Sediment provenance and delivery in the late Paleozoic Alleghanian-Ouachita-Marathon foreland mixed systems




Liu, Li, Ph. D.

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The continental-continental collision of Gondwana and Laurentia during the Paleozoic produced a tectonic transition from a rift to a foreland system. Late Paleozoic foreland basins, characterized by mixed carbonate and siliciclastic deposits along the Alleghanian-Ouachita-Marathon orogenic belts, became hydrocarbon-rich basins. Understanding the provenance and sediment delivery of those basins provided insights in both frontier basin exploration and mature basin exploitation. In this study, provenance and sediment-delivery studies were conducted in the Appalachian Foreland Basin, Black Warrior Basin, Fort Worth Bain, Bravo Dome, and most importantly, the Permian Basin. Detrital zircon data in syn-orogenic clastic wedges of Alleghanian-Ouachita-Marathon foreland show that for similar Grenvillian detrital zircon core ages, rims in the Appalachian foreland basin mainly have ages of 350 to 490 million years (Ma), whereas rims in Texas basins have ages of 500 to 750 Ma. This result resolves the ambiguity of regarding similar U-Pb ages of different basement and has implications for recycling and paleo-drainage reconstruction. Detailed investigation of provenance in lower Permian sediment of Permian Basin and Bravo Dome reveals that sediments were mainly derived from basement in peri-Gondwana and Gondwana terranes in Mexico and Central America. Sediments were directly derived from Ouachita orogenic belt and delivered by both short-distance axial and transverse drainage systems. Based on core and rim age assemblages, it is inferred that the transcontinental fluvial system with headwater from Appalachians did not reach as far as Texas basins during Wolfcampian time. Leonardian sediment were delivered with northwest direction by fluvial system originated from Ouachita-Marathon orogen and then recycled from Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico southward by eolian processes in the terrestrial setting. Leonardian siliciclastic-rich large-scale basin floor fans formed important unconventional reservoirs dominated by channel-level and lobe complexes in the Permian Basin. Shelf-incising submarine canyons are the primary shelf-to-basin delivery system that provided basinal sand. Realizing the important of canyon-fed systems in this hydrocarbon-rich basin will have significant impact on sediment-flux estimation and global source-to-sink studies of mixed systems


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