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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 7. (July)

First Page: 1357

Last Page: 1357

Title: Potential of Evaporitic Environment as Source of Petroleum: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Robert Evans, Douglas W. Kirkland

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Examination of modern saline lakes, solar evaporation ponds, and lagoons shows that the evaporitic environment can be very productive of organic matter. Few species survive in the brines, but those that do commonly are in great profusion. In a marine evaporitic embayment, the flow of surface currents is persistently toward regions of highest salinity, so that there is a continual supply and concentration of nutrients. Prolific growth of phytoplankton may be similar to that in areas of upwelling in modern oceans. Only carbonates precipitate in the "mesosaline" part (4 to 12% salinity) of such an evaporitic environment and no great dilution of organic matter by clastic or biogenic sediments occurs. Because stratification of brine may occur and reducing conditions may be ass ciated with the bottom waters, much of the organic matter produced can be preserved. Upon maturation, the result may be a rich carbonate source rock, frequently unrecognized in the geologic column. In the Middle East, mesosaline conditions have occurred many times from the Triassic to the Cretaceous and may be responsible for the vast reserves of petroleum in the area. Evaporitic conditions may also have played a part in the petroleum productivity of many other areas, including the Michigan and Paradox basins.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists