Evidence of Hydrocarbon Seepage Using Multispectral Satellite Imagery, Kurdistan, Iraq
Perry, Sandra L.
Kruse, Fred A.
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The petroleum system in northern Iraq has reached a maximum expulsion phase, characterized by tectonic uplift, beveled fold and thrust structures, and active surface oil seeps (Versfelt, 2001; Pitman et al., 2004). While conducting photogeologic interpretation in the region, it was observed that well exposed dip slopes exhibit spectral changes along strike, especially notable along producing antiforms near Kirkuk, Irbil, and Mosul. Proposed altered outcrops include clastic and carbonate composition, as modeled from Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM) and ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) multispectral bands. The spatial pattern of alteration does not appear to reflect lithology but is closely coincident with structure, manifested along thrusted fold fronts and eroded symmetric folds. In addition, many altered exposures correspond with known oil seeps, sour (sulfurous) water locations, and bituminous sites identified throughout the region.
Search and Discovery Article #40694 (2011), Adapted from expanded abstract oral presentation at AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 12-15, 2010