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Observations on the geology and petroleum potential of the Cold Bay-False Pass area, Alaska Peninsula

January 1, 1994

Upper Jurassic strata in the Black Hills area consist mainly of fossiliferous, tightly cemented, gently folded sandstone deposited in a shallow marine environment. Upper Cretaceous strata on Sanak Island are strongly deformed and show structural features of broken formations similar to those observed in the Franciscan assemblage of California. Rocks exposed on Sanak Island do not crop out on the peninsular mainland or on Unimak Island, and probably make up the acoustic and economic basement of nearby Sanak basin. Tertiary sedimentary rocks on the outermost part of the Alaska Peninsula consist of Oligocene, Miocene, and lower Pliocene volcaniclastic sandstone, siltstone, and conglomerate deposited in nonmarine and very shallow marine environments. Interbedded airfall and ash-flow tuff deposits indicate active volcanism during Oligocene time. Locally, Oligocene strata are intruded by quartz diorite plutons of probable Miocene age.

Reservoir properties of Mesozoic and Tertiary rocks are generally poor due to alteration of chemically unstable volcanic rock fragments. Igneous intrusions have further reduced porosity and permeability by silicification of sandstone. Organic-rich source rocks for petroleum generation are not abundant in Neogene strata. Upper Jurassic rocks in the Black Hills area have total organic carbon contents of less than 0.5 percent.

Deep sediment-filled basins on the Shumagin Shelf probably contain more source rocks than onshore correlatives, but reservoir quality is not likely to be better than in onshore outcrops. The absence of well-developed folds in most Tertiary rocks, both onshore and in nearby offshore basins, reduces the possibility of hydrocarbon entrapment in anticlines.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1979
Title Observations on the geology and petroleum potential of the Cold Bay-False Pass area, Alaska Peninsula
DOI 10.3133/ofr791605
Authors Hugh James McLean
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 79-1605
Index ID ofr791605
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse