Yates Formation, Permian Basin

General Setting

The Yates Formation is an interval of thick sandstone beds located in the Upper Guadalupian-aged Artesia Group of the Permian Basin. The formation overlies the Seven Rivers and is overlain by the Tansill Formations, both consisting of thick carbonate and evaporates. The Yates Formation is a significant hydrocarbon reservoir. Yates is one of two siliciclastic-dominated, Guadalupian-age formations in the Permian Basin shelf. The Yates Formation is very similar to the nearby Queen Formation. Frosted sand grains are a diagnostic feature of Yates facies. Most of the heterogeneity found in the Yates Formation is due to eustatic variation and the resulting alternating depositional sequences. The clastic-dominated middle shelf lithofacies are the most porous (Borer and Harris, 1991) and should be considered for evaluation for carbon dioxide injection. In general, siliciclastic deposition dominated lowstand sea level fluctuation and sand depocenters were controlled by longer duration fluctuation episodes. Carbonates, in contrast, were deposited during highstand sea levels (Borer and Harris, 1991).

The Yates Formation has been redefined since its previous classification as the Yates Sand or Field in Gester and Hawley (1929), which was originally described in a manner that was restricted to anhydritic sandstone. Many stratigraphic equivalents, facies types, and trapping mechanisms of the entire formation can be found in Nance (2004). Borer and Harris (1991) and Andreason (1992) also have comprehensive summaries of facies.



Andreason, M. W. 1992. Coastal siliciclastic sabkhas and related evaporative environments of the Permian Yates Formation, North Ward-Estes Field, Ward County, Texas: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 76, no. 11, p. 1735–1759.

Borer, J.M. and Harris, P.M. 1990. Lithofacies and cyclicity of the Yates Formation, Permian Basin: implications for reservoir heterogeneity. AAPG Bulletin 75(4):726-779.

Moore, C.H. “Carbonate reservoirs: porosity evolution and diagenesis in a sequence stratigraphic framework”, Developments in Sedimentology. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier, 2001.

Nance, H.S. 2004. Guadalupian (Artesia Group) and Ochoan Shelf succession of the Permian Basin: effects of deposition, diagenesis, and structure on reservoir development. PhD dissertation. The University of Texas at Austin.

Gester, G.C., and Hawley, H.J. 1929. Structure of typical American oil fields; Yates field, Pecos County, Texas: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, v.2, p. 480-499.

Tinker, S.W. and Mruk, D.H. 2012. Reservoir characterization of a Permian giant: Yates Field, West Texas. The Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM).

Willmarth, M.G. 1935. [Selected Geologic Names Committee remarks (ca. 1925-1938) on Permian rocks West Texas and New Mexico], IN Wilmarth, M.G., 1938, Lexicon of geologic names of the United States (including Alaska): U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin, 896, pts. 1-2, 2396 p.


Prepared by Emily Moskal, 2020.

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