Basin Evolution (basin + evolution)

Distribution by Scientific Domains


Selected Abstracts


Basin evolution, diagenesis and uranium mineralization in the Paleoproterozic Thelon Basin, Nunavut, Canada

BASIN RESEARCH, Issue 3 2010
Eric E. Hiatt
ABSTRACT The Paleoproterozoic (Statherian) Thelon Basin is located in the Churchill Province of the Canadian Shield, formed following the Trans-Hudson Orogeny. Basin formation followed an interval of felsic volcanism and weathering of underlying bedrock. The diagenetic evolution of the Thelon lasted about one billion years and was punctuated by fluid movement influenced by tectonic events. Early quartz cements formed in well-sorted, quartz-rich facies during diagenetic stage 1; fluids in which these overgrowths formed had ,18O values near 0, (Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water). Uranium-rich apatite cement (P1) also formed during diagenetic stage 1 indicating that oxygenated, uranium-bearing pore water was present in the basin early in its diagenetic history. Syntaxial quartz cement (Q1) formed in water with ,18O from ,4 to ,0.8, in diagenetic stage 2. Diagenetic stage 3 occurred when the Thelon Formation was at ca. 5 km depth, and was marked by extensive illitization, alteration of detrital grains, and uranium mineralization. Basin-wide, illite crystallized at ,200 C by fluids with ,18O values of 5,9, and ,D values of ,60 to ,31,, consistent with evolved basinal brines. Tectonism caused by the accretion of Nena at ca. 1600 Ma may have provided the mechanism for brine movement during deep burial. Diagenetic stage 4 is associated with fracturing and emplacement of mafic dikes at ca. 1300 Ma, quartz cement (Q3) in fractures and vugs, further illitization, and recrystallization of uraninite (U2). Q3 cements have fluid inclusions that suggest variable salinities, ,18O values of 1.5,9,, and ,D values of ,97 to ,83, for stage 4 brines. K-feldspar and Mg-chlorite formed during diagenetic stage 5 at ca. 1000 Ma in upper stratigraphic sequences, and in the west. These phases precipitated from low-temperature, isotopically distinct fluids. Their distribution indicates that the basin hydrostratigraphy remained partitioned for >600 Ma. [source]


Close range digital photogrammetric analysis of experimental drainage basin evolution

EARTH SURFACE PROCESSES AND LANDFORMS, Issue 3 2003
J. Brasington
Abstract Despite the difficulties of establishing formal hydraulic and geometric similarity, small-scale models of drainage basins have often been used to investigate the evolution and dynamics of larger-scale landforms. Historically, this analysis has been restricted to planform basin characteristics and only in the last decade has the topographic similarity of experimental landscapes been explored through explicitly three-dimensional parameters such as the distributions of cumulative drainage area, area,slope and catchment elevation. The current emphasis on three-dimensional morphometry reflects a growing awareness of the descriptive paucity of planform data and the need for more robust analysis of spatial scaling relationships. This paradigm shift has been significantly facilitated by technological developments in topographic survey and digital elevation modelling (DEM) which now present the opportunity to acquire and analyse high-resolution, distributed elevation data. Few studies have, however, attempted to use topographic modelling to provide information on the changing pattern and rate of sediment transport though an evolving landscape directly by using multitemporal DEM differencing techniques. This paper reports a laboratory study in which digital photogrammetry was employed to derive high-resolution DEMs of a simulated landscape in declining equilibrium at 15 minute frequency through a 240 minute simulation. Detailed evaluation of the DEMs revealed a vertical precision of 12 mm and threshold level of change detection between surfaces of 3 mm at the 95 per cent confidence level. This quality assurance set the limits for determining the volumetric change between surfaces, which was used to recover the sediment budget through the experiment and to examine local - and basin-scale rates of sediment transport. A comparison of directly observed and morphometric estimates of sediment yield at the basin outlet was used to quantify the closure of the sediment budget over the simulation, and revealed an encouragingly small 62 per cent error. The application of this dynamic morphological approach has the potential to offer new insights into the controls on landform development, as demonstrated here by an analysis of the changing pattern of the basin sediment delivery ratio during network growth. Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]


Equations of state for basin geofluids: algorithm review and intercomparison for brines

GEOFLUIDS (ELECTRONIC), Issue 4 2002
J. J. Adams
ABSTRACT Physical properties of formation waters in sedimentary basins can vary by more than 25% for density and by one order of magnitude for viscosity. Density differences may enhance or retard flow driven by other mechanisms and can initiate buoyancy-driven flow. For a given driving force, the flow rate and injectivity depend on viscosity and permeability. Thus, variations in the density and viscosity of formation waters may have or had a significant effect on the flow pattern in a sedimentary basin, with consequences for various basin processes. Therefore, it is critical to correctly estimate water properties at formation conditions for proper representation and interpretation of present flow systems, and for numerical simulations of basin evolution, hydrocarbon migration, ore genesis, and fate of injected fluids in sedimentary basins. Algorithms published over the years to calculate water density and viscosity as a function of temperature, pressure and salinity are based on empirical fitting of laboratory-measured properties of predominantly NaCl solutions, but also field brines. A review and comparison of various algorithms are presented here, both in terms of applicability range and estimates of density and viscosity. The paucity of measured formation-water properties at in situ conditions hinders a definitive conclusion regarding the validity of any of these algorithms. However, the comparison indicates the versatility of the various algorithms in various ranges of conditions found in sedimentary basins. The applicability of these algorithms to the density of formation waters in the Alberta Basin is also examined using a high-quality database of 4854 water analyses. Consideration is also given to the percentage of cations that are heavier than Na in the waters. [source]


A RAPID METHOD OF QUANTIFYING THE RESOLUTION LIMITS OF HEAT-FLOW ESTIMATES IN BASIN MODELS

JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM GEOLOGY, Issue 2 2008
A. Beha
Deterministic forward models are commonly used to quantify the processes accompanying basin evolution. Here, we describe a workflow for the rapid calibration of palaeo heat-flow behaviour. The method determines the heat-flow history which best matches the observed data, such as vitrinite reflectance, which is used to indicate the thermal maturity of a sedimentary rock. A limiting factor in determining the heat-flow history is the ability of the algorithm used in the software for the maturity calculation to resolve information inherent in the measured data. Thermal maturation is controlled by the temperature gradient in the basin over time and is therefore greatly affected by maximum burial depth. Calibration, i.e. finding the thermal history model which best fits the observed data (e.g. vitrinite reflectance), can be a time-consuming exercise. To shorten this process, a simple pseudo-inverse model is used to convert the complex thermal behaviour obtained from a basin simulator into more simple behaviour, using a relatively simple equation. By comparing the calculated "simple" maturation trend with the observed data points using the suggested workflow, it becomes relatively straightforward to evaluate the range within which a best-fit model will be found. Reverse mapping from the simple model to the complex behaviour results in precise values for the heat-flow which can then be applied to the basin model. The goodness-of-fit between the modelled and observed data can be represented by the Mean Squared Residual (MSR) during the calibration process. This parameter shows the mean squared difference between all measured data and the respective predicted maturities. A minimum MSR value indicates the "best fit". Case studies are presented of two wells in the Horn Graben, Danish North Sea. In both wells calibrating the basin model using a constant heat-flow over time is not justified, and a more complex thermal history must be considered. The pseudo-inverse method was therefore applied iteratively to investigate more complex heat-flow histories. Neither in the observed maturity data nor in the recorded stratigraphy was there evidence for erosion which would have influenced the present-day thermal maturity pattern, and heat-flow and time were therefore the only variables investigated. The aim was to determine the simplest "best-fit" heat-flow history which could be resolved at the maximum resolution given by the measured maturity data. The conclusion was that basin models in which the predicted maturity of sedimentary rocks is calibrated solely against observed vitrinite reflectance data cannot provide information on the timing of anomalies in the heat-flow history. The pseudo inverse method, however, allowed the simplest heat-flow history that best fits the observed data to be found. [source]


IMPACT OF MAGMATISM ON PETROLEUM SYSTEMS IN THE SVERDRUP BASIN, CANADIAN ARCTIC ISLANDS, NUNAVUT: A NUMERICAL MODELLING STUDY

JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM GEOLOGY, Issue 3 2007
S.F. Jones
Numerical modelling is used to investigate for the first time the interactions between a petroleum system and sill intrusion in the NE Sverdrup Basin, Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Although hydrocarbonexploration has been successful in the western Sverdrup Basin, the results in the NE part of thebasin have been disappointing, despite the presence of suitable Mesozoic source rocks, migrationpaths and structural/stratigraphic traps, many involving evaporites. This was explained by (i) theformation of structural traps during basin inversion in the Eocene, after the main phase ofhydrocarbon generation, and/or (ii) the presence of evaporite diapirs locally modifying the geothermalgradient, leading to thermal overmaturity of hydrocarbons. This study is the first attempt at modellingthe intrusion of Cretaceous sills in the east-central Sverdrup Basin, and to investigate how theymay have affected the petroleum system. A one-dimensional numerical model, constructed using PetroMod9.0, investigates the effectsof rifting and magmatic events on the thermal history and on petroleum generation at the DepotPoint L-24 well, eastern Axel Heiberg Island (7923,40,N, 8544,22,W). The thermal history isconstrained by vitrinite reflectance and fission-track data, and by the tectonic history. The simulationidentifies the time intervals during which hydrocarbons were generated, and illustrates the interplaybetween hydrocarbon production and igneous activity at the time of sill intrusion during the EarlyCretaceous. The comparison of the petroleum and magmatic systems in the context of previouslyproposed models of basin evolution and renewed tectonism was an essential step in the interpretationof the results from the Depot Point L-24 well. The model results show that an episode of minor renewed rifting and widespread sill intrusionin the Early Cretaceous occurred after hydrocarbon generation ceased at about 220 Ma in theHare Fiord and Van Hauen Formations. We conclude that the generation potential of these deeperformations in the eastern Sverdrup Basin was not likely to have been affected by the intrusion ofmafic sills during the Early Cretaceous. However, the model suggests that in shallower sourcerocks such as the Blaa Mountain Formation, rapid generation of natural gas occurred at 125 Ma, contemporaneous with tectonic rejuvenation and sill intrusion in the east-central Sverdrup Basin. A sensitivity study shows that the emplacement of sills increased the hydrocarbon generation ratesin the Blaa Mountain Formation, and facilitated the production of gas rather than oil. [source]


DOLOMITIZATION OF THE EARLY EOCENE JIRANI DOLOMITE FORMATION, GABES-TRIPOLI BASIN, WESTERN OFFSHORE, LIBYA

JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM GEOLOGY, Issue 4 2000
I. Y. Mriheel
Dolomitization in the early Eocene Jirani Formation in the Gabes-Tripoli Basin (offshore western Libya) occurred in two stages. Stage I dolomites are composed of two types, one associated with anhydrite (Type I) the other anhydrite free (Type II,). The stratigraphic and sedimentological settings together with petrographic and geochemical criteria suggest that dolomitization was effected by refluxed evaporative seawater. Stable isotope and trace element analyses suggest dolomitization of both Types from a fluid of near-surface seawater composition under oxidising conditions modified by evaporation. Non-luminescence and lack ofzonation of all the dolomite indicate that the dolomitizing fluids maintained a relatively constant composition. The geologic setting during the early Eocene, interpreted as hypersaline lagoon, supports an evaporative reflux origin for the anhydritic dolomite Type I. Type II developed under less saline conditions in the transition zone between lagoon and open marine shelf. Stage II dolomitization is recorded by negative isotope values in both Types I and II indicating their dissolution and recrystallization (neomorphism) by dilute solutions. A period of exposure of the overlying Jdeir Formation following a relative sea-level fall allowed ingress of meteoric waters into both the Jdeir and the underlying Jirani Formations. Flushing by meteoric waters also resulted in development of excellent secondaly porosity and caused major dissolution of anhydrite to form the anhydritic-free dolomite facies typical of Type II. Following, and possibly during, both Stages I and II, low temperature dolomites (Type IIIa) precipitated in pore spaces from residual jluids at shallow burial depths, partially occluding porosity. In the late stage of basin evolution, medium clystalline, pore-filling saddle dolomite precipitated, causing some filling of mouldic and vuggy porosity (Type IIIb). Very light oxygen isotopic signatures confirm that it developed from high temperature fluids during deep burial diagenesis. Calculation of temperatures and timings of the dolomitization and cement phases show that the main dolomitization phases and Type IIIa cements occurred in the early Eocene, and that the saddle dolomite precipitated in the Miocene; these results are consistent with age relationships established from stratigraphic, petrographic and geochemical signatures. The most common porosity includes intercrystal, vuggy and mouldic types. Porosity is both pre-dolomitization and syn-dolomitization in origin, but the latter is the most dominant. Hence, reservoir quality is largely controlled by fluid dynamics. [source]


Mudstone compaction curves in basin modelling: a study of Mesozoic and Cenozoic Sediments in the northern North Sea

BASIN RESEARCH, Issue 3 2010
. Marcussen
ABSTRACT Basin modelling studies are carried out in order to understand the basin evolution and palaeotemperature history of sedimentary basins. The results of basin modelling are sensitive to changes in the physical properties of the rocks in the sedimentary sequences. The rate of basin subsidence depends, to a large extent, on the density of the sedimentary column, which is largely dependent on the porosity and therefore on the rate of compaction. This study has tested the sensitivity of varying porosity/depth curves and related thermal conductivities for the Cenozoic succession along a cross-section in the northern North Sea basin, offshore Norway. End-member porosity/depth curves, assuming clay with smectite and kaolinite properties, are compared with a standard compaction curve for shale normally applied to the North Sea. Using these alternate relationships, basin geometries of the Cenozoic succession may vary up to 15% from those predicted using the standard compaction curve. Isostatic subsidence along the cross-section varies 2.3,4.6% between the two end-member cases. This leads to a 3,8% difference in tectonic subsidence, with maximum values in the basin centre. Owing to this, the estimated stretching factors vary up to 7.8%, which further gives rise to a maximum difference in heat flow of more than 8.5% in the basin centre. The modelled temperatures for an Upper Jurassic source rock show a deviation of more than 20 C at present dependent on the thermal conductivity properties in the post-rift succession. This will influence the modelled hydrocarbon generation history of the basin, which is an essential output from basin modelling analysis. Results from the northern North Sea have shown that varying compaction trends in sediments with varying thermal properties are important parameters to constrain when analysing sedimentary basins. [source]


Alluvial fan development and morpho-tectonic evolution in response to contractional fault reactivation (Late Cretaceous,Palaeocene), Provence, France

BASIN RESEARCH, Issue 2 2009
S. Leleu
ABSTRACT Along-strike variability within a Late Cretaceous to early Palaeocene contractional growth structure and associated alluvial fan deposits is documented at the northern margin of the Arc Basin (Provence, SE France). This contribution shows that alluvial fans can be used as high-resolution proxies to reconstruct structural segmentation and palaeo-geomorphological evolution of a source/basin margin system. Facies-based reconstruction allows the spatial and temporal distribution of alluvial fan bodies to be mapped. Relationships between fan area and catchment size from modern alluvial fan systems were used to estimate palaeo-catchment size. Combining alluvial fan morphologies with catchment area, pebble provenance analysis and growth structure reconstruction, we show that: (1) fan distribution and related depositional processes were strongly influenced by intrinsic parameters such as drainage basin evolution, local structural inheritance and lateral facies changes in source area lithologies; (2) Inherited structures trending N100 effectively controlled the first-order location of the fold and thrust structures (Montagne Sainte-Victoire Range) and adjacent depositional areas (Arc Basin); (3) Syn-sedimentary faults trending N010-030 influenced the source/basin margin development and interacted with developing growth structures; (4) Facies changes in Jurassic carbonates controlled fold development and consequently the structural evolution of the source area; and (5) the N010-030 faults and along-strike variability of the source/basin margin system were ultimately controlled by basement structures that controlled where Late C etaceous deformation nucleated. The overall architecture of the source/basin margin system reflects segmentation and strain partitioning along strike, as demonstrated by diachronous alluvial fan distribution. [source]


Unravelling the multi-stage burial history of the Swiss Molasse Basin: integration of apatite fission track, vitrinite reflectance and biomarker isomerisation analysis

BASIN RESEARCH, Issue 1 2006
Martin Mazurek
ABSTRACT A complex basin evolution was studied using various methods, including thermal constraints based on apatite fission-track (AFT) analysis, vitrinite reflectance (VR) and biomarker isomerisation, in addition to a detailed analysis of the regional stratigraphic record and of the lithological properties. The study indicates that (1) given the substantial amount of data, the distinction and characterisation of successive stages of heating and burial in the same area are feasible, and (2) the three thermal indicators (AFT, VR and biomarkers) yield internally consistent thermal histories, which supports the validity of the underlying kinetic algorithms and their applicability to natural basins. All data pertaining to burial and thermal evolution were integrated in a basin model, which provides constraints on the thickness of eroded sections and on heat flow over geologic time. Three stages of basin evolution occurred in northern Switzerland. The Permo-Carboniferous strike,slip basin was characterised by high geothermal gradients (80,100C km,1) and maximum temperature up to 160C. After the erosion of a few hundreds of metres in the Permian, the post-orogenic, epicontinental Mesozoic basin developed in Central Europe, with subsidence triggered by several stages of rifting. Geothermal gradients in northern Switzerland during Cretaceous burial were relatively high (35,40C km,1), and maximum temperature typically reached 75C (top middle Jurassic) to 100C (base Mesozoic). At least in the early Cretaceous, a stage of increased heat flow is needed to explain the observed maturity level. After erosion of 600,700 m of Cretaceous and late Jurassic strata during the Paleocene, the wedge-shaped Molasse Foreland Basin developed. Geothermal gradients were low at this time (,20C km,1). Maximum temperature of Miocene burial exceeded that of Cretaceous burial in proximal parts (<35 km from the Alpine front), but was lower in more distal parts (>45 km). Thus, maximum temperature as well as maximum burial depth ever reached in Mesozoic strata occurred at different times in different regions. Since the Miocene, 750,1050 m were eroded, a process that still continues in the proximal parts of the basin. Current average geothermal gradients in the uppermost 2500 m are elevated (32,47C km,1). They are due to a Quaternary increase of heat flow, most probably triggered by limited advective heat transport along Paleozoic faults in the crystalline basement. [source]


Normal fault growth and early syn-rift sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy: Thal Fault, Suez Rift, Egypt

BASIN RESEARCH, Issue 4 2003
Mike J. Young
This paper investigates the tectono-stratigraphic development of a major, segmented rift border fault (Thal Fault) during ca. 6 Myr of initial rifting in the Suez Rift, Egypt. The Thal Fault is interpreted to have evolved by the progressive linkage of at least four fault segments. We focus on two contrasting structural settings in its hangingwall: Gushea, towards the northern tip of the fault, and Musaba Salaama, ca. 20 km along-strike to the south, towards the centre of the fault. The early syn-rift stratigraphic succession passes upwards from continental facies, through a condensed marginal marine shell-rich facies, into fully marine shoreface sandstone and offshore mudstone. Regionally correlatable stratal surfaces within this succession define time-equivalent stratal units that exhibit considerable along-strike variability in thickness and facies architecture. During the initial ca. 6 Myr of rifting, the thickest stratigraphy developed towards the centre of the array of fault segments that subsequently hard linked to form the Thal Fault. Thus, a displacement gradient existed between fault segments at the centre and tip of the fault array, suggesting that the fault segments interacted, and a fixed length was established for the fault array, at an early stage in rifting. Towards the centre of the Thal Fault the early syn-rift succession shows pronounced thickening away from the fault and towards a series of intra-block antithetic faults that were active for up to ca. 6 Myr. This indicates that a large proportion of fault-controlled subsidence during the initial ca. 6 Myr of rifting occurred in the hangingwalls of antithetic intra-block faults, and not the present-day Thal Fault. The antithetic faults progressively switched off during rifting such that after ca. 6 Myr of rifting, fault-activity had localised on the Thal Fault enabling it to accrue to the present-day high level of displacement. Aspects of the development of the Thal Fault appear to be in contrast to many models of fault evolution that predict large-displacement rift-climax faults to have always had the greatest displacement during fault population evolution. This study has implications for tectono-stratigraphic development during early rift basin evolution. In particular, we stress that caution must be taken when relating final rift-climax fault structure to the early tectono-stratigraphy, as these may differ considerably. [source]


Carbonate sedimentation in a starved pull-apart basin, Middle to Late Devonian, southern Guilin, South China

BASIN RESEARCH, Issue 2 2001
D. Chen
ABSTRACT Geological mapping and sedimentological investigations in the Guilin region, South China, have revealed a spindle- to rhomb-shaped basin filled with Devonian shallow- to deep-water carbonates. This Yangshuo Basin is interpreted as a pull-apart basin created through secondary, synthetic strike-slip faulting induced by major NNE,SSW-trending, sinistral strike-slip fault zones. These fault zones were initially reactivated along intracontinental basement faults in the course of northward migration of the South China continent. The nearly N,S-trending margins of the Yangshuo Basin, approximately coinciding with the strike of regional fault zones, were related to the master strike-slip faults; the NW,SE-trending margins were related to parallel, oblique-slip extensional faults. Nine depositional sequences recognized in Givetian through Frasnian strata can be grouped into three sequence sets (Sequences 1,2, 3,5 and 6,9), reflecting three major phases of basin evolution. During basin nucleation, most basin margins were dominated by stromatoporoid biostromes and bioherms, upon a low-gradient shelf. Only at the steep, fault-controlled, eastern margin were thick stromatoporoid reefs developed. The subsequent progressive offset and pull-apart of the master strike-slip faults during the late Givetian intensified the differential subsidence and produced a spindle-shaped basin. The accelerated subsidence of the basin centre led to sediment starvation, reduced current circulation and increased environmental stress, leading to the extensive development of microbial buildups on platform margins and laminites in the basin centre. Stromatoporoid reefs only survived along the windward, eastern margin for a short time. The architectures of the basin margins varied from aggradation (or slightly backstepping) in windward positions (eastern and northern margins) to moderate progradation in leeward positions. A relay ramp was present in the north-west corner between the northern oblique fault zone and the proximal part of the western master fault. In the latest Givetian (corresponding to the top of Sequence 5), a sudden subsidence of the basin induced by further offset of the strike-slip faults was accompanied by the rapid uplift of surrounding carbonate platforms, causing considerable platform-margin collapse, slope erosion, basin deepening and the demise of the microbialites. Afterwards, stromatoporoid reefs were only locally restored on topographic highs along the windward margin. However, a subsequent, more intense basin subsidence in the early Frasnian (top of Sequence 6), which was accompanied by a further sharp uplift of platforms, caused more profound slope erosion and platform backstepping. Poor circulation and oxygen-depleted waters in the now much deeper basin centre led to the deposition of chert, with silica supplied by hydrothermal fluids through deep-seated faults. Two ,subdeeps' were diagonally arranged in the distal parts of the master faults, and the relay ramp was destroyed. At this time, all basin margins except the western one evolved into erosional types with gullies through which granular platform sediments were transported by gravity flows to the basin. This situation persisted into the latest Frasnian. This case history shows that the carbonate platform architecture and evolution in a pull-apart basin were not only strongly controlled by the tectonic activity, but also influenced by the oceanographic setting (i.e. windward vs. leeward) and environmental factors. [source]


Depositional and tectonic evolution of a supradetachment basin: 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of the Nova Formation, Panamint Range, California

BASIN RESEARCH, Issue 1 2000
N. P. Snyder
The Nova Basin contains an upper Miocene to Pliocene supradetachment sedimentary succession that records the unroofing of the Panamint metamorphic core complex, west of Death Valley, California. Basin stratigraphy reflects the evolution of sedimentation processes from landslide emplacement during basin initiation to the development of alluvial fans composed of reworked, uplifted sections of the basin fill. 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of volcanic units in middle and lower parts of the sequence provide age control on the tectonic and depositional evolution of the basin and, more generally, insights regarding the rate of change of depositional environments in supradetachment basins. Our work, along with earlier research, indicate basin deposition from 11.38 Ma to 3.35 Ma. The data imply sedimentation rates, uncorrected for compaction, of ~100 m Myr,1 in the lower, high-energy part to ~1000 m Myr,1 in the middle part characterized by debris-flow fan deposition. The observed variation in sediment flux rate during basin evolution suggests that supradetachment basins have complex depositional histories involving rapid transitions in both the style and rate of sedimentation. [source]


Oil and Gas Accumulation in the Foreland Basins, Central and Western China

ACTA GEOLOGICA SINICA (ENGLISH EDITION), Issue 2 2010
Yan SONG
Abstract: Foreland basin represents one of the most important hydrocarbon habitats in central and western China. To distinguish these foreland basins regionally, and according to the need of petroleum exploration and favorable exploration areas, the foreland basins in central and western China can be divided into three structural types: superimposed, retrogressive and reformative foreland basin (or thrust belt), each with distinctive petroleum system characteristics in their petroleum system components (such as the source rock, reservoir rock, caprock, time of oil and gas accumulation, the remolding of oil/gas reservoir after accumulation, and the favorable exploration area, etc.). The superimposed type foreland basins, as exemplified by the Kuqa Depression of the Tarim Basin, characterized by two stages of early and late foreland basin development, typically contain at least two hydrocarbon source beds, one deposited in the early foreland development and another in the later fault-trough lake stage. Hydrocarbon accumulations in this type of foreland basin often occur in multiple stages of the basin development, though most of the highly productive pools were formed during the late stage of hydrocarbon migration and entrapment (Himalayan period). This is in sharp contrast to the retrogressive foreland basins (only developing foreland basin during the Permian to Triassic) such as the western Sichuan Basin, where prolific hydrocarbon source rocks are associated with sediments deposited during the early stages of the foreland basin development. As a result, hydrocarbon accumulations in retrogressive foreland basins occur mainly in the early stage of basin evolution. The reformative foreland basins (only developing foreland basin during the Himalayan period) such as the northern Qaidam Basin, in contrast, contain organic-rich, lacustrine source rocks deposited only in fault-trough lake basins occurring prior to the reformative foreland development during the late Cenozoic, with hydrocarbon accumulations taking place relatively late (Himalayan period). Therefore, the ultimate hydrocarbon potentials in the three types of foreland basins are largely determined by the extent of spatial and temporal matching among the thrust belts, hydrocarbon source kitchens, and regional and local caprocks. [source]