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Fracture-controlled paleohydrogeology in a basement-cored, fault-related fold; Sheep Mountain Anticline, Wyoming, United States

, : Fracture-controlled paleohydrogeology in a basement-cored, fault-related fold; Sheep Mountain Anticline, Wyoming, United States. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems - G3 12.6

New geochemical and microstructural data constrain the origins and pathways of paleofluids during the growth of Sheep Mountain Anticline, Wyoming, United States. Oxygen, carbon, and strontium isotope studies were performed on prefolding and fold-related calcite veins and their sedimentary host rocks and combined to fluid inclusion microthermometry results. We show that most of the cements precipitated from Paleogene meteoric fluid. Stable isotopes and fluid inclusion homogenization temperatures further indicate that most veins were mineralized from upward moving fluids after these fluids were heated at depth (T > 110 degrees C). This implies that fluids migrated along the basement thrust underlying the fold and/or at the base of the cover. Above the fault tip, the fluids circulated rapidly in the diffuse synfolding (and early folding) fracture network. The zone of preferential migration of the warm fluids is currently located in the backlimb of the fold, which supports some of the previously published structural interpretation of the subsurface. This study also highlights the potential of combined fracture analysis and geochemical analyses of paleofluid flows in fractures to constrain both the deformation history and the fluid flow during basement-involved shortening in Laramide-style forelands.


DOI: 10.1029/2010gc003494

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