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Yu, Zhihuai, 1992

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Yu, Zhihuai, 1992, Quantitative basin modeling: An application in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge of Alaska, and salt influences on thermal anomalies and fracturing patterns of sediments in Gulf of Mexico: Columbia, South Carolina, University of South Carolina, Ph.D. dissertation, 160 p., illust.


Quantitative basin modeling has been rapidly developed in the past decade and is now being widely applied in petroleum exploration and development. The term 'basin Modeling' has come to mean the integration of many themes--basin formation, thermal history, subsidence, compaction, maturation and generation, expulsion, basin hydrodynamics, trapping and leakage--in attempts to model complex real-world systems, with the ultimate objective of explaining and predicting hydrocarbon accumulations. Mathematical modeling and computer simulation are playing increasingly important roles in this process. Use of these techniques has been encouraged in modern geologic studies. Part one of this study is to conduct an integrated quantitative basin study in frontier area of the northern part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) of Alaska. It concluded that (1) the main source rock west of ANWR area first matured about 40-30 Ma ago in the south and gradually to the north about 10-8 Ma ago on the coastal plain; (2) the modeled erosion thickness at Beli Unit-1 location, northeastern Brooks Range, was 1,500-3,000 m and at least 3,000 m at Canning River Unit B-1; (3) an overpressure zone within the Hue shale and the lower part of the Canning Formation caused by rapid Tertiary deposition has retained porosity, increased the temperature, and speeded hydrocarbon generation in the lower part of the coastal plain area; and (4) the potential for petroleum exploration in ANWR is great. However, the truncation of the Ellesmerian sequence and low maturity have reduced the prospectivity of the area. Part two is to study salt dynamics in sedimentary basins and its impacts on the sediments in terms of faulting/fracturing, deformations, and thermal anomalies. Mohr's criterion for failure is used to examine the domains of primary and secondary fracturing in formations surrounding a salt body. Due to the higher thermal conductivity of salt, the focusing and defocusing of heat are expected. The results show that there is a significant positive anomaly above the salt, a negative anomaly below the salt, and a temperature contrast between internal salt position and external position in sediments. The inferences from the modeling results may be of significance in attempts to evaluate hydrocarbon proneness of formations in association with salt structures.

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