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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently assessed the technically recoverable undiscovered oil and gas onshore and in State waters of the Gulf Coast region of the United States. The USGS defined three assessment units (AUs) with potential undiscovered conventional and continuous oil and gas resources in Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian to Turonian) strata of the Eagle Ford Group and correlative rocks. The assessment is based on geologic elements of a total petroleum system, including hydrocarbon source rocks (source rock maturation, hydrocarbon generation and migration), reservoir rocks (sequence stratigraphy and petrophysical properties), and traps (formation, timing, and seals). Conventional oil and gas undiscovered...
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This paper reports on preliminary results of a project to develop a comprehensive data base of chemical and environmental information on sediments from Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, and surrounding water bodies. The goal is to evaluate all data for reliability and comparability, and to make it widely accessible and useful to all users. Methods for processing heterogeneous, historical data follow previous methods employed in the Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay area. Data from 11 different data sets, encompassing about 900 total samples, have been entered to date. Questionable or anomalous data were noted in a minority of cases. Problems tend to follow distinct patterns and are relatively easy to identify. Hence,...
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Historically, the Mississippi River has replenished sediment across the lower deltaic plain, abating land loss. However, flood-control structures along the river now restrict this natural process and divert sediment from the modern delta offshore to the shelf break, thereby removing it from the coastal system. Localized crevasse splays, however, can deposit significant amounts of sediment in a short span of time.Satellite imagery and field investigations, including eight sediment vibracores, have identified a recent crevasse splay originating from Brant Bayou within the Delta National Wildlife Refuge on the lower Mississippi River delta. The splay deposits are estimated to be as much as 3 m thick and are located...
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Offshore of the Mississippi River delta plain lies a series of Holocene sand shoals marking the position of ancient submerged shorelines associated with younger shelf-phase delta plains. These submerged shorelines represent positions when sea level stood lower than present. Short periods of rapid sea level rise during the Holocene transgression, in combination with subsidence, led to the submergence of these sandy shorelines, which can be recognized at the -33 ft (-10 m) and -66 ft (-20 m) isobaths on the Louisiana continental shelf The -33 ft (-10 m) shoreline trend is represented by Trinity Shoal and Ship Shoal, which are associated with the late Holocene Mississippi River delta plain. Trinity Shoal is derived...
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Basin-wide datasets that provide information on the geochemical properties of petroleum systems, such as source rock quality, product composition, and thermal maturity, are often difficult to come by or assemble from publically available data. When published studies are available and include these kinds of properties, they generally have few sampling locations and limited numbers and types of analyses. Therefore, production-related data and engineering parameters can provide useful proxies for geochemical properties that are often widely available across a play and in some states are reported in publically available or commercial databases. Gas-oil ratios (GOR) can be calculated from instantaneous or cumulative...
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Using cartographic and aerial photography data from the years 1853, 1890, 1934, 1956, 1978, 1984, and 1988, shoreline change maps of the Isles Dernieres barrier island arc were constructed. These data were accurately superimposed, using a computer mapping system, which removed projection, datum, scale, and other cartographic inconsistencies. Linear, areal, and perimeter measurements indicate that the Isles Dernieres are suffering rapid rates of coastal erosion, land loss, and breakup. Bayside and gulfside erosion, in combination with sediment shortage and subsidence, have caused the Isles Dernieres to narrow through time. In addition, the core of the barrier island arc does not migrate landward and instead, breaks...
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The late Quaternary morphology, shallow stratigraphy and sediment distribution of the Louisiana-Mississippi-Alabama inner shelf region are the product of transgressive and regressive sedimentary processes. Shelf sedimentary facies were deposited by deltaic progradation, followed by shoreface erosion and submergence. This information is based on interpretations and synthesis of more than 4,160 mi (6,700 km) of high resolution seismic profiles, 75 grab samples, and 77 vibracores. The shelf can be divided into two main depositional regions. The southwestern region, east and south of the Mississippi River plain, was formed by early Holocene delta complexes, overlying a late Wisconsinan delta. Deposits of the late...
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Sediment cores, seismic profiles, radiocarbon dates, and faunal assemblages were used to interpret the depositional setting and geological evolution of the southeastern Texas coast during the last glacio-eustatic cycle. Discrete lithofacies and biofacies zones in the ebb-dominated Sabine Lake estuary and adjacent chenier plain record alternating periods of rapid marine flooding and gradual shoaling related to linked climatic/eustatic fluctuations. Monospecific zones of the mollusks Rangia cuneata and Crassostrea virginica, respectively, indicate high fresh water outflow followed by invasion of marine water, whereas intervening organic-rich zones record bayhead delta deposition. High-frequency parasequence stacking...
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Six samples from clay-rich intervals in the coal-bearing upper part of the Eocene Manning Formation were analyzed by scanning-electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence to determine the origin of minerals in the samples. Two samples were from surface-mine exposures of the 3500 coal bed near Bryan, Texas, and the remaining samples were from an exposure of a correlative interval at the Lake Somerville spillway about 60 km (37 mi) southwest of Bryan. Preliminary data suggest that both a 2-cm-thick (0.75-in) claystone from the upper part of the 3500 bed and the upper part of an 11-cm-thick (4.25-in) mudstone from the floor of the lower coal bed at the spillway were derived from volcanic ash falls.Both...
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Significant coal-bed gas resources may exist in subsurface Wilcox Group (Paleocene-Eocene) coal beds that are found across much of north-central Louisiana. About a dozen wells recently completed in Wilcox Group coal zones in this area have an initial production that ranges from 7 to 229 thousand cubic feet (Mcf) of gas per day. Production of saline water from these wells ranges from 0 to 550 barrels (bbls) per day. Depth to the targeted Wilcox coal beds, which have a maximum thickness of about 20 ft, ranges from 1,500 to 5,000 ft. The thickest coal beds tend to be in the lower Wilcox coal zone. Cumulative Wilcox coal thickness can exceed 100 ft. Measured gas content of the coal beds ranges from less than 40 standard...
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The Louisiana barrier shoreline of Barataria Basin, which lies within the western Mississippi River delta, has undergone significant retreat during the past 100 years. The most practical restoration method to rebuild these shorelines is sand nourishment. Seismic and sonar interpretations verified with geologic samples (vibracores and borings) indicate that there are nine sand targets within the Barataria study area that meet or exceed the minimum criteria for potential resource sites. However, the near surface lithology in the basin is typically silts and clays. Locating suitable sand resources for shoreline restoration is challenging. The sand units are associated with geologic depositional systems such as ebb-tidal...
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Two regional releveling profiles and six tide gauges provide a basis for evaluating recent rates of delta plain subsidence in southcentral Louisiana. Analyses of these records demonstrate close correlations among highest historical rates of subsidence, rapid wetland losses, large volume hydrocarbon production, and probable reactivation of deep subsurface faults. Other researchers have demonstrated that the highest geological subsidence rates of the Mississippi delta plain (<3 mm/yr) correspond closely to the thickest Holocene sediments that fill the underlying incised valley. Within that geologic framework, highest historical subsidence rates (as much as 23 mm/yr) correspond to surface projections of the reactivated...
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Well logs and 2D seismic data were used to interpret the depth and morphology of potential Paleocene and lower Eocene Wilcox Group slope and basin-floor reservoirs in south-central Louisiana. These may occur in a poorly explored area previously estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey to contain a mean undiscovered conventional resource potential of 26,398 billion cubic feet of gas and 423 million barrels of natural gas liquids. The Wilcox Group is 15,000 to 26,000 feet deep in south-central Louisiana. Previously published paleogeographic maps suggest the sediment transport direction during the Paleocene and lower Eocene was west to east, parallel to the relict Cretaceous shelf margin, and north to south due to...
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Recent work by the U.S. Geological Survey indicated that the Lower Cretaceous Pearsall Formation contains an estimated mean undiscovered, technically recoverable unconventional gas resource of 8.8 trillion cubic ft in the Maverick Basin, South Texas. Cumulative gas production from horizontal wells in the core area of the emerging play has exceeded 5 billion cubic ft since 2008. However, very little information is available to characterize the Pearsall Formation as an unconventional gas resource beyond the Maverick Basin in the greater Gulf Coast region. Therefore, this reconnaissance study examines spatial distribution, thickness, organic richness and thermal maturity of the Pearsall Formation in the onshore U.S....
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The Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers transport very large amounts of bedload and suspended sediments to the deltaic and coastal environments of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Absorbed onto these sediments are contaminants that may be detrimental to the environment. To adequately assess the impact of these contaminants it is first necessary to develop an understanding of sediment distribution patterns in these deltaic systems. The distribution patterns are defined by deltaic progradational cycles. Once these patterns are identified, the natural and industrial contaminant inventories and their depositional histories can be reconstructed. Delta progradation is a function of sediment discharge, as well as channel and...
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The uranium concentration and isotopic composition of water and suspended sediment from the Nueces River, Nueces Bay and Corpus Christi Bay were determined by alpha-spectroscopy. The average dissolved uranium concentration and radioactivity ratio (U234/U238) of Nueces River water were determined to be 2.44 µg/1 and 1.15 respectively. Water from a tributary of the Nueces River, Cayamon Creek, was found to contain an average dissolved uranium concentration of 42.8 µg/1 with an isotopic radioactivity ratio of 1.56. Close inspection of the lateral concentration and isotopic activity ratio of uranium revealed an increase below the confluence of Cayamon Creek with the Nueces River. A model was derived based on equations...
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Previous researchers separated the uppermost Quaternary stratigraphy of the Mississippi River delta region into two major lithofacies. The stratigraphically lower of these, "substratum," primarily consists of coarse-grained sediment deposited within lowstand-incised stream valleys. Relatively finer-grained "topstratum" overlies substratum; above interfluves, topstratum directly overlies weathered late Pleistocene sediments. However, the onshore to offshore distribution and architecture of these lithofacies was not well constrained. This study integrates published and unpublished lithostratigraphic data with high-resolution seismic profiles from the continental shelf to aid in mapping the regional distribution of...
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The U.S. Geological Survey is conducting a study of storm-driven sediment resuspension and transport in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana. Two critical processes related to sediment transport in the lake are (1) the resuspension of sediments due to wind-generated storm waves and (2) the movement of resuspended material by lake currents during storm wind events. The potential for sediment resuspension is being studied with the wave prediction model which simulates local generation of waves by wind and shallow-water effects on waves (refraction, shoaling, bottom friction, and breaking). Long-term wind measurements are then used to determine the regional "climate" of bottom orbital velocity (showing the spatial and temporal...
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In recent years several wells have been drilled in the South Florida Basin through carbonate and evaporite sequences to depths as much as 5,300 ft below the Punta Gorda Anhydrite. The deepest well penetrated igneous basement rocks to a total depth of 18, 670 ft. Correlation of anhydrite beds below the Punta Gorda has revealed several thick anhydrite units (200 to 400 ft) with regional persistence. The pre-Punta Gorda section is subdivided into four easily identifiable units listed in order of increasing age — Lehigh Acres (lowermost Comanchean), Pumpkin Bay (upper Coahuilan), Bone Island (lower Coahuilan), and Wood River (Jurassic?) Formations, all newly named in this report. In addition, the Lehigh Acres is divided...


map background search result map search result map Preliminary evaluation of the shale gas prospectivity of the Lower Cretaceous Pearsall Formation in the onshore Gulf Coast region, United States Geology and sequence stratigraphy of undiscovered oil and gas resources in conventional and continuous petroleum systems in the Upper Cretaceous Eagle Ford Group and related strata, U.S. Gulf Coast Region Distribution and isotopic composition of uranium in lower Nueces River, Nueces Bay and Corpus Christi Bay, Texas Latest Quaternary stratigraphic framework of the Mississippi River delta region Sand resources, regional geology, and coastal processes for shoreline restoration: case study of Barataria shoreline, Louisiana Sediment-hosted contaminants and distribution patterns in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya River Deltas Climatic-eustatic control of Holocene nearshore parasequence development, southeastern Texas coast Environmental geochemistry and sediment quality in Lake Pontchartrain: database development and review Modeling waves and circulation in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana Sand resources, regional geology, and coastal processes for shoreline restoration: case study of Barataria shoreline, Louisiana Environmental geochemistry and sediment quality in Lake Pontchartrain: database development and review Modeling waves and circulation in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana Distribution and isotopic composition of uranium in lower Nueces River, Nueces Bay and Corpus Christi Bay, Texas Latest Quaternary stratigraphic framework of the Mississippi River delta region Sediment-hosted contaminants and distribution patterns in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya River Deltas Climatic-eustatic control of Holocene nearshore parasequence development, southeastern Texas coast Preliminary evaluation of the shale gas prospectivity of the Lower Cretaceous Pearsall Formation in the onshore Gulf Coast region, United States Geology and sequence stratigraphy of undiscovered oil and gas resources in conventional and continuous petroleum systems in the Upper Cretaceous Eagle Ford Group and related strata, U.S. Gulf Coast Region