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The quantitative investigation of processes involved in salt dome development include thermal, gravitational, and chemical effects of uprising salt domes. We find that (a) there must be a positive-temperature anomaly occurring around the upper flanks of a salt dome but that organic maturation is typically so low that the resulting enhanced maturation is still insignificant for hydrocarbon generation, (b) there must be a negative temperature anomaly occurring around the lower flanks of a salt dome that significantly inhibits overmaturation of hydrocarbons and so enlarges the hydrocarbon window, (c) the magnitude of the negative gravity anomaly associated with a salt dome, that is predicted by an equilibrium model of gravitational instability is much smaller than the observ d values, implying that salt domes are inhibited in their development either by lateral sediment strength, undercompaction of the overlying or surrounding sediments, or by the available supply of salt, (d) the 4 major current suggestions for cap-rock formation discussed in the literature have serious deficiencies; none of them is capable of supplying enough anhydrite for the observed thicknesses of cap rocks. Permeability enhancement by 2 orders of magnitude is required for any of these processes to be viable. A method for producing such an enhancement is based on fluid characteristics in a generalized sandstone and shale section.
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