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Appalachian Basin

News & Recent Publications

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Geochemical and Mineralogical Sampling of the Devonian Shales in the Broadtop Synclinorium, Appalachian Basin, in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania

USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2015-1061
Reconnaissance field mapping and outcrop sampling for geochemical and mineralogical analyses indicate that the Middle Devonian Marcellus Shale in the Broadtop synclinorium and nearby areas from southeastern West Virginia to south-central Pennsylvania has an organic content sufficiently high and a thermal maturity sufficiently moderate to be considered for a shale gas play...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Coal and Petroleum Resources in the Appalachian Basin: Distribution, Geologic Framework, and Geochemical Character

USGS Publication: Professional Paper 1708
Fossil fuels from the Appalachian basin region have been major contributors to the Nation’s energy supplies over much of the last three centuries. Appalachian coal and petroleum resources are still available in sufficient quantities to contribute significantly to fulfilling the Nation’s energy needs. Although both conventional oil and gas continue to be produced in the Appalachian basin, most new wells in the region are drilled in shale reservoirs to produce natural gas...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Geochemical and isotopic evolution of water produced from Middle Devonian Marcellus shale gas wells, Appalachian basin, Pennsylvania

Outside Publication: AAPG Bulletin
The number of Marcellus Shale gas wells drilled in the Appalachian basin has increased rapidly over the past decade, leading to increased interest in the highly saline water produced with the natural gas which must be recycled, treated, or injected into deep disposal wells. New geochemical and isotopic analyses of produced water for 3 time-series and 13 grab samples from Marcellus Shale...

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Atmospheric particulate matter in proximity to mountaintop coal mines: sources and potential environmental and human health impacts

Outside Publication: Environmental Geochemistry and Health
Mountaintop removal mining (MTM) is a widely used approach to surface coal mining in the US Appalachian region whereby large volumes of coal overburden are excavated using explosives, removed, and transferred to nearby drainages below MTM operations. To investigate the air quality impact of MTM, the geochemical characteristics of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) from five surface mining...

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Central Appalachian Basin Natural Gas Database: Distribution, Composition, and Origin of Natural Gases

USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2014-1207
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has compiled a database consisting of three worksheets of central Appalachian basin natural gas analyses and isotopic compositions from published and unpublished sources of 1,282 gas samples from Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Petrographic maturity parameters of a Devonian shale maturation series, Appalachian Basin, USA. ICCP Thermal Indices Working Group interlaboratory exercise

Outside Publication: International Journal of Coal Geology
This paper presents results of an interlaboratory exercise on organic matter optical maturity parameters using a natural maturation series comprised by three Devonian shale samples (Huron Member, Ohio Shale) from the Appalachian Basin, USA. This work was conducted by the Thermal Indices Working Group of the International Committee for Coal and Organic Petrology (ICCP) Commission II (Geological Applications of Organic Petrology).

Monday, June 02, 2014

The Devonian Marcellus Shale and Millboro Shale

Outside Publication: GSA Field Guides 35, 2014
This field trip will examine a number of natural and engineered exposures in the vicinity of the West Virginia–Virginia state line, where participants will have the opportunity to view a variety of sedimentary facies within the Marcellus shale itself, sedimentary structures, tectonic structures, fossils, overlying and underlying formations, volcaniclastic ash beds, and to view a basaltic intrusion.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Characterization of the Marcellus Shale Based on Computer-Assisted Correlation of Wireline Logs in Virginia and West Virginia

USGS Publication: Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5131
In an attempt to determine if this scale of deformation is detectable with conventional wireline logs, petrophysical properties (primarily mineralogy and porosity) were measured by interpretation of gamma-ray and bulk-density logs. The results of performing a statistical correlation of wireline logs from nine wells indicated that there are discontinuities within the Millboro Shale (undifferentiated Marcellus Shale and Mahantango Formation) where there are significant thickness differences between wells. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Surface disposal of produced waters in western and southwestern Pennsylvania

Potential for accumulation of alkali-earth elements in sediments

Outside Publication: International Journal of Coal Geology
In this study, we assess whether disposal practices from treatment of produced waters from both shale gas and conventional operations in Pennsylvania could result in the accumulation of associated alkali earth elements. The results from our 5 study sites indicate that there was no increase in concentrations of total Ra (Ra-226) and extractable Ba, Ca, Na, or Sr in fluvial sediments downstream of the discharge outfalls (p > 0.05) of publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) and centralized waste treatment facilities (CWTs). 



A fully loaded coal train winds through scenic Appalachia
Photo: A fully loaded coal train winds
through scenic Appalachia.

The Appalachian Basin Region is a physiographic province extending from Alabama to Maine and encompasses the eastern seaboard of the United States. Evidence suggests the complex geology of the region was formed by a series of continental plate collisions and deformation resulting in the Appalachian Mountains and large areas of elongated, faulted, and deformed ridges and valleys. Over time erosion has carried sediments seaward to the continental shelf and modified the landscape to the more familiar piedmont terraine. The region contains large amounts of natural resources and a long history of oil, gas, and coal production. The first oil wells in the U.S. were discovered in this province and research and assessments continue on these prolific coal and oil and gas deposits. This web site provides access to the diverse Energy Resources Program research activities and products within the Appalachian Basin Region.


National Oil and Gas Assessments: Appalachian Basin Focus Area
National Oil and Gas

National Oil and Gas Assessments

The USGS has completed several assessments of the Appalachian Basin. This information is summarized on the Oil and Gas Assessment Appalachian Basin page.

National Coal Resource Assessment: Appalachian Basin Focus Area
National Coal Resource

National Coal Resource Assessment

The National Coal Resource Assessment (NCRA) project was a multi-year effort by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Program to identify, characterize, and assess the coal resources that will supply a major part of the Nation’s energy needs during the next few decades. NCRA data and publications are available on the NCRA Appalachian Basin page.

Coalbed Methane Assessment: Appalachian Basin Focus Area
Coalbed Methane Assessment

Coalbed Methane Assessment

There are coalbed methane assessments for the Appalachian Basin currently available.






Coal and Petroleum Resources Data Report

Regional Cross-section Maps

An example of a cross-section map
An example of a cross-section map that documents and improves understanding of the geologic framework and petroleum systems of the Appalachian basin.

Ryder, R.T., Trippi, M.H., Swezey, C.S. Crangle, R.D., Jr., Hope, R.S., Rowan, E.L., and Lentz, E.E., 2012, Geologic cross section C–C’ through the Appalachian basin from Erie County, north-central Ohio, to the Valley and Ridge province, Bedford County, south-central Pennsylvania: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3172, 2 sheets, 70-p. pamphlet.
Available at:

Trippi, M.H., and Crangle, R.D., Jr., 2009, Log ASCII Standard (LAS) files for geophysical (gamma ray) wireline well logs and their application to geologic cross section C-C’ through the central Appalachian basin: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2009-1021, 13 p., 20 LAS files.
Available at:

Ryder, R.T., Crangle, R.D., Jr., Trippi, M.H., Swezey, C.S., Lentz, E.E., Rowan, E.L., and Hope, R.S., 2009, Geologic cross section D–D’ through the Appalachian basin from the Findlay arch, Sandusky County, Ohio, to the Valley and Ridge province, Hardy County, West Virginia: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3067, 2 sheets, 52-p. pamphlet.
Available at:
Also Available: Downloadable Corresponding LAS Files 

Ryder, R.T., Swezey, C.S., Crangle, R.D. Jr., and Trippi, M.H., 2008, Geologic Cross Section E-E' through the Appalachian Basin from the Findlay Arch, Wood County, Ohio, to the Valley and Ridge Province, Pendleton County, West Virginia: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 2985.
Available at:
Also Available: Downloadable Corresponding LAS Files

Ryder, R.T, 2008, Stratigraphic Framework of Cambrian and Ordovician Rocks in the Appalachian Basin from Sequatchie County, Tennessee, through Eastern Kentucky, to Mingo County, West Virginia: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 2994.
Available at:

Crangle, R.D., 2007, Log ASCII Standard (LAS) files for geophysical wireline well logs and their application to geologic cross sections through the central Appalachian basin: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1142.
Available at:

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, December 03, 2014


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