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A new technique has been developed for determining paleocurrent direction for siliciclastic formations. Development of an efficient and accurate technique for determining this has been a recurring problem in both industry and university research labs for the past 20 years. The new technique measures variations in the intensity of a beam of coherent light reflected from a polished horizontal surface on an oriented core. These variations indicate the orientation of the resultant vector for the optic axes of the quartz grains in the surface. Since the optic axis of a detrital quartz grain is statistically subparallel to its long axis, determination of the orientation of the optic axes is equivalent to determining the orientation of the long axes. In most noneolian siliciclas ic deposits, the orientation of the long axes of the sand grains are parallel with the flow direction of the depositing fluid. Paleocurrent data from oriented cores have two uses in the mature oil field. First, they would aid in development drilling by providing accurate sandbody trends. Second, since the permeability of a sandstone is greater parallel with the grains than across them, the data should be useful in designing secondary and tertiary recovery programs.
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