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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 69 (1985)

Issue: 2. (February)

First Page: 279

Last Page: 279

Title: Maturity Anomalies, Fluid Flow, and Permeability Preservation in Frio and Anahuac Formations, Upper Texas Gulf Coast: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Malcolm P. R. Light

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The Pleasant Bayou geopressured-geothermal test wells in Brazoria County, Texas, display a prominent thermal maturity anomaly in the Oligocene Anahuac and Frio Formations. Highly geopressured, more-mature shales are interbedded with hydropressured to moderately geopressured sandstones in the upper Frio and Anahuac. In contrast, shales and sandstones in the lower Frio, including the Andrau geopressure-geothermal production zone, are highly geopressured and exhibit lower thermal maturities.

In the deeper lower maturity sandstones, porosity is dominantly secondary. These sandstones are more permeable by an order of magnitude than the more-mature shallower sandstones. The intense dissolution of grains in the highly geopressured lower Frio Formation is directly related to the increasing solubility of CO2 (released during the maturation of organic matter) with increasing pore pressure.

Maturity data at Pleasant Bayou indicates that the upper Frio was subjected to an extended period of upwelling basinal-fluid flow that caused the thermal anomaly. Updip flow of hot basinal fluids was largely arrested in the lower Frio by the high geopressure. Consequently, the maturity of the lower Frio was not increased.

Late-state porosity and permeability destruction by carbonate cementation seen elsewhere in the Gulf Coast was inhibited in the deeper Frio by the low influx of Ca2+ ions contained in the fluids. These Ca2+ ions were released from albitization of feldspars at more-mature, deeper levels.

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