Thermal maturity patterns (conodont color alteration index and vitrinite reflectance) in Upper Ordovician and Devonian rocks of the Appalachian basin: A major revision of USGS Map I-917-E using new subsurface collections

Professional Paper 1708-F.1
By: , and 
Edited by: Leslie F. Ruppert and Robert T. Ryder

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Abstract

Introduction

The conodont color alteration index (CAI) introduced by Epstein and others (1977) and Harris and others (1978) is an important criterion for estimating the thermal maturity of Ordovician to Mississippian rocks in the Appalachian basin. Consequently, the CAI isograd maps of Harris and others (1978) are commonly used by geologists to characterize the thermal and burial history of the Appalachian basin and to better understand the origin and distribution of oil and gas resources in the basin. The main objectives of this report are to present revised CAI isograd maps for Ordovician and Devonian rocks in the Appalachian basin and to interpret the geologic and petroleum resource implications of these maps. The CAI isograd maps presented herein complement, and in some areas replace, the CAI-based isograd maps of Harris and others (1978) for the Appalachian basin. The CAI data presented in this report were derived almost entirely from subsurface samples, whereas the CAI data used by Harris and others (1978) were derived almost entirely from outcrop samples. Because of the different sampling methods, there is little geographic overlap of the two data sets. The new data set is mostly from the Allegheny Plateau structural province and most of the data set of Harris and others (1978) is from the Valley and Ridge structural province, east of the Allegheny structural front (fig. 1).

Vitrinite reflectance, based on dispersed vitrinite in Devonian black shale, is another important parameter for estimating the thermal maturity in pre-Pennsylvanian-age rocks of the Appalachian basin (Streib, 1981; Cole and others, 1987; Gerlach and Cercone, 1993; Rimmer and others, 1993; Curtis and Faure, 1997). This chapter also presents a revised percent vitrinite reflectance (%R0) isograd map based on dispersed vitrinite recovered from selected Devonian black shales. The Devonian black shales used for the vitrinite studies reported herein also were analyzed by RockEval pyrolysis and total organic carbon (TOC) content in weight percent. Although the RockEval and TOC data are included in this chapter (table 1), they are not shown on the maps.

The revised CAI isograd and percent vitrinite reflectance isograd maps cover all or parts of Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia (fig. 1), and the following three stratigraphic intervals: Upper Ordovician carbonate rocks, Lower and Middle Devonian carbonate rocks, and Middle and Upper Devonian black shales. These stratigraphic intervals were chosen for the following reasons: (1) they represent target reservoirs for much of the oil and gas exploration in the Appalachian basin; (2) they are stratigraphically near probable source rocks for most of the oil and gas; (3) they include geologic formations that are nearly continuous across the basin; (4) they contain abundant carbonate grainstone-packstone intervals, which give a reasonable to good probability of recovery of conodont elements from small samples of drill cuttings; and (5) the Middle and Upper Devonian black shale contains large amounts of organic matter for RockEval, TOC, and dispersed vitrinite analyses.

Thermal maturity patterns of the Upper Ordovician Trenton Limestone are of particular interest here, because they closely approximate the thermal maturity patterns in the overlying Upper Ordovician Utica Shale, which is the probable source rock for oil and gas in the Upper Cambrian Rose Run Sandstone (sandstone), Upper Cambrian and Lower Ordovician Knox Group (Dolomite), Lower and Middle Ordovician Beekmantown Group (dolomite or Dolomite), Upper Ordovician Trenton and Black River Limestones, and Lower Silurian Clinton/Medina sandstone (Cole and others, 1987; Jenden and others, 1993; Laughrey and Baldassare, 1998; Ryder and others, 1998; Ryder and Zagorski, 2003). The thermal maturity patterns of the Lower Devonian Helderberg Limestone (Group), Middle Devonian Onondaga Limestone, and Middle Devonian Marcellus Shale-Upper Devonian Rhine street Shale Member-Upper Devonian Ohio Shale are of interest, because they closely approximate the thermal maturity patterns in the Marcellus Shale, Upper Devonian Rhinestreet Shale Member, and Upper Devonian Huron Member of the Ohio Shale, which are the most important source rocks for oil and gas in the Appalachian basin (de Witt and Milici, 1989; Klemme and Ulmishek, 1991). The Marcellus, Rhinestreet, and Huron units are black-shale source rocks for oil and (or) gas in the Lower Devonian Oriskany Sandstone, the Upper Devonian sandstones, the Middle and Upper Devonian black shales, and the Upper Devonian-Lower Mississippian(?) Berea Sandstone (Patchen and others, 1992; Roen and Kepferle, 1993; Laughrey and Baldassare, 1998).

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Thermal maturity patterns (conodont color alteration index and vitrinite reflectance) in Upper Ordovician and Devonian rocks of the Appalachian basin: A major revision of USGS Map I-917-E using new subsurface collections
Series title Professional Paper
Series number 1708
Chapter F.1
DOI 10.3133/pp1708F.1
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Eastern Energy Resources Science Center
Description Report: iv, 27 p.; Figures 1-11; Table 1
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Coal and petroleum resources in the Appalachian basin: distribution, geologic framework, and geochemical character (Professional Paper 1708)
Country United States
Other Geospatial Appalachian basin
Projection Albers Equal-Area Conic projection
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
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