Open File Report 01-480 was designed as a large format poster for the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Society for Sedimentary Geology in Denver Colorado in June 2001. It is reproduced here in digital format to make widely available some unique images of mudstones. The images include description, interpretation, and Rock-Eval data that resulted from a high-resolution study of petroleum source rock variation of the Lower Cretaceous succession of the Mobil-Phillips Mikkelsen Bay State #1 well on the North Slope of Alaska. Our mudstone samples with Rock-Eval data plus color images are significant because they come from one of the few continuously cored and complete intervals of the Lower Cretaceous succession on the North Slope. This succession, which is rarely preserved in outcrop and very rarely cored in the subsurface, is considered to include important petroleum source rocks that have not previously been described nor explained
Another reason these images are unique is that the lithofacies variability within mudstone dominated successions is relatively poorly known in comparison with that observed in coarser clastic and carbonate successions. They are also among the first published scans of thin sections of mudstone, and are of excellent quality because the sections are well made, cut perpendicular to bedding, and unusually thin, 20 microns. For each of 15 samples, we show a thin section scan (cm scale) and an optical photomicrograph (mm scale) that illustrates the variability present. Several backscattered SEM images are also shown. Rock-Eval data for the samples can be compared with the textures and mineralogy present by correlating sample numbers and core depth.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
High resolution study of petroleum source rock variation, Lower Cretaceous (Hauterivian and Barremian) of Mikkelsen Bay, North Slope, Alaska