The Cement oil field, Oklahoma, was a test site for an experiment designed to evaluate LANDSAT's capability to detect an alteration zone in surface rocks caused by hydrocarbon microseepage. Loss of iron and impregnation of sandstone by carbonate cements and replacement of gypsum by calcite are the major alteration phenomena at Cement. The bedrock alterations are partially masked by unaltered overlying beds, thick soils, and dense natural and cultivated vegetation. Interpreters biased by detailed ground truth were able to map the alteration zone subjectively using a magnified, filtered, and sinusoidally stretched LANDSAT composite image; other interpreters, unbiased by ground truth data, could not duplicate that interpretation.
Similar techniques were applied at a secondary test site (Garza oil field, Texas), where similar alterations in surface rocks occur. Enhanced LANDSAT images resolved the alteration zone to a biased interpreter and some individual altered outcrops could be mapped using higher resolution SKYLAB color and conventional black and white aerial photographs suggesting repeat experiments with LANDSAT C and D.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Late diagenetic indicators of buried oil and gas: II, Direct detection experiment at Cement and Garza oil fields, Oklahoma and Texas, using enhanced LANDSAT I and II images