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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database
The Aleutian basin is the deep-water (more than 3,000 m) basin that lies north of the Aleutian Islands adjacent to the Bering Sea continental shelf. The basin, about the size of Texas, is underlain by a flat-lying sequence of mostly Cenozoic sediment 2 to 9 km thick that rests on an igneous oceanic crustal section. Prior to 1974, marine investigations in the Aleutian basin were directed at understanding the basin's regional geologic and geophysical framework; more recent investigations by the U.S. Geological Survey have been aimed at assessing the basin's hydrocarbon potential. Preliminary results suggest that the four major requirements for hydrocarbon accumulations may be present--structural and stratigraphic traps, source rocks, reservoir beds, and an adequate thermal nd sedimentation history.
The recent energy resource studies indicate that: (1) numerous structural features (gentle folds, diapirs, basement ridges) are present in the central and eastern parts of the basin; (2) acoustic features called VAMPs (velocity amptitude features) are common (over 350 identified) in the central basin; these features may be caused by pockets of gases and possibly other hydrocarbons that have been trapped in the sedimentary section; (3) the sedimentary section consists of diatomaceous sediment overlying indurated mudstones; high porosities (58 to 85%) and good permeabilities (10 to 35 md) in the diatomaceous sediment suggest that it is a potential reservoir unit and the thick section of underlying mudstone may contain the source beds; (4) concentrations of organic gases, primarily metha e, in the upper 1 to 3 m beneath the seafloor are very small, increase with depth, and are highest in areas near VAMPs; (5) the thermal gradient and the sediment thickness are sufficiently
large to allow hydrocarbon maturation at depth, if suitable organic material is present.
Our initial results suggest that the Aleutian basin deserves further exploration as a site for possible hydrocarbon accumulations.
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