Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Geologic framework for the national assessment of carbon dioxide storage resources—Atlantic Coastal Plain and Eastern Mesozoic Rift Basins

August 29, 2018

This chapter presents information pertinent to the geologic carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration potential within saline aquifers located in the Atlantic Coastal Plain and Eastern Mesozoic Rift Basins of the Eastern United States. The Atlantic Coastal Plain is underlain by a Jurassic to Quaternary succession of sedimentary strata that onlap westward onto strata of the Appalachian Piedmont physiographic province and generally thicken eastward toward the present-day Atlantic coastline and onto the present-day continental shelf. Although no significant petroleum discoveries have been made on the coastal plain, the deep saline aquifers of the region appear to contain porous strata (potential reservoirs, or “storage formations”) that are overlain by fine-grained, laterally continuous strata (potential seals), which are prospective CO2 sequestration targets. For the Atlantic Coastal Plain, we identify two storage assessment units (SAUs), both of which consist of Cretaceous strata. The two SAUs are the Lower Cretaceous Composite SAU C50700101 and the Upper Cretaceous Composite SAU C50700102.

The Eastern Mesozoic Rift Basins are a chain of generally southwest- to northeast-trending, elongate sedimentary basins that either underlie the Atlantic Coastal Plain or crop out within adjacent geologic provinces to the west. Similar to the Atlantic Coastal Plain, there has been no significant oil and gas production from any of the basins, although there is a proven petroleum system in several of them. At least three of these basins appear to contain potential storage formations overlain by potential seal units. Most of the other basins were not assessed because a storage and (or) seal formation could not be established in the timeframe of the assessment, often because of the paucity of subsurface data for these basins in comparison to other petroliferous basins of the United States. Thus, we present information supporting one quantitative assessment in the Newark basin, as well as information supporting two nonquantitative assessments, one for strata in the Gettysburg basin and the other for strata in the Culpeper basin. We briefly discuss six other basins within the Eastern Mesozoic Rift Basins that were not assessed.

For all SAUs, we discuss the areal distribution of suitable CO2 reservoir rock. We also describe the overlying sealing unit and the geologic characteristics that influence the potential CO2 storage volume and reservoir characteristics. These characteristics include storage formation depth, gross thickness, net thickness, porosity, permeability, and groundwater salinity. Case-by-case strategies for estimating the pore volume existing within structurally and (or) stratigraphically closed traps are presented. Although assessment results are not contained in this chapter, the geologic information included herein was used to calculate the potential storage space in the SAUs.

Publication Year 2018
Title Geologic framework for the national assessment of carbon dioxide storage resources—Atlantic Coastal Plain and Eastern Mesozoic Rift Basins
DOI 10.3133/ofr20121024N
Authors William H. Craddock, Matthew D. Merrill, Tina L. Roberts-Ashby, Sean T. Brennan, Marc L. Buursink, Ronald M. Drake, Peter D. Warwick, Steven M. Cahan, Christina A. DeVera, Philip A. Freeman, Mayur A. Gosai, Celeste D. Lohr
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2012-1024
Index ID ofr20121024N
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Central Energy Resources Science Center; Eastern Energy Resources Science Center; Energy Resources Program