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AAPG Bulletin, V. 83 (1999), No. 2 (February 1999), P. 333-361.

Thermal Structure of the Anadarko Basin1

Jaquidon Gallardo2 and David D. Blackwell3

©Copyright 1999.  The American Association of Petroleum Geologists.  All Rights Reserved

1Manuscript received October 11, 1996; revised manuscript received June 16, 1998; final acceptance July 14, 1998.
23704 Bryson Drive, Frisco, Texas 75035.
3Department of Geological Sciences, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 75275.

This paper is based on a master’s thesis submitted to the Department of Geological Sciences at Southern Methodist University by Jaquidon Gallardo. Partial support for the study came from the Mobil Foundation. The following companies provided data for this project: American Stratigraphic Company; ARCO Oil and Gas Company; Arkla Exploration Company; Barby Energy Corporation; Enserch Exploration, Inc.; Exxon Company, USA; Forest Oil Corporation; The GHK Company; Meridian Oil, Inc.; Phillips Petroleum Company; Roden Oil Company; Samedan Oil Corporation; Santa Fe Minerals, Inc.; Sohio Petroleum Company; TXO Production Corporation; Union Oil Company of California; and Woods Petroleum Corporation. John L. Steele helped with the software development. Robert L. Laury and Roger Denison read an early version of the manuscript. Lloyd Gatewood generously allowed use of proprietary information for part of the interpretation. Charles F. Dodge and Earl Price also helped in obtaining the well data. Kenneth S. Johnson provided valuable assistance. Jay Maturese and Chris Eckhardt helped with the data collection, and Rene Greyvesteyn and Maria Richards prepared the figures. We received constructive reviews from Phil Armstrong, David Chapman, David Deming, and Jeffrey Nunn. 


The Anadarko basin of Oklahoma is a two-stage Paleozoic cratonic basin with as much as 12 km (7.5 mi) or more of sedimentary fill. We present a present-day thermal model of the basin based on lithologic analysis at 3-m (10-ft) intervals in 63 wells, heat flow measurements at seven sites, and in-situ thermal conductivity calibration of the sediment section at two sites. We do not use BHT (bottom-hole temperature) information in the process, but we do, at the end of the process, compare the independently predicted temperatures to BHT information. The in-situ calibration of thermal conductivity was accomplished using detailed temperature logs and represents a new practical application for evaluating basin thermal characteristics. Shale exerts the most control on the temperature distribution because it is the most abundant lithology and has the lowest thermal conductivity. Shale comprises 47% by volume of rock in the basin and represents 75% of total thermal resistance, directly related to temperature gradient; therefore, shale dominates the thermal structure of the basin. Thus, the problems in sampling and in characterizing the in-situ thermal conductivity of shale from laboratory measurements represent a major limitation in basin thermal analysis; we use the in-situ calibration approach as a way to address the difficulty. The temperatures calculated do not mimic the structure of the sediments; i.e., the hottest area on a given age horizon in the lower Paleozoic is not in the most deeply buried part of the Anadarko basin. The combination of decreasing heat flow toward the Wichita Mountains and the facies changes in the Pennsylvanian units from marine shale (low thermal conductivity) in the basin to the granite wash (high thermal conductivity) toward the uplift results in the highest temperatures being displaced about 50 km (31 mi) northward into the basin. The pattern of vitrinite reflectance in the Woodford Shale is virtually identical to the present-day reconstructed temperature pattern; therefore, we conclude that the thermal pattern is and has been dominated by conductive heat transport. 

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