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September Luncheon Meeting
September Luncheon Meeting

Tue, Sep 21


Museum of the Southwest

September Luncheon Meeting

Stratigraphic Framework of the Wolfcamp - Spraberry, Midland Basin - Lowell Waite, UT Dallas

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Time & Location

Sep 21, 2021, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM CDT

Museum of the Southwest, 1705 W Missouri Ave, Midland, TX 79701, USA


About The Event

LOCATION: Luncheon will be held at the Museum of the Southwest in the Blakemore Planetarium.

TOPIC: Stratigraphic Framework of the Wolfcamp - Spraberry, Midland Basin

ABSTRACT: The Midland Basin of west Texas contains numerous large conventional oil and gas fields, including the giant Kelly -Snyder field (Penn. reef, Horseshoe Atoll) and Spraberry Trend (early Permian deep-water clastics). Recently, the Wolfcamp shale and Spraberry Formation have emerged as two of the nation’s leading unconventional plays. Bounded by the Lower Strawn Limestone below and by middle Permian units above, this thick (~4,000 ft.) package of strata record the history of basin-fill during Late Pennsylvanian - early Permian time. To facilitate the development of these massive unconventional resources, the Wolfcamp – Spraberry interval is now informally subdivided into a number of lithostrati-graphic-based operational units and sub-units. Major units include, from oldest to youngest, the Wolfcamp D, Wolfcamp C, Wolfcamp B, Wolfcamp A, Dean, Lower Leonard Shale, Jo Mill, and the Lower, Middle, and Upper Spraberry.

The Wolfcamp D consists of a series of semi-starved, basinal cyclothems deposited during the Late Pennsylvanian icehouse. The Wolfcamp C is a predominantly clay-rich shale representing the distal portions of large delta systems that rapid progradedacross the Eastern Shelf. During the upper portion of Wolfcamp C time, the Glasscock Nose was constructed by a series of mounded/progradational deep water carbonate flows (carbonate drift deltas?). Concurrently, regional structural movements within the Central Basin Uplift resulted in formation of the mid-Wolfcampunconformity along the western flank of the Midland Basin. The Wolfcamp B and Wolfcamp A constitute a thick series of organic-rich, silt- and calcareous-rich mud rocks currently residing in the peak oil generative window. Deposition of the Wolfcampshale was terminated by the first major incursion of deep-water clastics, represented by the Dean sandstone. This was followed by deposition of the Lower Leonard shale, Jo Mill, Lower Spraberry, Middle Spraberry, and Upper Spraberry, a series of silty mudstones and clay-rich siltstones punctuated by numerous deep-water submarine fan complexes containing massive to laminated, fine-grained sandstones. The Dean through Upper Spraberryunits are stratigraphically-equivalent to the Bone Spring of the Delaware Basin.

Each Wolfcamp – Spraberryoperational unit is geologically unique, the product of a dynamic set of tectonic, climatic, sedimentologic, oceanographic, and biological factors that characterize the Late Pennsylvanian – early Permian setting of western Pangea. Analysis of regional sea-level curves tie specific operational units to particular periods of long-term lowstands and highstandsencapsulating the Late Pennsylvanian icehouse and transition to an early Permian greenhouse. Understanding of the regional geologic setting and sea-level history of these rocks helps unravel the complex lithologies and stratigraphy observed on seismic, logs, and in cores. Recognition of the geologic uniqueness of each operational unit also assists geologists and engineers during the drilling, targeting, completion, and development phases of these important unconventional resources.

BIOGRAPHY: Lowell Waite received his B.S. in Geology from the University of Michigan and an M.S. in Geology from the University of Texas at Arlington. He was employed by Mobil Oil Corp., and Pioneer Natural Resources, researching carbonates for domestic and inter-national E&P, in classic petroleum regions, including North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Venezuela, Mexico, U.S. Gulf of Mexico, and the Permian Basin. His teaching focus at UT Dallas is on petroleum systems and basins, to better prepare students for employment in the oil and gas industry.

Lowell served in the United States Navy Reserve and is a member of AAPG, SEPM, GSA, SIPES, and the Dallas Geologic Society.


  • Pre-Registration

    This ticket is for a lunch at the Museum of the Southwest purchased before the deadline, Friday, 09/17/2021.

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    This ticket is for a lunch at the Museum of the Southwest. RSVP must be before the deadline, Friday, 09/17/2021, and pay at the door.

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  • Student

    This ticket is for a lunch at the Museum of the Southwest, purchased before the deadline Friday 09/17/2021 for full time students. Please bring student ID to check in.

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  • Virtual

    This ticket is to watch the luncheon live using the GoToMeeting virtual application.

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  • Bring Your Own Lunch

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