec. 31, T. 2 S., R. 39 W., was started in April 1955 and completed in May 1955 at a total depth of 3,010 feet measured from an altitude of 3,266 feet (RB) above sea level. No tops or shows were reported on the scout ticket. No electric or radioactivity log was run, but samples are available. Core was taken from Cretaceous rocks between depths of 1,997 and 2,484 feet. Additional core was taken from the Morrison Formation (Jurassic), but that core is not discussed here.

In addition to the No. 1 Beaumeister well, only nine other tests had been drilled in the county prior to December 1957.* A summary of information concerning these wells is presented in Table 1. With the exception of the Ben. F. Brack No. 1 "B" Judy, which produced a small amount of oil from the Marmaton (Pennsylvanian) before being abandoned, all tests have been dry. Two other wells besides the Guy F. Atkinson No. 1 Beaumeister reported testing Cretaceous rocks. The Texas Company No. 1 Walz (SW NW NE sec. 3, T. 5 S., R. 42 W.) ran a drill-stem test at a depth of 2,188 to 2,200 feet, in the lower part of the Graneros Shale, for one hour and recovered 30 feet of watery drill mud. Bottom hole pressure was 415 pounds. The Ben F. Brack No. 2 Judy (NE NE NE sec. 35, T. 1 S., R. 39 W.) tested the upper part of the Dakota at a depth of 2,001 to 2,074 feet for one-half hour and recovered 900 feet of fresh water. Bottom hole pressure was 440 pounds. Another drill-stem test in the Dakota at 2,081 to 2,090 feet, tool open for one-half hour, returned a strong blow, and 290 feet of fresh water was recovered.

[Note: Since this report was prepared, additional wells have been drilled in Cheyenne County, principally as a result of the discovery by Phillips Petroleum Company of the Llanos field in adjacent Sherman County. By the end of 1958 four tests were completed and three were drilling in Cheyenne County. Two other locations were announced, but later abandoned.
The completed wells are: Westheimer and Neustadt No. 1 Glasco (cen. SE SE. sec. 10, T. 1 S., R. 38 W., elev. 3,087 feet., T.D. 4,976 ft.), Phillips No. 1 St. Francis (cen. NE. SW sec. 15, T. 4 S., R. 39 W., elev. 3,500 ft., T.D. 5,520 ft.), Lawton No. 1 Johnson (cen. NW SW sec. 2, T. 4 S., R. 41 W., elev. 3,472 ft., T. D. 5,397 ft.), and Jackson, Shear, and Parker No. 1 Eggers (NW NW SW sec. 23, T. 5 S., R. 37 W., elev. 3,333 ft., T. D. 5,210 ft.). None of these wells reported testing Cretaceous rocks; the Phillips No. 1 St. Francis was a stratigraphic test and no information was released immediately.
The three wells drilling at the end of 1958 were: Phillips No. 1699 Evergreen (cen. SW NE sec. 16, T. 2 S., R. 37 W.), another stratigraphic test; Lawton No. 1 Rueb (cen. SE NE sec. 13, T. 3 S., R. 42 W., elev. 3,640 ft., T. D. 5,512 ft.) testing zones in the Pennsylvanian, and Atomic No. 1 Mundhenke (cen. NE SE sec. 18, T. 4 S., R. 39 W., elev. 3,524 ft.) drilling at a depth of 4,567 feet.
The Lawton No. 1 Rueb well may discover the first commercial production in Cheyenne County, as tests have indicated some oil in Pennsylvanian rocks, probably Lansing-Kansas City.]

Table 1--Summary of oil and gas tests drilled in Cheyenne County, Kansas.

Well Location Surface
Lansing Mississippian Arbuckle Precambrian
Brack 1 "B" Judy NW SE NW 26-1-39W 3,123 5-21-1951 5,142 4,180 4,855 5,045 5,139
Brack 2 Judy NE NE NE 35-1-39W 3,123 3-21-1952 4,963 4,149 4,854    
Ohio 1 Rose NE NE NE 35-1-40W 3,305 12-17-1951 5,270   5,042 5,228  
Deep Rock 1 Clark SW SW SW 23-1-42W 3,456 7-25-1952 5,632 4,586 5,332 5,403 5,565
Atkinson 1 Beaumeister SE SE NE 31-2-39W 3,266 5-10-1955 3,010        
Hammer 1 Beaumeister SW SW NW 32-2-39W 3,285 9-7-1954 4,720 3,770 4,510    
Service 1 Beeson NE NE NW 8-3-38W 3,510 3-31-1952 5,392 4,488 5,189 5,375  
Falcon-Seaboard 1 Zweygardt SE SE SW 1-3-41 W 3,526 2-18-1955 5,449 4,495 5,173 5,339  
Carle and Ungerman 1 Martin SE SE SE 10-4-41 W 3,388 6-18-1952 3,075        
Texas 1 Walz SW NW NE 3-5-42W 3,547 11-8-1952 5,387 4,421 5,041 5,218  

Although many wells have reported uphole shows of oil or gas, the only production recorded in Kansas from beds of Mesozoic age was gas from the Goodland field, in Sherman County. Gas was produced for a short time from the basal part of the Pierre Shale and upper part of the Niobrara Formation of Cretaceous age at a depth of about 1,000 feet. Gas also was reported in the. Niobrara Formation in the now abandoned Wray field just across the Kansas state line in Yuma County, Colorado. The amount of petroleum so far found in Kansas in rocks of Mesozoic age has been disappointing, however.


We thank the Guy F. Atkinson Company, James D. Bishop, Chief Geologist, for making the core and samples available to the Survey for study. In addition to the core, information obtained from many core analyses, a drilling-time log, and the original sample log were placed at our disposal. The core and samples are being kept by the State Geological Survey at Lawrence for future reference. William A. Cobban of the United States Geological Survey identified the invertebrate megafossils; Richard H. Benson of the University of Kansas checked identifications of the microfossils. The shale samples for micropaleontologic studies were prepared by Glen L. Foster.

Tectonic Environment

By Daniel F. Merriam

The Hugoton Embayment, which is a large shelflike extension of the Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma, developed in western Kansas, eastern Colorado, arid northern Oklahoma during the Paleozoic Era. The embayment is a major structure formed by a series of epeirogenic movements of differential downwarping of the embayment and uparching of marginal areas. The eastern edge of the structure is bounded by the Pratt Anticline, Central Kansas Uplift, and Cambridge Arch. The western limit is formed by the Las Animas Arch in Colorado. The embayment plunges southward, and sediments thicken both toward the axis and southward into the Anadarko Basin. Early history of the Hugoton Embayment is closely associated with development of the Anadarko Basin. During late Pennsylvanian-early Permian time, the Oakley Anticline, an elongate southward-plunging structure, began to develop structurally, and by the end of the Paleozoic it divided the northern part of the embayment into two smaller basinal areas.

In Mesozoic time, the Western Kansas Basin developed in the area of the Hugoton Embayment and became closely associated with the Denver Basin located west and northwest of Kansas in Colorado. Post-Paleozoic structural movement consisted of epeirogenic movement in response to tectonic activity in the Denver Basin and surrounding areas. Evidence for structural movement during the Triassic is meager; it is possible that some structural adjustment occurred along the Oakley Anticline at this time. During Jurassic time, the area was tilted northwestward toward the Denver Basin. Before deposition of Lower Cretaceous sediments, the area possibly was tilted slightly southward.

Little structural movement actually took place during Cretaceous time except for formation of a marginal syncline along the eastern flank of the Las Animas Arch in western Gove County and eastern Thomas County. This syncline developed on the earlier Oakley Anticline and almost completely destroyed it (Lee and Merriam, 1954). Slight movement occurred on the Cambridge Arch along the eastern margin of the basin. Differential movement continued until some time after deposition of Niobrara sediments, possibly until the end of the Cretaceous, when sediments of the area were tilted northwestward toward the Denver Basin and possibly slightly folded. These movements did not alter the general shape of the older Hugoton Embayment, however.

After deposition of the Ogallala Formation (Pliocene), the area was tilted eastward (Merriam and Frye, 1954). This structural movement concluded development of western Kansas and brought beds into their present position.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web July 27, 2017; originally published April 15, 1959.
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