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Open-File Report 2012-1024-A

Geologic Framework for the National Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Storage Resources─Bighorn Basin, Wyoming and Montana

By Jacob A. Covault,1 Marc L. Buursink, William H. Craddock, Matthew D. Merrill, Madalyn S. Blondes, Mayur A. Gosai, and Philip A. Freeman

Chapter A

of Geologic Framework for the National Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Storage Resources

Edited by Peter D. Warwick and Margo D. Corum

Thumbnail of and link to report PDFAbstract

The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (Public Law 110–140) directs the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct a national assessment of potential geologic storage resources for carbon dioxide (CO2). The methodology used for the national CO2 assessment follows that of previous USGS work. The methodology is non-economic and intended to be used at regional to subbasinal scales.

This report identifies and contains geologic descriptions of twelve storage assessment units (SAUs) in six separate packages of sedimentary rocks within the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming and Montana and focuses on the particular characteristics, specified in the methodology, that influence the potential CO2 storage resource in those SAUs. Specific descriptions of the SAU boundaries as well as their sealing and reservoir units are included. Properties for each SAU such as depth to top, gross thickness, net porous thickness, porosity, permeability, groundwater quality, and structural reservoir traps are provided to illustrate geologic factors critical to the assessment. Although assessment results are not contained in this report, the geologic information included here will be employed, as specified in the methodology of earlier work, to calculate a statistical Monte Carlo-based distribution of potential storage space in the various SAUs. Figures in this report show SAU boundaries and cell maps of well penetrations through the sealing unit into the top of the storage formation. Wells sharing the same well borehole are treated as a single penetration. Cell maps show the number of penetrating wells within one square mile and are derived from interpretations of incompletely attributed well data, a digital compilation that is known not to include all drilling. The USGS does not expect to know the location of all wells and cannot guarantee the amount of drilling through specific formations in any given cell shown on cell maps.

1 Current address: Chevron Energy Technology Company, Clastic Stratigraphy R&D, Houston, Texas 77002, USA

First posted March 30, 2012

For additional information contact:

USGS Energy Resources Program,
Health & Environment
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
National Center, MS 913
Reston, VA 20192
USGS ERP: Geologic CO2 Sequestration

Part 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:

Covault, J.A., Buursink, M.L., Craddock, W.H., Merrill, M.D., Blondes, M.S., Gosai, M.A., and Freeman, P.A., 2012, Geologic framework for the national assessment of carbon dioxide storage resources—Bighorn Basin, Wyoming and Montana, chap. A of Warwick, P.D., and Corum, M.D., eds., Geologic framework for the national assessment of carbon dioxide storage resources: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1024-A, 23 p., available at


Editors' Preface

References Cited



Tensleep Sandstone C50340101 and Tensleep Sandstone Deep C50340102

Ervay Member C50340103 and Ervay Member Deep C50340104

Crow Mountain Sandstone C50340105 and Crow Mountain Sandstone Deep C50340106

Cloverly Formation C50340107 and Cloverly Formation Deep C50340108

Muddy Sandstone C50340109 and Muddy Sandstone Deep C50340110

Frontier Sandstone C50340111 and Frontier Sandstone Deep C50340112


References Cited

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