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Burial history reconstruction of the Appalachian Basin in Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, using 1D petroleum system models

October 1, 2019

Nine 1D burial history models were built across the Appalachian Basin to reconstruct the burial, erosional, and thermal maturation histories of contained petroleum source rocks. Models were calibrated to measured downhole temperature and to vitrinite reflectance (% Ro) data from Devonian through Pennsylvanian petroleum source rocks. The highest levels of thermal maturity in Devonian and Mississippian source rocks are within and proximal to the Rome trough in the deep basin, which is also within the confluence of increased structural complexity and associated faulting, overpressured Devonian shales, and thick intervals of salt in the underlying Silurian Salina Group.

Models incorporate minor erosion from 260 to 140 million years ago (Ma) that allows for extended burial and heating of underlying strata and generally results in less eroded thickness, compared to previously published models. Two modeled times of increased erosion, from 140 to 90 Ma and 23 to 5.3 Ma, are followed by less erosion from 5.3 Ma to Present. Absent strata are mainly Permian shales and sandstone; thickness of these removed layers increased from about 6,200 ft (1,890 m) west of the Rome trough to as much as 9,650 ft (2,940 m) within the trough. The onset of oil generation is based on 0.6% Ro for Pennsylvanian coal samples; time of onset for the Ordovician Utica Shale ranges from 387 to 306 Ma, and 359 to 282 Ma for Middle Devonian to basal Mississippian shales. The ∼1.2% Ro onset of wet gas generation ranges from 360 to 281 Ma in the Utica Shale, and 298 to 150 Ma for Middle Devonian to lowermost Mississippian shales.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title Burial history reconstruction of the Appalachian Basin in Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, using 1D petroleum system models
DOI 10.31582/rmag.mg.56.4.365
Authors Debra K. Higley, Catherine B. Enomoto
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Mountain Geologist
Series Number
Index ID 70217792
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Central Energy Resources Science Center