Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Thomas H Wilson

Committee Co-Chair

David Boyer

Committee Member

Timothy R Carr

Committee Member

Dengliang Gao


The Marcellus shale is one of the most developed unconventional shale gas reservoirs in the world with a calculated 84.5 trillion cubic feet in proved natural gas reserves in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. To better exploit this resource all geological aspects of the Marcellus shale are being studied. In this study, mechanical stratigraphy and interpreted seismic fracture zones within the Marcellus shale are examined. These geologic criteria are assessed for potential to impact gas production by analyzing the gas production of fourteen horizontal Marcellus shale wells within and around the study area.;Mechanical stratigraphy is evaluated from the top of the Tully limestone to the base of the Onondaga limestone to assess vertical heterogeneity of brittleness within and around the Marcellus shale. Brittleness estimations are derived from petrophysical well logs including bulk density, shear velocity and compressional velocity. Mineralogy assessment is completed using Schlumberger's SpectroLithRTM gamma ray spectroscopy mineralogy logs. Elastic moduli including Young's modulus, Poisson's ratio and Lame's parameters are assessed in terms of brittleness and total organic content to develop constraints for areas of high brittleness and high total organic content. The constraints developed at the study well are compared to studies at four other unconventional shale gas sites. The results suggest that mechanical properties are variable and site dependent. Conclusive ranges for Poisson's ratio and Young's modulus constraints for areas of high brittleness and high total organic cannot be developed for an entire shale play but may be useful in local analyses.;Seismic discontinuities were extracted from two three dimensional seismic surveys using a post-stack processing workflow that included Ant-Tracking. They are interpreted to be associated with small faults and fracture zones. The relationship between the number of seismic discontinuities intersecting horizontal wells in the Marcellus shale and cumulative gas production was evaluated. Number of intersecting discontinuities per 1000 feet of wellbore is linearly correlated to cumulative gas production with R2 values greater than 0.9.