Pennsylvanian black shales in Kansas have been studied on outcrop for decades as the core unit of the classic Midcontinent cyclothem. These shales appear to be highstand condensed sections in the sequence stratigraphic paradigm. Nuclear log suites provide several petrophysical measurements of rock chemistry that are a useful data source for chemostratigraphic studies of Pennsylvanian black shales in the subsurface. Spectral gamma-ray logs partition natural radioactivity between contributions by U, Th, and K sources. Elevated U contents in black shales can be related to reducing depositional environments, whereas the K and Th contents are indicators of clay-mineral abundance and composition. The photoelectric factor log measurement is a direct function of aggregate atomic number and so is affected by clay-mineral volume, clay-mineral iron content, and other black shale compositional elements. Neutron porosity curves are primarily a response to hydrogen content. Although good quality logs are available for many black shales, borehole washout features invalidate readings from the nuclear contact devices, whereas black shales thinner than tool resolution will be averaged with adjacent beds. Statistical analysis of nuclear log data between black shales in successive cyclothems allows systematic patterns of their chemical and petrophysical properties to be discriminated in both space and time. ?? 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Borehole petrophysical chemostratigraphy of Pennsylvanian black shales in the Kansas subsurface