High resolution stratigraphy and facies architecture of the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Turonian) Eagle Ford group, Central Texas
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Heightened industry focus on the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Turonian) Eagle Ford has resulted from recent discoveries of producible unconventional petroleum resource in this emerging play. However, little has been published on the facies and facies variabilities within this mixed carbonate-clastic mudrock system. This rock-based study is fundamental to understanding the controls, types, and scales of inherent facies variabilities, which have implications for enhanced comprehension of the Eagle Ford and other mixed carbonate-clastic mudrock systems worldwide. This study utilizes 8 cores and 2 outcrops with a total interval equaling 480 feet and is enhanced by synthesis of thin section, XRD, XRF, isotope, rock eval/TOC, and wireline log data. Central Texas Eagle Ford facies include 1) massive argillaceous mudrock, 2) massive argillaceous foraminiferal mudrock, 3) laminated argillaceous foraminiferal mudrock, 4) laminated foraminiferal wackestone, 5) cross-laminated foraminiferal packstone/grainstone, 6) massive bentonitic claystone, and 7) nodular foraminiferal packstone/grainstone. High degrees of facies variability are observed even at small scales (50 ft) within the Eagle Ford system and are characterized by pinching and swelling of units, lateral facies changes, truncations, and locally restricted units. Facies variability is attributed to erosional scouring, productivity blooms, bottom current reworking, and bioturbation. At the 10-mile well spacing scale and greater, the data significantly overestimates intra-formational facies continuity but is successful in defining the following four-fold stratigraphy: The basal Pepper Shale is an argillaceous, moderate TOC, high CGR and GR mudrock. The Waller Member is a newly designated name used in this study for an argillaceous and foraminiferal, high TOC, massive mudrock with a generally moderate CGR and GR profile. The Bouldin Member is a high energy, carbonate-rich (foraminiferal), low TOC, low and variable CGR but high GR zone. Finally, the South Bosque Formation is an argillaceous and foraminiferal, moderate TOC, massive and laminated mudrock with a moderate CGR and GR signature. GR logs alone are inadequate for determination of facies, TOC content, depositional environment, and sequence stratigraphic implications. Using integrated lithologic, isotopic, and wireline log data, cored wells in the study area are correlated across the San Marcos Arch. Geochemical proxies (enrichment in Mo, Mn, U, and V/Cr) indicate that maximum basin restriction occurred during deposition of the Bouldin Member. Bottom current activity influenced depositional processes and carbonate sediment input was driven by water column productivity. These primary controls on Eagle Ford stratigraphy and character are independent from eustatic fluctuation, rendering classical sequence stratigraphy unreliable.