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Forest City Basin

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Stratigraphic Traps

Any porous zone, whether it consists of a bed of sandstone or conglomerate or is produced by the weathering of limestone or dolomite, may theoretically constitute a reservoir rock if the conditions of porosity die out up the regional dip. Most of the pre-Pennsylvanian rocks of Kansas are limestones. Their deposition was many times interrupted by exposure, and weathering in varying degree resulted in the development of porosity. The exposure at times was brief but at others it was long enough to develop considerable relief. At times erosion proceeded to peneplanation. In most areas, however, limestone was deposited upon the weathered limestone surface, and the calcareous deposits appear to have recemented the superficial porous zones and also cemented the residual debris formed by weathering. For this reason most of the weathered zones beneath unconformities are not now conspicuously porous unless overlain by shale or sandstone. In the McLouth field, however, porosity has been preserved in a weathered dolomite zone of middle Mississippian age unconformably overlain by limestone. This zone of weathering yields oil in anticlinal areas; and, as the zone of porosity appears to have been nearly flat, deformation has affected it in the same way as deposits, such as sandstone, which were deposited with original porosity. Where weathered zones in limestone are overlain by shale or sand, as at the base of the Pennsylvanian rocks and at the base of the Chattanooga shale, or where solution zones occur at former groundwater levels below the top of the limestone, the openings in the limestone have in general not been closed by cementation. They thus provide reservoir rocks in the Devonian, Kimmswick (Viola) , and Arbuckle limestones, all of which, though of varied productivity, have yielded oil under favorable structural conditions. Experience has shown that oil has been trapped beneath anticlines in these porous zones in much the same way as in porous sedimentary rocks. There is no good reason why porous zones should not produce oil locally on monoclinal folds where porosity decreases up dip, but the occurrence of oil under such conditions seems unpredictable.

Conditions for the formation of stratigraphic traps might be expected at the beveled edges of sandstone beds where the rocks have been tilted and peneplaned. The beveling of the sandstone, however, involves also the beveling and weathering of the adjacent limestones. In consequence, although the beveled surface of the sandstone may be sealed above by shale, the weathered limestone on the peneplaned surface may form a porous zone continuous with the wedge end of the sandstone. The lateral continuity of porosity from the sandstone into the surface of the limestone in most places, therefore, may prevent the sealing of the sandstone necessary to the formation of a stratigraphic trap. The beveled edge of the St. Peter sandstone on the north flank of the Chautauqua arch is an example. Here the porosity of the weathered Ordovician rocks adjoining the St. Peter on the beveled surface probably leaves the way open for lateral escape. Under these conditions suitable folding, though not necessarily anticlinal, appears to be necessary to effect a trap.

The sandstone found at the base of the Devonian in northeastern Kansas may have been deposited in some places under conditions favorable to the formation of a stratigraphic trap. This sandstone was deposited at the unconformable contact of the Devonian limestone on the Silurian dolomite. Although the sandstone is calcareous in most places, it appears to be porous enough in some wells in Douglas, Johnson, and Jefferson counties to be a potential reservoir rock under favorable stratigraphic or structural conditions.

On the whole, conditions do not appear to be very favorable to the formation of stratigraphic traps along the beveled edges of pre-Chattanooga rocks without the addition of favorable structural conditions.

The lenticular character of sandstone beds in the lower Pennsylvanian is well known. Many oil and gas pools have been found in eastern Kansas in stratigraphic traps in the lower Pennsylvanian in lenticular bodies of sandstone, and in sandstone grading up into impervious shale.

References

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Kansas Geological Survey, Forest City Basin
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