Newly available industry well data and seismic attribute analysis reveal that late Ordovician-early Devonian Hunton Group strata are more widespread (i.e., not removed by mid-Devonian erosion) in the central and southern portions of the Arkoma Basin in eastern Oklahoma than previously thought. This study demonstrates the value of applying seismic attribute analysis to problems of quantifying and mapping stratigraphic features caused by erosions and/or karstification. Well and seismic isochron data in the Red Oak petroleum field for the Viola-Woodford interval (the units that lie stratigraphically beneath and above, respectively, the Huton Group) show isolated ~40-m thick lenses of Hunton rocks, on average measuring 3 km in diameter, with a surrounding halo of karsted rock. This distribution can be explained in two different ways: 1) Hunton occurrences could represent isolated erosional remnants reflecting incomplete removal of the Hunton Group during Middle Devonian time (pre-Woodford unconformity) or 2) due to karsting and collapse of stratigraphically lower units (Viola or Bromide carbonates), lenses of Hunton rocks would have sagged into sinkholes where they were preserved beneath regional base level. Using formation tops from a well data set correlated with attribute and structure maps from a proprietary 3-D seismic data set, we identify three seismic characteristics in the middle Paleozoic interval that correlate well with: 1) absent Hunton seismic markers, indicating that Hunton rocks were completely removed, 2) the Hunton contacts, indicating where a seismically visible section of Hunton rocks remains, 3) absent Hunton but with a thin horizon included within lower carbonate strata that is interpreted to be an incipient karst zone, which is consistently adjacent to areas containing Hunton rocks. The base of the Sylvan Shale and the top of the Woodford Shale, the respective lower and upper adjoining units, form significant chronostratigraphic surfaces. As such, anomalous thicknesses of these units are depositionally related; thick Woodford sections often correlate to thin or absent Hunton rocks, possibly indicating back-filled pre-Woodford channels eroded into or through the Hunton Group. Conversely, when there is little or no Woodford thickening over Hunton lenses and when adjacent areas show thinning and partially karsted Viola rocks, we propose that karstic collapse of Viola strata was responsible for the Hunton rocks preservation. A combination of these models may be necessary to account for areas where we see thinning both in the Woodford and Viola, suggesting that a Hunton lens is structurally lowered due to karsting, but due to its erosionally resistive nature, the lens forms a depositional high, causing the Woodford to thin over it. The 3-D approach is absolutely necessary to reveal the subtle waveform details that illustrate the karstic and erosional processes involved in the preservation of the Hunton wedges. These findings were interpolated, constrained by well data, over the entire Oklahoma portion of the Arkoma basin in order to produce a new Hunton isopach map and 20 separate cross-sections (two shown herein). These show a broad linear region of absent Hunton. Eustatic sea levels rose throughout the middle and late Devonian, so this large area of eroded Hunton is interpreted as a post-Hunton, pre-Woodford structural uplift. Other Hunton wedges, similar in size and extant to that seismically imaged in this study, were also found in the well data. The karstic collapse of the Viola and subsequent preservation of Hunton rocks occurred on both limbs of the arch.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Geological Sciences



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Seismic Attributes, Seismic Correlations, Karst, Viola Karst, Hunton Karst, Devonian Unconformity, Devonian Erosion, Mid-Continent Devonian Uplift, Hunton Group, Woodford Shale, Sylvan Shale, Viola Group, ESP 3-D Seismic Attribute, Total Amplitude Seismcic Attribute, Waveform Classification, Arkoma Basin, Ouachita Orogeny

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