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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Utah Geological Association


Geology and Geologic Resources and Issues of Western Utah, 2009
Pages 43-54

Distribution of Devonian Stromatoporoid Buildups in the Eastern Basin and Range

Robert Ressetar, Donna M. Herring


Devonian carbonates in the Basin and Range Province of western Utah and eastern Nevada form part of a large, carbonate-dominated depositional complex that occupied the western margin of the mid-Paleozoic North American craton. These Devonian carbonates are generally continuous with and coeval with hydrocarbon reservoirs in the Alberta foreland basin of Canada. This stratigraphic association and the production of modest amounts of oil from the Devonian in Nevada raise the possibility that the carbonate-reef play concepts that have been successful in Canada could be applied to the Devonian of the Basin and Range.

For this review paper, we collected descriptions of more than 100 measured outcrop sections in the literature and oil-industry data from about 45 wells, and integrated the descriptions with published sequence stratigraphic frameworks for the Middle and Upper Devonian. We assigned the carbonates to eight depositional environments, ranging from supratidal to deep subtidal, and correlated the measured sections across four cross sections. Paleogeographic maps based on limited age control suggest that two populations of stromatoporoid buildups occur: a shelf-edge group that is probably not prospective for hydrocarbons, and a middle-shelf group that may be prospective. However, the Basin and Range buildups are smaller and less numerous than those in Canada, lack structural control and internal biofacies zonation, and are mud supported. From the hydrocarbon exploration perspective, carbonate buildup distribution is probably less important than timing and development of fracture porosity.

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