Black shales of Devonian age in the Appalachian Basin are a unique rock sequence. The high content of organic matter, which imparts the characteristic lithology, has for years attracted considerable interest in the shales as a possible source of energy. The recent energy shortage prompted the U.S. Department of Energy through the Eastern Gas Shales Project of the Morgantown Energy Technology Center to underwrite a research program to determine the geologic, geochemical, and structural characteristics of the Devonian black shales in order to enhance the recovery of gas from the shales. Geologic studies by Federal and State agencies and academic institutions produced a regional stratigraphic network that correlates the 15 ft black shale sequence in Tennessee with 3000 ft of interbedded black and gray shales in central New York. These studies correlate the classic Devonian black shale sequence in New York with the Ohio Shale of Ohio and Kentucky and the Chattanooga Shale of Tennessee and southwestern Virginia. Biostratigraphic and lithostratigraphic markers in conjunction with gamma-ray logs facilitated long-range correlations within the Appalachian Basin. Basinwide correlations, including the subsurface rocks, provided a basis for determining the areal distribution and thickness of the important black shale units. The organic carbon content of the dark shales generally increases from east to west across the basin and is sufficient to qualify as a hydrocarbon source rock. Significant structural features that involve the black shale and their hydrocarbon potential are the Rome trough, Kentucky River and Irvine-Paint Creek fault zone, and regional decollements and ramp zones. ?? 1984.
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Geology of the Devonian black shales of the Appalachian Basin