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Seismic reflection surveys have been conducted in the central Palo Duro basin to provide a basis for identifying localities suitable for the emplacement of an underground high level nuclear waste repository. The objectives of this effort were to determine the structure and stratigraphy in the central Palo Duro basin and evaluate the potential for hydrocarbon resources.
Of primary interest is the Upper Permian salt section to a depth of about 3,000 ft (914 m). Various tests were carried out along a 3 mi (5 km) segment to determine the most appropriate combination of vibrating source and recording parameters. Approximately 130 mi (209 km) of 24-fold CDP stacked data were acquired. The survey lines were tied to test wells in which velocity surveys were conducted.
These data were supplemented by about 400 mi (644 km) of available proprietary CDP stacked data. Analysis of these data strongly suggests that central Palo Duro basin has been tectonically stable since Early Permian time. The basement, which is not an acoustic interface, is offset in a few places by faults. The maximum offset of the basement is about 600 ft (183 m). These basement faults do not appear to affect any strata above. The San Andres Formation and underlying formations can be traced continuously throughout the area surveyed. Available velocity data from various wells in the central Palo Duro basin show few anomalies, confirming the continuity of the reflecting horizons and the tectonic stability of the area.
Hydrocarbon potential of the area is presently being evaluated. The preliminary results of this study are in agreement with the stratigraphic correlations among well logs in the Palo Duro basin.
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