University of Texas at Austin

Lyons Sandstone, Denver Basin

General Setting

The Denver Basin is an elongated, asymmetric structure. The east flank has a west dip of about 30 to 50 ft/mi, and the west flank has a steep east dip, interrupted by large anticlines. The axis runs from north to south parallel to the Front Range. The deepest part of the basin lies near Denver, Colorado, with a sedimentary cover of about 13,500 ft (~4,100 m) and 12,000 ft (~3,700 m) near Cheyenne, Wyoming. The basin is bounded on the west by the Laramide and the Front Range Uplifts, on the east by the Chadron and Cambridge Arches, and on the south and southeast by the Apishapa and Las Animas Arches.

Information Search and Selection

One of the main considerations in selecting the Lyons Sandstone in the Denver Basin was its depth and its isolation for preventing CO2 contamination of natural resources such us potable ground water, gas, or oil.

The Permian Lyons Sandstone has the greatest potential for being injected with CO2 in the south-central part of the basin, and some areas to the east should be eliminated because of oil production. Besides the Lyons Sandstone, the porous sandstone reservoir from the Triassic (Dockum sandstone), the Triassic-Jurassic (Jelm-Entrada sandstone), and sandstone units in the Cretaceous Dakota Group may have conditions favorable for storing CO2.


Adams, J., and Patton, J., 1979, Sebkha-Dune Deposition in the Lyons Formation (Permian) Northern Front Range, Colorado: The Mountain Geologist, v.16, no. 2, p.47-57.

Belitz, K., and Bredehoeft, J., 1988, Hydrodynamics of Denver Basin: explanation of subnormal fluid pressures: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 72, no. 11, p. 1334–1359.

Clayton, J., and Swetland, P., 1988, Petroleum generation and migration in Denver Basin: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 64, no. 10, p. 1613–1633.

Garbarini, G., and Veal, H. K., 1968, Potential of Denver Basin for disposal of liquid wastes, subsurface disposal in geologic basins—a study of reservoir strata: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir, p. 165–185.

Geological Atlas of the Rocky Mountain Region, 1972, Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists.

Hubert, J. F., 1960, Petrology of the Fountain and Lyons formations, Front Range, Colorado: Colorado School of Mines Quarterly, v. 55, no. 1, p. 1–242.

Lee, M. L., and Bethke, C., 1994, Groundwater flow, late cementation and petroleum accumulation in the Permian Lyons Sandstone, Denver Basin: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 78, no. 2, p. 227–237.

Levandowski, D., Kaley, M., and Smalley, R., 1973, Cementation in the Lyons Sandstone and its role in oil accumulation, Denver Basin, Colorado: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 57, no. 11, p. 2217–2244.

Martin, C., 1965, Denver Basin: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 49, no. 11, p. 1908–1925.

Sonnenberg, S., 1981, Tectonics, sedimentation and petroleum potential, northern Denver Basin, Wyoming, and Nebraska: Colorado School of Mines Quarterly, v. 72, no. 2, p. 215.

Prepared by Martha Romero.


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