Flow Idea Defied Orthodoxy

Looking Back

Perhaps a review of the past may make us better geologists in the future.


"Differential Entrapment of Oil and Gas; A Fundamental Principle," by William C. Gussow; AAPG BULLETIN, 1954.

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Perhaps a review of the past may make us better geologists in the future.


"Differential Entrapment of Oil and Gas; A Fundamental Principle," by William C. Gussow; AAPG BULLETIN, 1954.

New concepts introduced here are:
  • "Hydrocarbons move along definite migration paths."

  • "They migrate as streams or rivulets."

  • "Traps located along these migration paths will be filled with oil and/or gas; those not on the path of migration will remain loaded with salt water."

  • "Traps filled with oil are still effective gas traps, but a trap filled with gas is not an effective trap for oil."

  • "Regional or distant migration is believed essential for commercial accumulations of hydrocarbons."

This is a remarkable paper, which should be read by every petroleum geologist. Bill Gussow was honored in 2000 by the AAPG with the well-deserved Pioneer Award.

In 1954, Gussow's work was controversial, and was contrary to the opinions of many Gulf Coast geologists who were more comfortable with a concept that oil and gas were originating and migrating from surrounding shales.

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