Consolidation of Geologic Studies of Geopressured-Geothermal Resources in Texas

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Ewing, T. E.
Tyler, N.
Morton, Robert A.
Light, M. P. R.

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Two major structural styles are identified in the Wilcox growth-fault trend of the Texas Gulf Coast. The style in central and southeast Texas is characterized by continuous, closely spaced growth faults that have little associated rollover despite moderate expansion of section and that show little flattening of the fault plane with depth. Where the growth-fault trend crosses the Houston Diapir Province, growth faults are localized by preexisting salt pillows; however, the piercement salt domes formed after the main phase of faulting, so the salt tectonics "overprints" the growth faults. In South Texas (south of Live Oak County), a narrow band of growth faults having high expansion and moderate rollover lies over and downdip of a ridge of deformed, overpressured shale and lies updip of a deep Tertiary-filled basin formed by withdrawal of overpressured shale. Significant antithetic faulting is associated with this band of growth faults. Also in South Texas, the lower Wilcox Lobo trend is deformed by highly listric normal faults beneath an unconformity that is probably related to Laramide tectonic activity. Wilcox sandstone reservoirs are predominantly of high-constructive deltaic (distributary-channel and delta-front) origin. This, together with close spacing of faults and characteristically low permeabilities, limits the size of geopressured reservoirs. The largest reservoirs may be in interfault areas or in salt- or shale-withdrawal basins.


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