Geothermal Resources Frio Formation, Middle Texas Gulf Coast



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University of Texas at Austin Bureau of Economic Geology


At depths generally greater than 7,000 feet, the sands and shales of the Frio Formation are overpressured and undercompacted. The insulating effect of these overpressured and undercompacted sediments results in the accumulation of subsurface heat and, thus, high-temperature water. The local variations of depth to top of geopressure are related to the distribution of sand and shale lithologies and to the location of growth faults. For more information concerning origin of geopressure or high temperatures, see Jones (1970) and Dorfman and Kehle (1974). Bruce (1973) discusses the nature of growth faults in detail. The resource in geopressured zone consists of high-temperature water with relatively low salinity and with dissolved methane gas. The objectives of this study were to determine regional sand distribution of the Frio Formation, identify depositional environments, and delineate the geopressured zone and its relationship to sand/shale distribution, growth faults, and fluid temperatures in the Middle Texas Gulf Coast. This study is essentially an extension of that completed earlier for South Texas (Bebout, Dorfman, and Agagu, 1975); all correlation and mapping units are the same as those represented in the South Texas report.


47 pages


Frio Formation, energy development, geothermal exploration, geothermal energy