Date of Award

Summer 8-4-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science - Geology



First Advisor

Dr. Julie Bloxson

Second Advisor

Dr. Liane M. Stevens

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Friedfeld

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Mindy Faulkner


The Delaware Basin forms part of West Texas's and New Mexico’s famous petroleum-generating Permian Basin. The Bone Spring Formation is a prolific hydrocarbon producer within this basin, creating one of the world’s richest oil shales. This formation has lithological sequences that are characterized by repeating carbonate and siliciclastic intervals of a third-order cycle which can largely be correlated to highstand and lowstand systems tracts, respectively. Lithological complexity and facies change are manifested by debris flows, turbidites, and slumps. In addition to glacio-eustasy, both tectonism and broader Milankovitch cycles have influenced the depositional history. Previous investigations have utilized cores and wireline logs to provide high-resolution chemo-facies segregation, which can be correlated with reservoir and rock properties; however,core and wireline logs are sporadically collected, whereas drill cuttings are available from most wells. For this study, XRF elemental data derived from drill cuttings collected at 30 – 60ft (9 – 18m) intervals have been compared to wireline well logs. XRF measurements were categorized using hierarchical cluster and principal component analysis based on chemical facies. Chemostratigraphic units and packages were applied to generate cross-sections and facies maps to understand depositional cyclicity, terrigenous influence, grain size, ii mineralogy, organic content and rock property distribution. These data sets can be used to high-grade acreage for resource identification and storage to optimize drilling performance, completion designs and as a geosteering input.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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