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Improved understanding of the central North American rift system (CNARS) offers a new interpretation of the basement structure in certain parts of the Mid-Continent. In eastern Kansas, basement structure can be shown to control oil production from some producing fields. Structural
control includes rotated blocks along faults created by horst and graben tectonics typically associated with rift zones.
A distinctive gravity signature, the Mid-Continent geophysical anomaly (MGA) is related directly to the CNARS and provides good data for interpretation of the basement structure. Some oil fields can be correlated directly with gravity-interpreted basement structure. Aeromagnetic and Landsat information, combined with the gravity data, further define exploration targets along the general trend of basement features.
Migration of thermally matured hydrocarbons into pre-Pennsylvanian, rift generated traps in the ancestral north Kansas basin is postulated. The Nemaha ridge subsequently divided that basin into two smaller basins, the present Salina and Forest City basins. Several exploration targets could exist in this area, with the Arbuckle, Simpson, and Viola units being primary targets. The source of hydrocarbons also may lie in the deep but distant Anadarko basin.
An additional totally untested hydrocarbon potential exists in the deep Precambrian/Cambrian sedimentary subbasins created along the flanks of the CNARS. Recent data points to sedimentary columns with depths of approximately 15,000 ft (4,500 m) which might be hosts to gas reserves similar to the Rome trough potential of the Appalachian region.
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