West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey

Morgantown, WV, United States

West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey

Morgantown, WV, United States
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Martino R.L.,Marshall University | Grady W.C.,West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey | Lukey H.M.,Cliffs Natural Resources | Scott G.W.,Cliffs Natural Resources | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Coal Geology | Year: 2014

Unexpected variations in sulfur were encountered during mining of the Glenalum Tunnel coal in Wyoming County, West Virginia, in the Central Appalachian Basin. A geological analysis was initiated to determine the cause of the sulfur variations and provide a predictive tool for anticipating high-sulfur anomalies during future mining operations. The coal seam is comprised of six benches including bright to dull clarain, bone coal, and carbonaceous shale. The lower three benches are consistently less than 1% in raw and 1.5. sp.gr. sulfur, with average values for each bench less than 0.73%. The average raw and 1.5. sp.gr. sulfur for each of the upper benches is greater than 1.23%, and ranges from 0.27 to 6.07%. The majority of the sulfur occurs as finely disseminated pyrite. Thirteen cores drilled in 2012 indicate that the coal is overlain by laterally and vertically variable lacustrine, deltaic and estuarine facies. This interval averages 6.7. m thick and is overlain by the Oceana Shale, a widespread marine unit.A sinuous, branching belt of high-sulfur coal approximately 305-610. m wide and 3.22. km long extends across the southern portion of the property. This belt correlates with cores where the lacustrine shale of the immediate roof is thin or absent and where the stratigraphic interval between the coal and the base of the Oceana Shale is comprised mostly of sandstone. Raw sulfur generally exceeds 1% and is more variable where the lacustrine roof shale is less than 52. cm thick and where roof sandstone occupies 78-100% of the interval. The 1.5. sp.gr. sulfur generally exceeds 1% where the lacustrine roof shale is less than 33.5. cm and where the roof sandstone occupies 80-100% of the interval. High-sulfur areas are attributable to 1) the local influence of brackish to marine waters from tidal or deltaic distributaries which eroded down to the peat, and/or 2) thinning or removal of impermeable, lacustrine roof shale by channel erosion and hydraulic connection of the Oceana Shale marine pore fluids to the peat via permeable channel-fill sands. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Geboy N.J.,U.S. Geological Survey | Tripathy G.R.,Colorado State University | Tripathy G.R.,Indian Institute of Science | Ruppert L.F.,U.S. Geological Survey | And 6 more authors.
International Journal of Coal Geology | Year: 2015

The Betsie Shale Member is a relatively thick and continuous unit that serves as a marker bed across the central Appalachian basin, in part because it includes an organic-rich shale unit at its base that is observable in drill logs. Deposited during a marine transgression, the Betsie Shale Member has been correlated to units in both Wales and Germany and has been proposed to mark the boundary between the Lower and Middle Pennsylvanian Series within North America. This investigation assigns a new Re-Os date to the base of the Betsie and examines the palynoflora and maceral composition of the underlying Matewan coal bed in the context of that date. The Matewan coal bed contains abundant lycopsid tree spores along its base with assemblage diversity and inertinite content increasing upsection, as sulfur content and ash yield decrease. Taken together, these palynologic and organic petrographic results suggest a submerged paleomire that transitioned to an exposed peat surface. Notably, separating the lower and upper benches of the Matewan is a parting with very high sulfur content (28wt.%), perhaps representing an early marine pulse prior to the full on transgression responsible for depositing the Betsie. Results from Re-Os geochronology date the base of the Betsie at 323±7.8Ma, consistent with previously determined age constraints as well as the palynoflora assemblage presented herein. The Betsie Shale Member is also highly enriched in Re (ranging from 319.7 to 1213ng/g), with high 187Re/188Os values ranging from 3644 to 5737 likely resultant from varying redox conditions between the pore water and overlying water column during deposition and early condensing of the section. © 2015 .

Fedorko N.,West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey | Skema V.,Pennsylvania Geological Survey
International Journal of Coal Geology | Year: 2013

Dunkard Group strata, the youngest Paleozoic rocks in the Appalachian Basin, extend from the base or top of the Waynesburg coal (varying among neighboring state geological surveys) to the highest exposures. Geologic investigation and mapping of the Dunkard Group began with the First Pennsylvania Geological Survey in the 1830s, but poor exposure, exposure of only limited stratigraphic intervals, and lack of significant economic commodities have hampered stratigraphic studies. Maximum thicknesses in excess of 335. m (1100. ft) are found beneath the highest ridges along the synclinorium axis near Wileyville, West Virginia and Windy Gap, Pennsylvania and the stratigraphic correlation of these sites is shown with composite sections constructed from core records and measured sections. Distinct facies provinces are documented in the Dunkard Group, from south to north interpreted as (1) upper fluvial plain, (2) lower fluvial plain, and (3) fluvial-lacustrine deltaic plain. This spatial array of facies provinces is illustrated by a cross section through Dunkard Group and underlying Monongahela Group strata based on drillers' and geologists' core logs. Strata in the upper fluvial plain are cyclic sequences of red, green, and gray, nonfissile mudstone and claystone paleosols exhibiting vertic features, red, green and gray fissile shale, and gray and green sandstone. Coal and limestone are rare, although abundant calcareous material is present as nodules and cement. In contrast, the fluvial-lacustrine deltaic plain cycles are comprised of coal and nonmarine limestone, fewer fluvial shale and sandstone units, and only rare redbeds. The lower fluvial plain cycles exhibit a transition between the other two provinces, containing coal and nonmarine limestone, as well as significant fluvial units and redbeds. Coal beds in the Dunkard Group are best developed in the fluvial-lacustrine deltaic plain but are generally thin and low in quality. Stratigraphically extensive, laterally continuous road cuts and numerous subsurface exploration records, particularly long continuous cores targeting coal beds beneath the Dunkard Group, now aid in better understanding the stratigraphy of the Dunkard Group and will aid in future investigations of these rocks. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

DiMichele W.A.,Smithsonian Institution | Kerp H.,University of Munster | Sirmons R.,Smithsonian Institution | Fedorko N.,Cove Geological Services | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Coal Geology | Year: 2013

The Dunkard Group is the youngest late Paleozoic rock unit in the Central Appalachian Basin. Its age, however, remains controversial. In its southern and western two-thirds the Dunkard is comprised largely of red beds, sandstone and siltstone channel deposits and paleosols. In its thickest, most northerly exposures, in southwestern Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, and east-central Ohio, much of the lower part of the unit is composed of coals, non-marine limestones and gray, often calcareous, paleosols. Age dating is confounded by the non-marine nature of the deposit and by the lack of dateable volcanic ash beds. Dunkard fossils include plants, vertebrates, and both aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. Most of the fossil groups point to an age very close to, if not including, the Pennsylvanian-Permian boundary, though the exact position of that boundary is uncertain. Callipterids make their first appearance in the Dunkard flora in the middle of the Washington Formation and continue into the Greene Formation, but in different beds from those containing wetland floral elements. Publication of these plants in the "Permian Flora" of Fontaine and White (1880) created an immediate controversy about the age of the unit because Callipteris conferta (now Autunia conferta) was, at the time, considered to be an index fossil for the base of the Permian. Subsequent collecting has revealed these callipterds to comprise four species: A. conferta, Autunia naumannii, Lodevia oxydata and Rhachiphyllum schenkii. Callipterids - and the conifers with which they are sometimes associated - are typically found in seasonally dry equatorial environments and most likely constitute an environmentally controlled biofacies. This biofacies is not well known, resulting in limited biostratigraphic utility. © 2013.

Chelgani S.C.,University of Western Ontario | Hart B.,University of Western Ontario | Grady W.C.,West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey | Hower J.C.,niversity of Kentucky
International Journal of Coal Preparation and Utilization | Year: 2011

The relationship between maceral content plus mineral matter and gross calorific value (GCV) for a wide range of West Virginia coal samples (from 6518 to 15330 BTU/lb; 15.16 to 35.66MJ/kg) has been investigated by multivariable regression and adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS). The stepwise least square mathematical method comparison between liptinite, vitrinite, plus mineral matter as input data sets with measured GCV reported a nonlinear correlation coefficient (R2) of 0.83. Using the same data set the correlation between the predicted GCV from the ANFIS model and the actual GCV reported a R2 value of 0.96. It was determined that the GCV-based prediction methods, as used in this article, can provide a reasonable estimation of GCV. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Ruppert L.F.,U.S. Geological Survey | Hower J.C.,University of Kentucky | Ryder R.T.,U.S. Geological Survey | Trippi M.H.,U.S. Geological Survey | Grady W.C.,West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey
International Journal of Coal Geology | Year: 2010

Thermal maturation patterns of Pennsylvanian strata in the Appalachian basin were determined by compiling and contouring published and unpublished vitrinite reflectance (VR) measurements. VR isograd values range from 0.6% in eastern Ohio and eastern Kentucky (western side of the East Kentucky coal field) to greater than 5.5% in eastern Pennsylvania (Southern Anthracite field, Schuylkill County), corresponding to ASTM coal rank classes of high volatile C bituminous to meta-anthracite. VR isograds show that thermal maturity of Pennsylvanian coals generally increases from west to east across the basin. The isograds patterns, which are indicative of maximum temperatures during burial, can be explained by variations in paleodepth of burial, paleogeothermal gradient, or a combination of both. However, there are at least four areas of unusually high-rank coal in the Appalachian basin that depart from the regional trends and are difficult to explain by depth of burial alone: 1) a west-northwestward salient centered in southwestern Pennsylvania; 2) an elliptically-shaped, northeast-trending area centered in southern West Virginia and western Virginia; 3) the eastern part of Black Warrior coal field, Alabama; and 4) the Pennsylvania Anthracite region, in eastern Pennsylvania. High-rank excursions in southwest Pennsylvania, the Black Warrior coal field, and the Pennsylvania Anthracite region are interpreted here to represent areas of higher paleo-heat flow related to syntectonic movement of hot fluids towards the foreland, associated with Alleghanian deformation. In addition to higher heat flow from fluids, the Pennsylvania Anthracite region also experienced greater depth of burial. The high-rank excursion in southwest Virginia was probably primarily controlled by overburden thickness, but may also have been influenced by higher geothermal gradients.

Eble C.F.,University of Kentucky | Grady W.C.,West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey | Blake B.M.,West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey
International Journal of Coal Geology | Year: 2013

Coal beds that occur in the Dunkard Group are typically thin (avg. 0.3. m), and are high in ash yield (avg. 27.8%) and total sulfur content (avg. 5.1%). Petrographically, Dunkard coals are high in vitrinite (avg. 83.1%, mmf), with correspondingly low to moderate amounts of liptinite (avg. 2.1%, mmf) and inertinite (avg. 13.8%, mmf). Palynologically, Dunkard coal beds are all dominated by tree fern spore taxa (avg. 96.3%), especially Punctatisporites minutus (avg. 82.8%). Calamite spores are the second most abundant plant group (avg. 2.4%), with others (lycopods, small ferns, Cordaites and other gymnosperms) having very minor representation. Overall, the coal palynofloras are strongly dominated by lowland plants (ferns and Calamites), with only rare occurrences of bisaccate-striate conifer pollen.Coal beds of the underlying Monongahela Group (Pittsburgh, Redstone, Sewickley and Waynesburg) are thicker (avg. 1.6. m), and are lower in ash (avg. 13.4%) and sulfur (avg. 3.3%) than their Dunkard counterparts. Petrographically, Monongahela Group coals are very similar to Dunkard Group coals, when compared on a mineral matter free basis; coal beds that occur in both groups are strongly dominated by vitrinite macerals. Monongahela Group coals are also palynologically very similar to Dunkard Group coals, with tree fern spore taxa dominating. A coal bed of early Permian age from west-central Texas is also similar, petrographically and palynologically, to Dunkard and Monongahela coals, being vitrinite and tree fern spore dominant.The almost complete lack of coniferous pollen in Dunkard coals led earlier workers to conclude that the Dunkard was entirely Late Pennsylvanian, and not Permian, in age. However, it is now known that Late Pennsylvania lowland floras persisted into the Dunkard, especially during wet intervals. As earlier interpretations were based primarily on spore and pollen floras from coal beds, the lack of conifer pollen in Dunkard coals is probably the result of a sampling bias. Because of this ecological bias, coal palynology is a poor proxy for age dating Dunkard Group coals.Collectively, Dunkard swamps were all planar and topogenous, their formation being controlled by topography and moisture availability. A progressive decrease in wet intervals, both in terms of frequency and duration, during the Dunkard was the major control on peat accumulation and preservation. Collectively, moisture limitation appears to be the principle factor that controlled the formation of Dunkard Group coals. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Matchen D.L.,West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey | Matchen D.L.,Concord University
Southeastern Naturalist | Year: 2015

Canaan Valley (hereafter, the Valley) is located in the Folded Plateau Physiographic Province of the Appalachian Mountains. The Province features broad, gentle folds and low, structural dips. The Valley lies over the Blackwater Anticline, one of three structures that characterize the high plateau in which the Valley is set. The Anticline plunges northward, creating a broad amphitheater at the Valley's northern end. Southward, the Anticline truncates against a zone of discordance. The cause of the discordance is unknown. South of this zone, the Plateau is more deeply dissected, and the Anticline cannot be traced. In its place, there are three structures that terminate northward against the zone. Local stratigraphy controls the Valley's landscape. Six stratigraphic units-the Pennsylvanian Kanawha Formation, New River Formation, Mississippian Mauch Chunk Formation, Greenbrier Limestone Formation, Price Formation, and Devonian Hampshire Formation-outcrop in the Valley. The ridges in the Valley are supported by the coarse-grained to conglomeratic sandstones of the Kanawha Formation. Conglomerates of the Rockwell Member of the Price Formation underlie the low ridge in the Valley's center. Red mudstones of the Mauch Chunk form the Valley's walls, and the Greenbrier Limestone underlies the floor of the Valley. Two major unconformities are present in the Valley's stratigraphic section. First, the contact between the Price and the Greenbrier is a major Mississippian unconformity. Second, the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian boundary, represented by the Mauch Chunk-New River contact, is a large regional unconformity represented in southern West Virginia by the Pocahontas and Lower New River formations. On the latest geological map of the Valley, the New River and Kanawha formations are lumped into a single mapping unit because the contact between them is difficult to differentiate due to lack of exposure. Coal and natural gas have been extracted in the Valley area. Coal has been mined from the Upper Freeport coal of the Allegheny Formation and the Bakerstown coal of the Glenshaw Formation (Conemaugh Group). Surface mines associated with these coals form a horseshoe pattern that follows the outcrops of the coals, stretching from the Pendleton Creek area west of Davis to the area south of the Mount Storm Power Plant. Natural gas is produced from the Oriskany Sandstone along the crest of the Blackwater Anticline in the Valley and from the Jordan Run Gas Field just east of the Allegheny Front.

Lewis J.E.,West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey
Environmental Geosciences | Year: 2013

The West Virginia Division of Energy is currently evaluating several deep saline formations in the Appalachian Basin of West Virginia that may be potential carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration targets. The Silurian Newburg Sandstone play, developed in the 1960s and 1970s, primarily involved natural-gas production from reservoir rock with well-developed porosity and permeability. High initial pressures encountered in early wells in the Newburg indicated that the overlying Silurian Salina Formation provides a competent seal. Because of the large number of CO2 point sources in the region and the favorable reservoir properties of the formation (including an estimated 300 bcf of natural-gas production), the Newburg Sandstone was evaluated for the potential geologic storage of CO2. Within the Newburg play, there are several primary fields separated geographically and geologically by saltwater contacts and dry holes. Previous studies have determined the storage potentialwithin these individual fields. This study shows that the Newburg is more suitable for smallscale injection tests instead of large-scale regional storage operations. Copyright © 2013. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists/Division of Environmental Geosciences. All rights reserved.

Hohn M.E.,West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey | Britton J.Q.,West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey
International Journal of Coal Geology | Year: 2013

In reporting coal reserve and resource estimates, geologists and engineers have long reported quantity of coal classified among the distance-based categories described in the U.S. Geological Survey Circular 891 (1983). Although this tabulation of coal volumes apparently gives an expression of uncertainty in the resource or reserve, it is nonquantitative at best, and ignores among several factors the spatial variability of a particular coal under study. Seam thickness for three coals, the Pittsburgh, Eagle, and No. 2 Gas coals were extracted from a large database in West Virginia. Variograms were computed, models fitted visually, and sequential Gaussian simulation was used to compute multiple realizations of coal thickness at each location on a regular grid. Variances about the estimates of coal bed thickness at each grid location were compared among the three datasets. Both variograms and uncertainty about the estimated means are different among the three coals to the extent that normalized average variance for "measured" coal was double for the No. 2 Gas relative to the Eagle Seam, and intermediate for the Pittsburgh Coal. These results provide empirical evidence of the limitations inherent in the classification of coal tonnage into distance classes as a proxy for actual calculation of uncertainty. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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