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The Anadarko Basin of Western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle is one of the deepest and most petroliferous provinces of the continental United States.
For millions of years, a shallow sea covered the area. Mostly carbonates, limestones and dolomites were deposited at very slow rates of deposition.
It took over 250 million years to deposit the first 12,500 feet of sedimentary layers. Known to geologists as Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, and Mississippian, the layers were slowly added at the rate of 50 feet per million years, less than 1 inch every 1,500 years.
Then dramatically in Pennsylvanian time, 14,500 feet of sediment was deposited in the next 45 million years at a rate of 6 ½ times the first 250 million years.
Massive amounts of sand and shale were deposited in a down warping basin now exceeding 27,000 feet in depth. This became the kitchen for cooking off kerogens and producing enormous quantities of oil and natural gas.
Oil and gas that was generated under great heat and pressure in the deep basin then migrated up and out into the Texas panhandle, Kansas, and the Cherokee strip.
Receiving deposits of sand and shale from the north and massive amounts of wash or detrital material off the mountains to the south, the basin rapidly filled with sediment.
Over time, this constant buildup added thousands of feet of rock deposits to the basin. These deposits carried in organic rich materials, the source for the creation of hydrocarbons in the area.
Then during the next 55 million years, during periods of erosion and deposition, an additional 4,500 feet of the famous red beds of Oklahoma were slowly added to the pile.
The Wichita Mountains of Southern Oklahoma are all that remain of the majestic mountain range that stood there 200 million years ago.
Finally, during the last 200 million years, the great period of the dinosaurs, Oklahoma was periodically covered by shallow seas.
These sedimentary layers have long since been eroded away and carried to the Gulf of Mexico, the great sedimentary basin of our modern day.
Today, this very thick volume of layered sedimentary rock in all its complexity provides modern day explorers many opportunities to discover commercial quantities of oil and natural gas.
From the Nemaha Ridge on the East to the Panhandle on the West, early explorers began to discover significant oil and gas. The Tonkawa and Garber Fields found sufficient oil to cause refineries to be built on location.
Early gas discoveries out west struggled to find markets for the gas, but were developed none the less.
Then the Giant Guymon-Hugoton Field became one of the largest gas fields in the world. Gas and oil migrating out of the deep Anadarko Basin could go no further, and filled all available reservoir rock. By the 1960’s, the Sooner Trend was developed across five counties.
Using water fracs to treat the Mississippian Limestones, the wells were drilled on every quarter section and millions of dollars were made for royalty owners, early day companies, and state tax revenues.
Today, horizontal drilling and even more efficient fracture treatment technologies are keeping this mature area active in many areas producing hydrocarbons from multiple sandstone, limestone, and even shale formations.
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