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Source of anomalous magnetization in an area of hydrocarbon potential-Petrologic evidence from the Jurassic Preuss Sandstone, Wyoming-Idaho thrust belt

February 28, 1989

The Jurassic Preuss Sandstone, which crops out in the central part of the Wyoming-Idaho thrust belt on trend with a hydrocarbon-producing region to the south, has been previously identified as the source of anomalous magnetization in the area. Elsewhere, anomalous magnetization in sedimentary rocks near hydrocarbon accumulations has been attributed to hydrocarbon-engendered magnetic minerals, but magnetization of the Preuss is controlled by detrital magnetite. Evidence of a detrital origin for magnetite includes (1) concentration of magnetite grains along laminations containing other heavy minerals, (2) the presence of exsolved ilmenite, hematite, and spinel in the magnetite grains, and (3) titanium contents typical of igneous-derived magnetite. That detrital magnetite is responsible for the anomalous magnetization in the Preuss is further indicated by the systematic eastward decrease in magnetite abundance corresponding to a similar eastward decrease in magnetic susceptibility and remanent magnetization of the unit.

Petrologic and vitrinite reflectance studies indicate a complex low-temperature (<150°C or 302°F) diagenetic history for the Preuss. Nevertheless, preservation of detrital magnetite, the presence of diagenetically early ferric oxide minerals, and the absence of sulfide minerals all indicate that the Preuss has not experienced sulfidic-reducing conditions common in areas of hydrocarbon seepage. The marine carbon isotopic composition of calcite that cements most Preuss sandstones (^dgr13C values ranging from -2.47 to 1.48^pmil is evidence that carbonate diagenesis also was not influenced by hydrocarbons.

The results of this multidisciplinary study of the Preuss underscore the importance of similar studies when evaluating the sources of aeromagnetic anomalies in areas of hydrocarbon potential.