Core chips and drill cuttings from eight of the nine wells drilled along the Bering Sea lowlands of the Alaska Peninsula were subjected to lithologic and paleontologic analyses. Results suggest that at least locally, sedimentary rocks of Tertiary age contain oil and gas source and reservoir rocks capable of generating and accumulating liquid and gas hydrocarbons. Paleogene strata rich in organic carbon are immature. However, strata in offshore basins to the north and south may have been subjected to a more productive thermal environment. Total organic carbon content of fine grained Neogene strata appears to be significantly lower than in Paleogene rocks, possibly reflecting nonmarine or brackish water environments of deposition. Neogene sandstone beds locally yield high values of porosity and permeability to depths of about 8,000 feet (2,439 m). Below this depth, reservoir potential rapidly declines.
The General Petroleum, Great Basins No. 1 well drilled along the shore of Bristol Bay reached granitic rocks. Other wells drilled closer to the axis of the present volcanic arc indicate that both Tertiary and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks have been intruded by dikes and sills of andesite and basalt. Although the Alaska Peninsula has been the locus of igneous activity throughout much of Mesozoic and Tertiary time, thermal maturity indicators such as vitrinite reflectance and coal rank suggest, that on a regional scale, sedimentary rocks have not been subjected to abnormally high geothermal gradients.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Organic geochemistry, lithology, and paleontology of Tertiary and Mesozoic rocks from wells on the Alaska Peninsula