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The regional pattern of maturation of Cretaceous strata in the study area was determined from vitrinite-reflectance measurements. Maturation increases from west to east across the Foothills to a maximum near the eastern limit of Foothills deformation and decreases farther east. Maturation along the eastern limit of deformation also decreases northward significantly. Reflectance measurements from Carboniferous strata exposed in the Front Ranges are much lower than values from the Lower Cretaceous near the eastern limit of deformation. Modeling using burial history curves indicates the regional maturation pattern largely reflects variations in the depth and/or duration of burial beneath Maastrichtian-Eocene foredeep deposits. However, differential vertical movements associa ed with the Peace River arch/embayment in the Carboniferous, Triassic, Early Cretaceous and Maastrichtian-Eocene had an important effect on the maturation pattern.
Determined and estimated maturation levels for reservoir strata are consistent with the known occurrences of gas fields and oil pools, except along the relatively unexplored western margin of the study area. There, moderate maturation levels indicate a potential for wet-gas or oil preservation in shallow structures containing Triassic and Lower Carboniferous carbonates in the south. In the north, structures in the western Foothills deforming Triassic strata with lower levels of maturation are breached.
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