Paleohydrology of the Anadarko Basin, central United States

Proceedings of a symposium held April 5-6, 1988, at Norman, Oklahoma; cosponsored by the Oklahoma Geological Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey



Geohydrologic systems in the Anadarko basin in the central United States are controlled by topography, climate, geologic structures, and aquifer hydraulic properties, all of which are the result of past geologic and hydrologic processes, including tectonics and diagenesis. From Late Cambrian through Middle Ordovician time, a generally transgressive but cyclic sea covered the area. The first deposits were permPable sand, followed by calcareous mud. During periods of sea transgression, burial diagenesis decreased porosity and permeability. During periods of sea recession, uplift diagenesis increased porosity and permeability, especially in exposed rocks. During most of Silurian and Devonian time, the sea receded; increased porosity and permeability resulted from uplift diagenesis. However, at the end of the Devonian and during the Early Mississippian, very slightly permeable clay, which now is a regional confining unit, was deposited in a mostly euxinic sea. Later during Mississippian time, calcareous muds, which became limestone, were deposited in and adjacent to the Anadarko basin and underwent burial diagenesis. During Pennsylvanian time, rapid sedimentation accompanied rapid subsidence in the Anadarko basin. A geopressure zone probably resulted when sediments with little permeability trapped depositional water in Lower Pennsylvanian sands. Burial diagenesis included compaction and thermal alteration of deeply buried organic material, which released carbon dioxide, water, and hydrocarbons. By Middle Pennsylvanian time, the sea had submerged most of the central United States, including the Ozarks, as tectonic activity reached its maximum. During Late Pennsylvanian and Early Permian time, the Ouachita uplift had been formed and was higher than the Ozarks. Uplift was accompanied by a regional upward tilt toward the Ouachita-Ozarks area; the sea receded westward, depositing large quantities of calcareous mud and clay, and precipitating evaporitic material in the restricted-circulation environment. By the end of Permian time, > 20,000 ft of Pennsylvanian and Permian sediments had been deposited in the Anadarko basin. These thick sediments caused rapid and extreme burial diagenesis, including alteration of organic material. During Permian time in the Ozarks area, development of the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system commenced in the permeable Cambrian-Mississippian rocks near the St. Francois Mountains as the Pennsylvanian confining material was removed. Since Permian time, uplift diagenesis has been more active than burial diagenesis in the Anadarko basin. Synopsis of paleohydrologic interpretation indicates that Cambrian-Mississippian rocks in the Anadarko basin should be relatively impermeable, except for local secondary permeability, because rocks in the basin have undergone little uplift diagenesis.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Book chapter
Publication Subtype:
Book Chapter
Paleohydrology of the Anadarko Basin, central United States
Series number:
Year Published:
Oklahoma Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Norman, OK
18 p.
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Other Government Series
Larger Work Title:
Anadarko Basin symposium (Circular 90)
First page:
Last page:
United States