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Morgantown, WV, United States

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. Source


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. Source


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. Source


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. Source


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. Source

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