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Prior to 1960, exploration geologists in the Rocky Mountain area primarily used lithology, E-logs, geophysics, and a few microfossil groups (fusulinids, invertebrates) for stratigraphic correlations. From 1960 to about 1968, these exploration geologists added several additional groups of microfossils (spores, pollen, and foraminifers) to their tools for correlation. During the past 15 yrs, there has been an "explosion" in the scientific study of icrofossils ranging in age from Cambrian to Holocene.
Currently, oil finders are integrating the age-dates and paleoenvironmental information obtained from analyzing 20 different groups of microfossils with the stratigraphy, sedimentology, structure, and geophysical data to create a synergistic exploration program. The addition of micropaleontology and paleoenvironmental data into an exploration program has helped managers make better management decisions, save millions of dollars for the company, and find economical pools of hydrocarbons. The following chart will give the exploration geologist an appreciation for the number of groups of microfossils presently available and how they are used to interpret the age and paleoenvironment to make oil finding more cost effective.
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