Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Thomas Wilson

Committee Co-Chair

Valerie Smith

Committee Member

Peter Sullivan

Committee Member

Jaime Toro


Microseismic monitoring is often used during the process of oil and gas exploitation to monitor seismicity that may be triggered by hydraulic fracturing, a common practice in the Appalachian Basin. Anthropogenically-induced minor upward fracture growth is not uncommon in the Marcellus shale; however, in the area of study, significant microseismic activity was registered above the target zone. In order to ascertain whether out-of-zone growth might have been predictable and identify which areas are more likely to experience brittle failure first, 3D seismic and microseismic data were analyzed with a focus on better understanding variations in the acoustic properties associated with unconventional naturally fractured reservoirs.;Ant Tracking was used to identify areas of increased local seismic discontinuity, as these areas are generally more intensely deformed and may represent zones of increased fracture intensity. Ant Tracking results reveal discontinuities in the Marcellus are oriented approximately at N52E and N41W; discontinuities do not coincide with N25E trending folds apparent in the 3D seismic, but tend to follow deeper structural trends instead. These discontinuity orientations are interpreted to be a result of continued movement on deeper faults throughout the Paleozoic; these faults possibly acted as seed points for fractures further upsection and potentially led to the precipitation of the large N25E trending imbricate backthrusts seen in the 3D seismic.;The reservoir's response to hydraulic fracturing also provided insights into local stress anisotropy and into optimal well and stage spacing needed to maximize drainage area and locate additional wells during the field development phase. Microseismic, well, and pump data used to gauge the reservoir's response to a hydraulic fracture treatment indicated that the number of stages, lateral length, total proppant volume, and fracture energy heavily influence how a well produces. SHmax in the area is oriented at ~N96E in the region and microseismic event swarms generally trend N56E. Microseismic activity which forms at acute angles to SHmax is interpreted to be a result of shearing on pre-existing fractures. Ideally this study will fit into a larger framework of previous case studies that can be used to better understand shale gas reservoirs, and make hydrocarbon extraction safer, more efficient, and more predictable.