Petroleum Reserves of Central America
- Arthur H. Redfield (U.S. Geological Survey)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Transactions of the AIME
- Publication Date
- December 1923
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,004 - 1,013
- 1923. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 7.4 Energy Economics
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In estimating the unmined petroleum reserves of Central America, it is notfeasible to employ the methods that have been worked out in the oil fields ofthe United States. No producing wells have been brought in and no drillingsections have been made public. It is accordingly necessary to fall back on acrude "barrels per square mile" estimate. The method chosen is acomparison of the structure of the foreign field of unknown reserves with thatof some supposedly analogous North American field of which the reserves havebeen estimated. This method makes no pretense at scientific accuracy, butfurnishes a working basis for an estimate.
The areal geology of Central America is illustrated in the map prepared bySapper and more recently in the geologic map of North America accompanying U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper No. 71, "Index to the stratigraphyof North America." Disregarding for the present the narrow Quaternarycoastal plains and alluvial deposits of the river valleys, three chief zonesmay be distinguished. These are: A zone of late eruptive and effusive rocks; azone of highly folded preCambrian(?) or early Paleozoic crystalline schists andslates, considerably intruded by pre-Tertiary plutonic rocks; and a zone ofmore or less folded sediments, chiefly of Cretaceous or Tertiary age.
The zone of late eruptive and effusive rocks of Central America begins insoutheastern Chiapas, Mexico, and extends, with increasing breadth, acrosssouthern Guatemala, across practically the whole of El Salvador, and acrosssouthern Honduras to the valley of Rio Goascoran, where the igneous zoneattains a width of about 100 mi. (160 km.) East of the Goascoran Valley lateeruptives and effusives play a subordinate part, being confined largely to theDepartments of Valle and Choluteca. Dikes and sills of igneous rocks intrudethe sedimentary formations of central and northern Honduras.
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