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The occurrence of considerable volumes of petroleum (1,000 barrels per day) and natural gas (34,000,000 cubic feet per day) in non-marine sediments of the Powder Wash field in northwest Colorado has recently attracted much attention. The petroleum and natural gas production occurs in continental deposits of Lower Eocene age known as the Hiawatha member of the Wasatch formation. Production is believed to be indigenous to the non-marine Wasatch formation and not migratory from either underlying or overlying formations. Saline waters occur in association with the petroleum-producing zones. Accumulation apparently is controlled by an upfolded Tertiary dome structure but within the confines of the structure producing horizons are extremely irregular. This irregularity is large y due to the highly lenticular sand bodies which are characteristic of the continental Wasatch formation.
The Powder Wash field is discussed as an example of a field productive of both petroleum and natural gas from non-marine sediments. The stratigraphy of the region and general structural conditions are described in some detail to prove as untenable any assumption of vertical migratory movement of hydrocarbons from other formations and any assumption of long-distance lateral migration is shown to be equally unsupportable. Two hypotheses to account for the presence of hydrocarbons in the non-marine sediments at Powder Wash are presented. The unusual hazards involved in developing such fields in the Wasatch continental formation are discussed.
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