Impact of arid surface mega-cracks on hydrocarbon reservoir properties

Antrett P, Vackiner AA, Kukla P, Klitzsch N, Stollhofen H (2012)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Publication year: 2012


Publisher: American Association of Petroleum Geologists

Book Volume: 96

Pages Range: 1279-1299

DOI: 10.1306/11211111069


The megacrack pattern of the ephemeral north Panamint dry
lake, California,United States, is characterized by variably sized
polygons with diameters ranging from hundreds of meters to
meters. The evolution and subsurface extent of this polygonal
pattern and a probable tectonic link are examined by ground
resistivity measurements and surface mapping. Crack development
is initiated by the shrinking of clays caused by changes
in water content near the surface. For crack evolution, the
following processes are proposed: Cavities develop at approximately
1-m (∼3-ft) depth during a subsurface phase, followed
by the collapse of the overburden into the existing cavities to
form the surface cracks. Cracks are filled by wind-blown sand
and dried-out lake sediments from collapsing crack walls. Following
burial, differences in competence between crack-fill
and surrounding playa-lake sediments provide zones of structural
weakness that might channelize stress release and faulting.
Ground resistivity measurements confirmed the extent
of the cracks to a depth of more than 3 m (>9 ft). The megacrack
pattern is compared to a Rotliegende (Upper Permian)
tight gas field, located in the southern Permian Basin of
northwestern Germany, situated in a comparable geologic
setting. There, a multidirectional polygonal pattern is recorded
on horizon slices of three-dimensional seismic data
and compares well to our observations from the Panamint
Valley. The Rotliegende pattern is associated with low-offset faults, which are proposed to be responsible for subtle reservoir

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Antrett, P., Vackiner, A.A., Kukla, P., Klitzsch, N., & Stollhofen, H. (2012). Impact of arid surface mega-cracks on hydrocarbon reservoir properties. Aapg Bulletin, 96, 1279-1299.


Antrett, Philipp, et al. "Impact of arid surface mega-cracks on hydrocarbon reservoir properties." Aapg Bulletin 96 (2012): 1279-1299.

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