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The history of production in northwest Colorado lends background to the problems of the exploration geologist in the region such as: the paucity of geologic literature specifically on the region and the resultant hodge-podge of stratigraphic and structural nomenclature therein, the presence of severe Laramide deformation masking older structure, and the high cost of exploration.
The Eastern Uinta-Axial arch-White River uplift structural element has potential in undiscovered structural traps similar to those now producing and in the older section with included evaporites, clastics, and carbonates of Pennsylvanian and Mississippian age which point to the similarity between the Eagle and Paradox basins. The Piceance basin has potential based on the thinning of the pre-Green River-post-Mancos section, with its thousands of feet of included sand, westward from the White River uplift onto the Douglas arch.
A third selected potential is the stratigraphic possibilities present in the upper Mancos-Mesaverde beach and bar sands deposited over the region by a generally but sporadic northeastward regressing sea.
The potential of the Mancos fracture production has not been realized in that exploration and hence production to date have been restricted to closures probably because these have invited drilling, and that other fracture accumulations will be discovered off-structure where adequate vertical stress has been applied to form fracturing.
The need for the exploration geologist in northwest Colorado is to turn his primary interest from the search for structural closure to detailed stratigraphic study and to correct technical interpretation and application of data at hand. Finally the geologist must wean managing departments away from grading prospects on closure alone and sell them on accepting and drilling prospects uncovered by this less orthodox approach.
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