Woodbine Formation, East Texas Basin

General Setting

The Cretaceous Woodbine Formation is a clastic progradational wedge deposited into the East Texas Basin, one of the salt basins formed marginal to the Gulf of Mexico during the early Mesozoic. About 6,000 m of Mesozoic and Tertiary sediment was deposited in this basin. Salt tectonics and sedimentary loading have had a long-term effect on this basin. Woodbine sediments deposited in fluvial and deltaic settings mark the highest accommodation (thickest sediments) during this phase of basin evolution. Excellent-quality reservoirs formed by winnowing of these sediments during the waning phases of Woodbine deposition. Fine-grained seal strata of the shale-rich Eagle Ford and carbonate Austin Chalk formed during global sea-level rise. Uplift of the Sabine Arch at the east edge of the basin truncates the Woodbine; the Austin Chalk unconformably covers the uplift. A large-scale, regressive Tertiary sequence of clastics overlies the Cretaceous section and dips gently gulfward. Salt pillows and diapirs formed during the Cretaceous; during the Cenozoic diapers have risen more slowly by basal necking (Seni and Jackson, 1984). Faults of the Mexia-Talco and Elkhart-Mt. Enterprise fault zones have isolated Woodbine sandstones within the basin from recharge zones in Woodbine outcrops on the east and north basin edges (Kreitler and others, 1984). This may create a large but isolated trap for CO2 storage.

Information Search and Selection

The reservoir properties of the Woodbine Formation are well known. Production from a number of reservoirs gives us a view of the sandstone properties and fluid behavior within the system (for example, Galloway and others, 1983, p. 54–64). This long production history is one of the reasons for selection of this brine formation for characterization. One scenario proposed for reuse of oil and gas infrastructure (pipelines or pipeline right-of-way, wells, mineral rights) would be use of abandoned reservoirs for CO2 storage. Severe pressure depletion because of historic production practices in Woodbine field might increase CO2 storage capacity.

Extensive analysis of the stratigraphic and structural framework was completed in the 1980's, when salt domes in this basin were under consideration for disposal of high-level nuclear waste (for example Kreitler and others, 1984; Seni and Jackson, 1984). These resources provide data that would otherwise not be available.

In addition, the Woodbine has been the subject of a number of theses and dissertations, especially from Baylor University. The Woodbine Formation is locally used for deep well injection.


Calavan, C. W., 1985, Depositional environments and basinal setting of the Cretaceous Woodbine Sandstone, Northeast Texas: Baylor University, Master's thesis, 225 p.

Core Labs (Texas Water Development Board), 1972, A survey of the subsurface saline water of Texas: Texas Water Development Board, Report 157, v. 1, 113 p.

Galloway, W. E., Ewing, T. E., Garrett, C. M., Tyler, Noel, and Bebout, D. G., 1983, Atlas of major Texas oil reservoirs: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, 139 p.

Holtz, M. H., 1997, Oil atlas database of major Texas reservoirs: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, Internal Report.

Kreitler, C. W., Collins. E. W., Fogg, G. E., Jackson, M. P. A., and Seni, S. J., 1984, Hydrogeological characterization of the saline aquifers, East Texas Basin—implications to nuclear waste storage in East Texas salt domes: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, contract report prepared for U.S. Department of Energy, under contract no. DE-AC97-80ET46617, 156 p.

Kron, Andrea, and Stix, John, 1982, U.S. Geothermal Gradient Map of the United States, exclusive of Alaska and Hawaii: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Geophysical Data Center, scale 1:2,500,000, 2 sheets.

Oliver, W. B., 1971, Depositional systems in the Woodbine Formation (Upper Cretaceous) northeast Texas: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology Report of Investigations No. 73, 28 p.

Phillips, Sandra, 1987, Shelf sedimentation and depositional sequence stratigraphy of the Upper Cretaceous Woodbine-Eagle Ford groups, East Texas: Ithaca, Cornell University, Ph.D. dissertation, 507 p.

Seni, S. J., and Jackson, M. P. A., 1984, Sedimentary records of Cretaceous and Tertiary salt movement, East Texas Basin: times, rates, and volumes of flow, implications to nuclear waste isolation and petroleum exploration: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology Report of Investigations No. 139, 89 p.

Surles, M. A., 1986, Stratigraphy of the Eagle Ford Group (Upper Cretaceous) and its source-rock potential in the East Texas Basin: Baylor University, Master's thesis, 219 p.

Wagner, W. O., 1987, Reservoir study of Cretaceous Woodbine fields in the northern East Texas Basin: Baylor University, Master's thesis, 139 p.

Prepared by S. Hovorka.

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