The oil fields of Allen County, Kentucky, with notes on the oil geology of adjoining counties

Bulletin 688




This report is based on a reconnaissance investigation of the oil field of Allen County, Ky., which was part of a broader study of the oil and gas fields of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama, on which a general report is planned. Most of the field work was done by Mr. Mather, who spent three and a half weeks in and around the county. Mr. Shaw visited Scottsville, the county seat of Allen County, a few years ago and spent a few days in that vicinity at the beginning of the recent field work, which extended from the middle of April to the middle of May, 1917 He prepared also the first draft of the report and reviewed the literature, including reports in oil and gas journals.

The purpose of the field work was to investigate the geology of the county, particularly the structure or lay of the oil-bearing strata and the results of drilling to date. Structural conditions in the producing fields were determined by running level lines to the wells and correlating the data recorded in the well logs generously furnished by the operators. Traverses were made of outcrops, and observations of the dip and strike were made in different parts of the county. Lack of a topographic base map and of time and funds for making an accurate topographic survey render the results of the work somewhat incomplete, but it is hoped they will form a valuable contribution to the knowledge of the geology of this relatively little known region, for little detailed geologic work has been done heretofore within 50 miles of Scottsville.

The dips are generally too low to be read by the clinometer, but in some localities unmistakable dips can be observed in extensive outcrops along creek banks and can be measured with a level or hand transit. Few of the beds of this region can be followed any considerable distance, though by means of fossils the stratigraphic position of beds outcropping many miles apart can be determined within a few feet. The black shale is the best horizon marker, but it outcrops in only a few places and is reached in only a few wells outside the oil fields.

The field work thus consisted largely in observations on out-
, cropping beds in different localities and in estimating the altitude of those identified, in collecting fossils for use in future detailed work, and in obtaining from oil operators data concerning the wells and their output. It included the determination of the general lay of the rocks in the county and surrounding territory and details of structure in certain areas. The rocks lie so nearly flat that without topographic data only the general dip could be made out for a large part of the area examined. A complete set of logs of wildcat wells in the region would have thrown much light on the structure and oil possibilities, but little is known of many of the earlier wells drilled in the region, especially of those altogether unsuccessful. An unsuccessful test is soon forgotten, though the data thus obtained concerning the depth at which different beds were found and the yield of porous strata, whether water, oil, or gas, is of great value to the geologist and oil prospector.

Study Area

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USGS Numbered Series
The oil fields of Allen County, Kentucky, with notes on the oil geology of adjoining counties
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U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
126 p.
United States
Allen County