Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Timothy R. Carr.


In the central Appalachian basin, the multiple organic-rich intervals of the Middle Devonian, including the Marcellus Shale, are an emerging large resource play with high economic potential (estimated 1,307 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas). This resource play was evaluated by examining the patterns of organic-richness, lithology, stratigraphic distribution, and other depositional characteristics. Using logs from wells throughout northwestern Pennsylvania (940 wells) integrated with core data, the subsurface lithostratigraphic boundaries were defined and correlated for the Marcellus and associated units throughout the study area.;Past studies of the Middle Devonian interval have not rigorously defined the lithostratigraphic boundaries in the subsurface and instead relied on limited petrophysical criteria (i.e. un-scaled gamma-ray). In this study, the interval was defined in the subsurface by using a multiple well log approach including the following curves: gamma-ray, bulk density, resistivity, photo electric, and neutron porosity.;Using previous studies on organic-rich Marcellus Shale, potential pay intervals were determined and mapped. The high amounts of total organic carbon (TOC) are correlated to more gas-rich intervals and vary significantly, both stratigraphically and spatially. A correlation was observed between uranium content derived from spectral gamma-ray logs and TOC. The relationship among gas content, TOC, and uranium in the Appalachian basin was evaluated using multiple petrophysical analyses techniques. The petrophysical results were used to improve regional and local understanding of the distribution and depositional controls on the Marcellus Shale. Numerous maps and cross sections were constructed to better display local and regional depositional patterns of Middle Devonian units across the central Appalachian basin including the Onondaga Limestone, Marcellus Shale, Mahantango Formation, Tully Limestone, and Genesee Formation.;In northwestern Pennsylvania, localized rapid changes in interpreted thick TOC accumulations are tied to local structures. The areas of highest TOC are identified by their relation to the underlying structure at the time of deposition and not by the gross unit thickness of the shale. The accumulation of thick organic-rich Marcellus Shale is interpreted as the interplay of decreased detrital input and increased organic production. These favorable areas appear to be closely related to favorable paleooceanographic conditions such as distance from sediment source and organic production related to paleotopography of the sea floor. These conditions define an exploration fairway through western Pennsylvania in terms of increased gas potential.