Sedimentology of the Mesaverde Formation at Rifle Gap, Colorado and implications for gas-bearing intervals in the subsurface
Description: The exposures of the Mesaverde Formation at Rifle Gap, Colorado, are of a regressive series of marine to fluvial deposits about 1650 m (5000 ft) thick. Grading up out of the marine Mancos Shale, the blanket shoreline sandstones of the Corcoran, Cozzette, and Rollins Sandstones record substages of the regression as delta lobes were activated and abandoned in northwestern Colorado during Late Cretaceous time. The overlying coals, sandstones, and carbonaceous mudstones were deposited on the paludal lower delta plain behind the shoreline. Meandering fluvial systems prograded over the paludal deposits. These systems deposited point-bar sandstones and overbank mudstones and siltstones in composite meander-belt trends, some of which are now gas-bearing, low-permeability reservoirs. Reorientation of the paleogeography during the Laramide orogeny (contemporaneous with fluvial deposition) probably changed the orientation of the meander belt trends. The uppermost sandstones at Rifle Gap, including the Ohio Creek conglomerate, are interpreted as shoreline deposits of a transgression that has been previously unrecognized in the area. Most of the record of this transgression has been destroyed by pre-Eocene erosion. The outcrops at Rifle Gap provide a basis for interpreting subsurface deposis in the Department of Energy's Western Gas Sands Project Multi-Well Experiment, 12 miles away.
Date: March 1, 1982
Creator: Lorenz, J.C.
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