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Flow-sheet of laboratory treatment of field-samples Figure 1 A: Spot-map as submitted by the field-geologist Figure 1 B: Corresponding palaeontological spot-map, using symbols as defined below Figure 1 C: Stratigraphic column derived from field geology and washed residue studies Figure 2 A: Unmodified form of distribution chart Figure 2 B: Species-grouped according to their zonal ranges on the original chart Figure 2 A Figure 2 C: Distribution chart representing the data of Figure 2 A modified to emphasize the faunae assemblage of each zone Figure 3: Illustrating the integration of local stratigraphic columns Figure 4 A: Correlation and classification of sediments in the Naparima Basin of Trinidad Table 1: Ranges of some planktonic foraminifera in the Naparima Basin Figure 5 A: Initial interpretation based on reconnaissance study of outcrops and fossils Figure 5 B: Revised interpretation incorporating zonation based on planktonic foraminifera Figure 5 C: Interpretation based on extended field studies, well evidence, and detailed micropalaeontology Figure 6: Cyclical repetition of facies in the Miocene of Trinidad Figure 7: Facies-pattern over a buried ridge.
Based on the Talara formation of Peru. The depositional distory of the Mal Paso formation in N. Peru Figure 9 A: Frequency ratios of selected ecologically restricted species Figure 9 B: Hypothetical Ras pre emption thesis showing the levels at which different faunules are dominant Figure Though fascinating to the layman as much as to the expert scientist, the reconstruction of ancient creatures and their environment is seldom applicable to material problems of human welfare.
The location of aquifers, of structurally sound or unsound bases for large structures, of beds of coal, and similar problems of structural geology may be simplified by attention to the fossils present in neighbouring rock exposures, but usually the solution can be found without their aid.
In sharp contrast to the general case, palaeontology is applied extensively and indispensably in solving the structural problems associated with the discovery of petroleum.
The need arose for a method of subdividing great thicknesses of lithologically uniform beds and of distinguishing between similar sediments known to lie both above and below certain oil sands. Palaeontology has filled this need, since the vertical ranges of fossils are limited and a given assemblage of forms can only occur within a fixed zone.
A drawback to the practical use of most fossils lies in their limited availability: Under these conditions the finding of normal-sized molluscs, echinoids and other familiar megafossils becomes a matter of chance. Recourse must therefore be made to microscopic fossils so small that a representative suite may reasonably be expected in a few ounces of rock from a given formation, whether the sample be from an outcrop, a test-pit, an auger hole or a deep well.
Following up the promising results of a few pioneer studentsseveral oil companies in the United States began to experiment with micropalaeontological correlation in the second decade of this century.
The value of the results proved so high that by now the absence of a micropalaeontological laboratory within the geological department of an oil company is unusual. The expanding role of applied micropalaeontology may be followed in a series of presidential addresses to the American geological institutions, since every few years the president has chosen to review the current state of petroleum geology and ancillary sciences.
At first the new tool was regarded with hope tempered with misgiving. The similarity of many Recent and Tertiary microfaunas was held by some to nullify the value of microfossils in zonation, but experience proved these pessimists wrong.
Micropalaeontology thus became an accepted branch of petroleum geology, ranking equally with field geology, geophysical prospecting, and electric well logging in its contributions to the solution of structural and stratigraphical problems encountered in the search for oil.
A more recent development has been the application of micropalaeontology to regional palaeogeography, a line of research which naturally followed the trend of search for oil in stratigraphical traps. The great East Texas fieldin particular, showed that faulted and anticlinal structures were not necessary for major accumulations of oil.
The isolation of porous beds could be due to depositional factors such as differential current-sorting, offshore gradation of sands into clays, reef developments or unconformable capping of porous by non-porous beds.
Areas in which these conditions may be expected at depth can be deduced only from palaeogeographical studies which reveal the ancient shorelines and axes of intermittent uplift, the trends along which most interfingering of different types of sediment may be expected below the surface.
The necessity for palaeogeographical research in the location of new petroliferous territory has been mentioned, and the application of micropalaeontology suggested as a more accurate control than the lithological basis of most existing palaeogeographical studies, in the more recent surveys of the status of petroleum geology.
Microfaunal assemblages are closely controlled by ecological factors. Slight changes in temperature, depth, salinity, and bottom conditions may cause a complete change of a marine microfauna, though insufficient to alter the megascopic aspect of the sea-floor sediments. Published data on the ecological distribution of Recent microorganisms are limited, though growing rapidly, but are already adequate for tolerably accurate reconstruction of the life-environment of most microfossil assemblages.
The typical features are known of the living assemblages characteristic of fresh-water, brackish, littoral, neritic, and abyssal facies in different regions of the earth and by a process of extrapolation the ecological significance of extinct forms may be deduced.
Published literature on the application of micropalaeontology to palaeogeography is still in its infancy, though significant reports exist in the confidential files of the major oil companies.This Thesis is brought to you for free and open access by the Graduate School at ScholarWorks at University of Montana.
It has been accepted for inclusion in Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers by an authorized administrator of ScholarWorks at University of Montana.
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INTERPRETIVE METHODS IN APPLIED MICROPALAEONTOLOGY (As Developed in the Petroleum Industry) R.
M. STAINFORTH. INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM COMPANY, Ltd. EXPLORATION DIVISION - PRODUCING COORDINATION DEPARTMENT.
STANDARD OIL COMPANY (NEW JERSEY) Drowning of the pre .