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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Houston Geological Society Bulletin


Houston Geological Society Bulletin, Volume 23, No. 9, May 1981. Pages 5-5.

Abstract: Why Are Fields and Uplifts Warm?


Phillip T. Previous HitFowlerTop

Steady-state irregularities in temperature gradient, denoting discontinuities in heat flow, are the rule in the oil patch because fluids from thermally dehydrating montmorillonites are moving from source rocks to fill new porosity created by dilatant microfracturing where consolidated strata are bending elastically. These fluids conserve internal heat as they migrate. Therefore, as the fluids collect in reservoirs, geothermal flux focuses beneath the shallow hot spots, and the resulting deep hot spots become sites of expansive sub-crustal solid-phase transitions-hence crustal uplifts.

The fact that fluids in Paleozoic fields are still rising and still hot shows that the lithosphere is perpetually coupled dynamically to the mantle directly beneath it, the flux of heat from the passive mantle being amplified or quenched by feedback from changing temperature-gradient signals in basins of the active crust. It follows that both the tectonic behavior of a sedimentary province and the size of its petroleum reserves are determined by the distribution of volcanogenic clays.

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