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Correlation of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale in Mississippi, Louisiana, and East Texas, U.S.A.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed an assessment of undiscovered, technically recoverable unconventional petroleum resources in the Upper Cretaceous marine shale of the Tuscaloosa Group (Tuscaloosa marine shale; TMS) in 2018. As part of the geologic characterization in preparation for the assessment, a series of wireline-log cross sections were constructed to illustrate TMS thickness trends and aid in the delineation of the assessment unit (AU). Lithostratigraphic units were correlated based on gamma ray, spontaneous potential, and resistivity log responses and generally follow the classic stratigraphic nomenclature first proposed in the 1960s. Correlated stratigraphic units include (from youngest to oldest) the Austin Group, Eagle Ford Shale, upper Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa marine shale, lower Tuscaloosa, and Lower Cretaceous. A high resistivity zone (HRZ) in the basal Tuscaloosa marine shale was delineated where resistivity was greater than 5 ohm-meters and high resistivity sections were separated by less than 20 feet of low resistivity shale. The HRZ was identified regionally and might indicate petroleum accumulations in the TMS. Third-party biostratigraphic data from wells in Mississippi and Louisiana were integrated into the well control, which aided wireline-log correlation. Cross sections depict east-west thinning of the TMS onto the Sabine uplift and north-south thickening of the TMS off of the Lower Cretaceous shelf margin. The western boundary of the USGS-defined Tuscaloosa Marine Shale Continuous Oil AU was drawn in western Louisiana near the Texas-Louisiana state border based on stratigraphic thinning of the Upper Cretaceous section onto the structural high of the Sabine uplift as projected downdip.
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