Sedimentology and Ichnology of Paleozoic Estuarine and Shoreface Reservoirs, Morrow Sandstone, Lower Pennsylvanian of Southwest Kansas, USA

Authors

  • Luis A. Buatois Kansas Geological Survey
  • Gabriela M. Mangano Kansas Geological Survey
  • Timothy R. Carr Kansas Geological Survey

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17161/cres.v0i243.11783

Abstract

Integration of facies and trace-fossil evidence tests and refines depositional models constructed solely on the basis of physical sedimentology. In recent years, the petroleum industry has increasingly used trace-fossil analysis of cores as an aid in reservoir characterization. In particular, ichnologic data have been instrumental in the recognition of estuarine deposits and their distinction from open-marine facies (e.g., MacEachern and Pemberton, 1994). Previous ichnologic analyses of cores, however, have concentrated on post-Paleozoic reservoirs (e.g., Bockelie, 1991Pemberton, 1992Taylor and Gawthorpe, 1993Howell et al., 1996Martin and Pollard, 1996MacEachern and Pemberton, 1997). The present study represents one of the first attempts to apply trace-fossil analysis to cores from Paleozoic reservoirs.

The Lower Pennsylvanian Morrow Sandstone contains oil and gas reservoirs in a wide variety of shallow and marginal-marine depositional environments. Delta-front, shoreface, and estuarine valley-fill reservoir sandstones are encased in offshore and estuarine mudstones (Sonnenberg, 1985Krystinik and Blakeney, 1990Sonnenberg et al., 1990Wheeler et al., 1990). An integrated stratigraphic, sedimentologic, and ichnologic study provides a more accurate characterization of reservoir facies and geometry. This study allows distinction between marine-shoreface and estuarine valley-fill sandstones from four cores of the lower Morrow in southwestern Kansas. Core analysis subsequently was integrated with well-log information. Previous studies have emphasized the presence of estuarine valley-fills in the upper Morrow (Wheeler et al., 1990). Our integrated approach extends the estuarine valley interpretation into the lower Morrow. Within the midcontinent, trace fossils are useful in distinguishing different facies in estuarine incised valleys and marine shorefaces. Detailed study of biogenic structures provides high-resolution information to solve problems in facies, stratigraphic, and reservoir modeling. In some cases, they represent the only evidence available to develop a reasonable picture of depositional conditions and to estimate reservoir heterogeneity. The present study provides a detailed analysis of the sedimentary facies, documents the associated trace fossils, and illustrates how trace fossils are used to refine environmental interpretations of the lower Morrow sandstone reservoirs.

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1999-11-09