Three seismic reflectors are present throughout the lower Cook Inlet basin and can be correlated with onshore geologic features. The reflections come from unconformities at the base of the Tertiary sequence, at the base of Upper Cretaceous rocks, and near the base of Upper Jurassic strata.
A contour map of the deepest horizon shows that Mesozoic rocks are formed into a northeast-trending syncline. Along the southeast flank of the basin, the northwest-dipping Mesozoic rocks are truncated at the base of Tertiary rocks.
The Augustine-Seldovia arch trends across the basin axis between Augustine Island and Seldovia. Tertiary rocks thin onto the arch from the north and south. Numerous anticlines, smaller in structural relief and breadth than the Augustine-Seldovia arch, trend northeast parallel with the basin, and intersect the arch at oblique angles.
The stratigraphic record shows four cycles of sedimentation and tectonism that are bounded by three regional unconformities in lower Cook Inlet and by four thrust faults and the modern Benioff zone in flysch rocks of the Kenai Peninsula and the Gulf of Alaska. The four cycles of sedimentation are, from oldest to youngest, the early Mesozoic, late Mesozoic, early Cenozoic, and late Cenozoic.
Data on organic geochemistry of the rocks from one well suggest that Middle Jurassic strata may be a source of hydrocarbons. Seismic data show that structural traps are formed by northeast-trending anticlines and by structures formed at the intersections of these anticlines with the transbasin arch. Stratigraphic traps may be formed beneath the unconformity at the base of Tertiary strata and beneath unconformities within Mesozoic strata.