Short Courses and Conferences

31st Oil Shale Symposium

October 17 - 21, 2011

Oil Shale Field Trip to the Piceance Creek and Uinta Basins

A two-day field trip to the Piceance Creek and Uinta Basins will provide insights into the oil shale resource from geological and technological perspectives. We will visit key outcrop localities and oil shale test and production facilities. The two-day field trip will leave from Golden, Colorado on October 20th at 7:00 AM and return to Golden on October 21st at approximately 8:00 PM. The trip will include transportation, accommodations in a double-occupancy room, one breakfast, and two lunches. Participation will be limited to 40. The itinerary may change depending upon accessibility and permission.

Day 1 Itinerary, October 20, 2011

  • 7:00 AM – Leave Golden
  • Stop 1 – Rifle Overview: An introduction to the Piceance Creek Basin and the Green River For­mation, with a view of the Roan Cliffs and Anvil Points
  • Stop 2 – Shale Tech retort site: Shale Tech is currently completing experimental retorting of Green River Formation Oil Shale
  • Stop 3 – ExxonMobil Colony site: Colony offers a high overview point to present the stratigraphy and structure of the basin together with an accessible vertical exposure that includes the Mahogany zone - approximately 100-150 feet (30-45 m) high and over 1000 feet (305 m) in length. ExxonMobil personnel will discuss some of the history of the site.
  • Stop 4 – Douglas Pass: Shallow water environments in the Piceance Creek Basin: an example of the marginal deposits of the Green River Formation. The depositional history of the Piceance Creek lake and it relationship to the oil shale deposits in the basin center.
  • Travel to Vernal for dinner and overnight lodging.

Leader: Kati Tanavsuu-Milkeviciene, Colorado School of Mines

Day 2 Itinerary, October 21, 2011

  • 7:30 AM – Leave Vernal
  • Stop 5 - Enshale, Inc. – visit the company’s pilot scale oil shale retort facility
  • Stop 6 - Asphalt Ridge tar sand quarry - A dramatic view of oil, generated from the Green River Formation, trapped in younger fluvial sand channels
  • Stop 7 - Tour of Enefit’s White River oil shale mine.
  • Stop 8 - Deep lake sediments and the richest oil shale in Utah – Examine outcrop exposures of the upper Green River Formation near Park Canyon. Walk the oil shale section from the Mahogany Zone to the saline interval near the Green River/Uinta transition.
  • Stop 9 - The End of Lake Uinta - Examine outcrop along Evacuation Creek displaying the upper Green River Formation saline zone (Birds Nest aquifer) overlain by volcaniclastic debris flows.
  • Stop 10 - Gilsonite vein overlook - gilsonite is a solid hydrocarbon that originated from rich oil shale beds and was deposited in long linear veins/dikes. Gilsonite is unique to the Uinta Basin and is mined for a variety of uses.
  • Drive back to Golden – estimated time of arrival 8:00 PM.

Leader: Mike Vanden Berg, Utah Geological Survey

The Field Trip can accommodate only a limited number of participants and generally fills quickly; therefore, early registration is recommended. If you register for the Field Trip and then cancel your registration, NO REFUND WILL BE GIVEN.

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