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Three major kinds of stratigraphic traps for petroleum exist in wind-deposited rocks: geomorphic, diagenetic, and system-boundary traps. Geomorphic petroleum traps are those in which oil is trapped in association with preserved topographic relief on eolian sands. The preserved relief may be inherited from the original dune field, modified by reworking, or created by erosion of dune sandstones prior to burial by the next layer of sediments.
Diagenetic traps for petroleum are those in which oil is trapped by lateral changes in porosity and permeability within the wind-laid rocks. Usually, oil is trapped against cemented zones, which may be selective or nonselective of depositional facies. The propensity of eolian deposits to have diagenetic traps may be due to early cementation, reflecting the common association of desert dunes and evaporites. Traps for petroleum may also be created by decementation--typically the dissolution of early halite, gypsum, or anhydrite.
System-boundary traps for petroleum are those in which oil is trapped at the updip depositional edge of the eolian-system deposits, where they intertongue with impermeable sediments of a different depositional environment. System-boundary traps can be sharp or diffuse. Sharp system-boundary traps can create or help create large single pools, such as the 1.6 billion bbl pool at Rangely oil field, Colorado. Diffuse system-boundary traps may contain as much oil as sharp system-boundary traps, but the oil is spread over a much wider area in a multitude of smaller pools, as in the Minnelusa Formation of northeast Wyoming.
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