Basement Tectonic Interpretation of the U.S.

This study is a detailed, play-oriented interpretation of published gravity and magnetic data from the conterminous United States. It is intended as a guide to play and prospect generation in both frontier and mature hydrocarbon exploration provinces. For example, analysis of the Mid-Continent Gravity Anomaly (above) can suggest where basement structures of the Precambrian rift system have affected overlying strata. In Kansas, there appears to be a clear relationship between inferred rift-related basement faulting and long, narrow oil fields.

Products of the study include detailed interpretations in 24 areas. The scope and details of each area vary due to the information content of the data. For example, interpretation and play maps of the Black Warrior Basin are at a scale of 1:2,500,000, while the maps of Nevada and Montana are at 1:500,000. In areas that are mapped at relatively large scale, recommendations are nearly at the prospect level.

Thirty separate interpretation and play maps accompany the report, which consists of a 160-page text including 52 figures. Some of the plays and interpretations are given as text figures if appropriate. More than 150 specific locations are recommended for various levels of further exploration.

This project represents six months of intense work, drawing on years of interpretation experience. The work was done by Richard I. Gibson when he was Director of Gravity and Magnetics for Everest Geotech, Inc. Gibson Consulting has all rights to this study. The work was supported initially by three clients.


The complete package, including reproducible copies of the interpretation maps and a set of the published maps on which the intepretations were based, is available. Cost is $10,000. Basin-scale subsets, updated with a look at any newer published data, are also available.

Table of Contents

    Major Basement Tectonic Features of the US
    Northern Mid-Continent & East Coast
    Michigan Basin | Illinois Basin | Mid-Continent Rift
    Western Appalachian Basin | Eastern Triassic Basins
    Gulf of Mexico & Vicinity
    Black Warrior Basin | Reelfoot Rift | Smackover Trend | Gulf Coast (TX-LA)
    Florida, Florida Shelf, Bahamas Platform
    Central Plains
    Permian Basin | Denver and Raton Basins | Oklahoma-Kansas Area
    Colorado Plateau
    Baca Basin | San Juan Basin | Utah Hingeline & NW Colorado Plateau
    Paradox Basin | Rio Grande Rift | Pedregosa Basin
    Rocky Mountain Thrust & Foreland
    Western Montana | Central Montana | Williston Basin | Uinta-Piceance Creek Basins
    Wyoming Foreland & Thrust Belt
    West Coast
    California | Columbia Plateau Area
    Basin and Range (Nevada-Utah>
    Summary of Recommendations

List of Maps

(excluding maps that appear as text figures)
    Major Features of US (1:5 million & 1:2.5 million)
    Michigan Basin Interpretation
    Michigan Basin Plays
    Illinois Basin Area, Interpreted basement lithology
    Illinois Basin Area, Interpretation & Plays
    Mid-Continent Rift, basement lithologic interpretation
    Mid-Continent Rift, fault interpretation
    Western Appalachians, Basement lithologies
    Western Appalachians, Interpretation
    Reelfoot-Black Warrior-Smackover: Basement Lithologies
    Reelfoot-Black Warrior-Smackover: Faults & Lineaments
    Black Warrior-Reelfoot: Plays
    Florida: basement lithologies
    Florida: Interpretation
    Gulf Coast: Interpretation & Plays
    Permian Basin: Interpretation & Plays
    Denver-Raton: Interpretation & Plays
    Colorado Plateau: basement lithologies
    Colorado Plateau: Interpretation & Plays
    Western Montana Interpretation
    Eastern Montana Interpretation and Plays
    Williston Basin (ND) Interpretation and Plays
    Wyoming basement lithologies
    Wyoming Interpretation and Plays
    Uinta-Piceance Creek Interpretation & Plays
    California: Lithologies and Tectonics
    Washington-Oregon Interpretation
    Nevada basin-range: Interpretation & Plays
    Utah basin-range: Interpretation and Plays

Richard I. Gibson, Gibson Consulting - 301 North Crystal St. - Butte, Montana 59701 - Phone/Fax: 406-723-9639 - E-mail