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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 5. (May)

First Page: 916

Last Page: 916

Title: Toward a General Theory of Vertical Migration: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Martin J. Davidson

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Between 1951 and 1954, the Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio evaluated over a hundred little known exploration methods and found only geochemical, radiometric, and electrical methods to be worthy of careful scientific study. Critical examination of the now extensive literature of all three generic methods seems to indicate a mechanism which may relate each method to the other: the physical-chemical phenomenon of vertical migration. A selective review of the theoretical and empirical literature of these methods, together with a similar review of applicable geologic and hydrogeologic studies, was undertaken. Indications that vertical migration is not an implausible common mechanism reinforces the potential validity of each of the methods and suggests the need for dditional research directed toward a conclusive condemnation or validation of these methods.

Considering the total of pre-drilling exploration efforts, the current limited use of surface geochemical, radiometric, and electrical methods seems only to preserve them in limbo. Ambiguities will undoubtedly continue to exist, as in all other exploration methods, even if subsequent research should demonstrate increased operational validity of the three methods. The opportunity-cost of not properly using these methods would be tremendous should they be determined to be more reliable than is generally conceded. This consideration, together with the indications of plausibility which this paper describes, justifies serious and concentrated research and demonstration efforts of an order not hitherto performed.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists