Geothermal resources, Frio Formation, middle Texas Gulf Coast

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Bebout, Don G.
Agagu, Olusegun Kokumo, 1948-
Dorfman, Myron

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University of Texas at Austin. Bureau of Economic Geology


Knowledge of the regional sand distribution and its relationship to formation temperature and pressure is a preliminary step in evaluating the geothermal resources of the Frio Formation. At depths generally greater than 7,000 feet, the sands and shales of the Frio Formation are overpressured and undercompacted. The insulating effect of these overpressured and undercompacted sediments results in the accumulation of subsurface heat and, thus, high temperature water. The local variations of depth to top of geopressure are related to the distribution of sand and shale lithologies and to the location of growth faults. For more information concerning origin of geopressure or high temperatures, see Jones (1970) and Dorfman and Kehle (1974). Bruce (1973) discusses the nature of growth faults in detail. The resource in the geopressured zone consists of high-temperature water with relatively low salinity and with dis solved methane gas. The objectives of this study were to determine regional sand distribution of the Frio Formation, identify depositional environments, and delineate the geopressured zone and its relationship to sand/shale distribution, growth faults, and fluid temperatures in the Middle Texas Gulf Coast. This study is essentially an extension of that completed earlier for South Texas (Bebout, Dorfman, and Agagu, 1975); all correlation and mapping units are the same as those represented in the South Texas report. The Energy Research and Development Administration, through the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, supported this study of the geothermal resources of the Frio Formation in Middle Texas Gulf Coast.


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Bebout, D. G., Agagu, O. K., and Dorfman, M. H., 1975, Geothermal Resources, Frio Formation, Middle Texas Gulf Coast: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, Geological Circular 75-8, 43 p.