Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Open-File Report 2013–1058

Regional Maps of Subsurface Geopressure Gradients of the Onshore and Offshore Gulf of Mexico Basin

By Lauri A. Burke, Scott A. Kinney, Russell F. Dubiel, and Janet K. Pitman

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (83.7 MB)Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey created a comprehensive geopressure-gradient model of the regional pressure system spanning the onshore and offshore Gulf of Mexico basin, USA. This model was used to generate ten maps that included (1) five contour maps characterizing the depth to the surface defined by the first occurrence of isopressure gradients ranging from 0.60 psi/ft to 1.00 psi/ft, in 0.10-psi/ft increments; and (2) five supporting maps illustrating the spatial density of the data used to construct the contour maps. These contour maps of isopressure-gradients at various increments enable the identification and quantification of the occurrence, magnitude, location, and depth of the subsurface pressure system, which allows for the broad characterization of regions exhibiting overpressured, underpressured, and normally pressured strata.

Identification of overpressured regions is critical for exploration and evaluation of potential undiscovered hydrocarbon accumulations based on petroleum-generation pressure signatures and pressure-retention properties of reservoir seals. Characterization of normally pressured regions is essential for field development decisions such as determining the dominant production drive mechanisms, evaluating well placement and drainage patterns, and deciding on well stimulation methods such as hydraulic fracturing. Identification of underpressured regions is essential for evaluating the feasibility of geological sequestration and long-term containment of fluids such as supercritical carbon dioxide for alternative disposal methods of greenhouse gases.

This study is the first, quantitative investigation of the regional pressure systems of one of the most important petroleum provinces in the United States. Although this methodology was developed for pressure studies in the Gulf of Mexico basin, it is applicable to any basin worldwide.

First posted June 12, 2013

It is recommended that users right-click
and save the sheet to your desktop.

For additional information contact:
Director, Central Energy Resources Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Box 25046, MS-939
Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225-0046

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Burke, L.A., Kinney, S.A., Dubiel, R.F., and Pitman, J.K., 2013, Regional maps of subsurface geopressure gradients of the onshore and offshore Gulf of Mexico basin: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1058, 3 sheets,

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: GS Pubs Web Contact
Page Last Modified: Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 05:16:02 PM