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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 47 (1963)

Issue: 12. (December)

First Page: 2023

Last Page: 2038

Title: Opinion of Structural Mechanics of Central Basin Platform Area, West Texas

Author(s): John W. Harrington (2)


The folding in the Central Basin platform area occurred in two distinctly different ways. The first type of movement took place in pre-Atoka time on the 4,000-6,000 feet of sediment between the basement and the Barnett shale. This thin skin orogeny appears as a series of thrust-faulted anticlines and is believed, by comparison with a demonstration experiment, to have been imposed over right-handed strike-slip basement faults. Power came from the Marathon-Ouachita orogeny on the south. Following the early deformation the platform was essentially a geanticline subject to a beveling erosion that truncated some of the folds completely to the basement.

The second type of movement was part of the development of the Pennsylvanian and Permian autogeosynclinal complex on top of the older rocks and folds. Subsidence was concentrated on normal faults with differential movement between blocks. Supratenuous folds were formed in the younger beds as they were deposited.

Force analysis differentiates the types of movement and establishes the meanings of the distortions at each time and level. Parallel folding and thrusting under a force system oriented with the major compression west-southwest to east-northeast and the least compression vertical are characteristic of the thin skin orogeny. Supratenuous folding under a force system with the major compression vertical and the least compression variably oriented in the horizontal plane characterizes basin subsidence.

Illustrations from oil fields are given to show how the structures look. A test area is analyzed explaining how these principles may be applied to random data in the exploration process.

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