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Union Springs as Target Member of the NE Marcellus Shale

Union Springs as Target Member of the NE Marcellus Shale

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Union Springs as target member of the Marcellus Shale in NE Pennsylvania
Union Springs as target member of the Marcellus Shale in NE Pennsylvania

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Published by: James "Chip" Northrup on Mar 31, 2014
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Sequence stratigraphy and depositional environments of theShamokin (Union Springs) Member, Marcellus Formation,and associated strata in themiddle Appalachian Basin
Daniel Kohl, Rudy Slingerland, Mike Arthur,Reed Bracht, and Terry Engelder
ABSTRACT
Organic-carbon
rich shales of the lower Marcellus Formationwere deposited at the toe and basinward of a prograding clino-them associated with a Mahantango Formation delta complexcentered near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Distribution of theseorganic-carbon
richshaleswasinfluencedbyshiftsinthedeltacomplex driven by changes in rates of accommodation crea-tion and by a topographically high carbonate bank that formedalong the Findlay-Algonquin arch during deposition of theOnondaga Formation. Specifically, we interpret the UnionSprings member (Shamokin Member of the Marcellus For-mation) and the Onondaga Formation as comprising a singlethird-order depositional sequence. The Onondaga Formationwas deposited in the lowstand to transgressive systems tract,and the Union Springs member was deposited in the trans-gressive,highstand,andfalling-stagesystemstract.Theregionalextent of parasequences, systems tracts, and the interpreteddepositional sequence suggest that base-level fluctuationswereprimarilycausedbyallogenicforcing
eustasy,climate,orregionalthermalupliftorsubsidence
insteadofbasementfault reactivation as argued by previous workers. Paleowaterdepthsin the region of Marcellus Formation black mudrock accu-mulation were at least 330 ft (100 m) as estimated by differ-ences in strata thickness between the northwestern carbonate
AUTHORS
Daniel Kohl
 Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802; present address: Chevron North America Exploration and ProductionCompany, 1550 Coraopolis Heights Road, Moon Township Pennsylvania 15108-1611;  Daniel.Kohl@Chevron.com
Daniel Kohl is a geologist working for ChevronNorth America. He received an M.S. degree ingeoscience from the Pennsylvania State Univer-sity and a B.S. degree in geology from Wash-ington and Lee University. Currently, he works to explore and develop unconventionalshale gas plays in the Appalachian Basin of theeastern United States.
Rudy Slingerland
 Department of Geo- sciences, Pennsylvania State University, Univer- sity Park, Pennsylvania 16802; sling@psu.edu
Rudy Slingerland is a professor of geology at thePennsylvania State University. He received a B.S.degree from Dickinson College and an M.S.degree and a Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania StateUniversity. Currently, his research focuses onearth surface processes, sedimentation, andstratigraphy.
Mike Arthur
 Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802; maa6@psu.edu
Mike A. Arthur, a geochemist and sedimentary geologist, is a Penn State professor of geo-sciences. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees from theUniversityof California, Riverside, and a Ph.D.from Princeton University.Currently, hisresearchfocuses on studies of modern marine environ-ments characterized by organic-carbon
richsediment deposits.
Reed Bracht
 Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802; reed.bracht@gmail.com
Reed Bracht is a geophysicist working for HessCorporation. He received his B.S degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his M.S.degree from the Pennsylvania State University.He has worked various unconventional plays,offshore Gulf of Mexico, and Equatorial Guinea, Africa.
Copyright ©2014. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.Manuscript received July 16, 2012; provisional acceptance March 26, 2013; revised manuscript received June 26, 2013; final acceptance August 23, 2013.DOI:10.1306/08231312124
AAPG Bulletin, v. 98, no. 3 (March 2014), pp. 483
513
 483
 
bank and basinal facies to the southeast. Geochemical analysisindicates anoxic to euxinic bottom-water conditions. These con-ditionsweresupportedbyadeep,stratifiedbasinwithalackof circulation.
INTRODUCTION
The Marcellus Formation throughout Pennsylvania, NewYork, WestVirginia,andOhioisaprovenunconventionalnatural-gasresource, potentially containing as many as 489 tcf of recover-able reserves (Engelder and Lash, 2008) and 84 tcf of undis-coveredresources(Colemanetal.,2011).Since2006,advancesin horizontal drilling and high-volume hydrofracturing tech-nology have revitalized the basin and resulted in more than3000 wells producing from the formation. Initial well produc-tion rates vary greatly (less than 1 to more than 10 mmcf/day)and likely depend on a multitude of parameters, includingcompletion style, reservoir quality, structural variation, strati-graphic placement of horizontal well bore, and lateral length.The large number of variables influencing well productionrates presents a complex multivariate problem. Central to un-raveling the variable production rates is an understanding of the subsurface facies variations as controlled by sequence stra-tigraphy and the depositional environment.PreviousstratigraphicworkbyBrettandverStraeten(1994),ver Straeten (1996, 2004, 2007), and Brett et al. (2011) reliedprincipally on outcrop observations in Pennsylvania, West Vir-ginia, and New York. This study integrates these outcropstudies with cores, well logs, and geochemical data to con-struct a sequence-stratigraphic and depositional model for theOnondaga Formation through the Shamokin (Union Springs)and Purcell Members of the Marcellus Formation in the mid-dle Appalachian Basin of Pennsylvania (Figure 1). Of thetwo organic-carbon
rich zones in the Marcellus, the lowerShamokin (Union Springs) Member is emphasized because it is the present stratigraphic target interval of many horizontalwells. The major objectives are (1) to define and describe thelithofacies and associated depositional processes and systemstracts of the lower part of the Marcellus and associated for-mations and (2) to construct a sequence-stratigraphic frame-work for predicting the lateral and vertical variability of theeconomicallysignificantlithofaciesinthisinterval.Weseektofocus on the lower sequence in the Marcellus as an analog fortheoverlying sequences that contributeto thelarger reservoir.This interval provides an excellent analog because of through-going ash beds that are used to guide sequence-stratigraphic
 Terry Engelder
 Department of Geosci-ences, Pennsylvania State University, University  Park, Pennsylvania 16802; engelder@geosc.psu.edu
Terry Engelder is a professor of geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University. He receivedhis B.S. degree from the Pennsylvania StateUniversity, his M.S. degree from Yale University,and his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. Hehas previously served on the staff of the U.S.Geological Survey, Texaco, and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. He has written 150 researcharticles, many focused on Appalachia, and abook,
 Stress Regimes in the Lithosphere
.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
 We are grateful for funding provided to the Appalachian Basin Black Shale Research Groupby Chesapeake Energy Corporation, ChevronNorth American Exploration and Production,Consol Energy, Encana Oil and Gas, EnergyPlus,ExxonMobil, Hess Corporation, Range ResourcesCorporation, Samson Resources, Shell CanadaEnergy, Southwestern Energy Company, Statoil,Talisman Energy, and Unconventionals LLC. We thank Alex Bryk, Genevieve Ellsworth, Nate Wysocki, Leah Toms, and Taylor Mclean for theirhelp in preparing the data set and with field work and Gary Lash for sharing his compilationof logs from the Appalachian Basin. ElizabethHajek provided helpful reviews of earlier drafts.This manuscript benefited from comments by Terrilyn Olson, Daniel Ciulavu, and one anony-mous reviewer.The AAPG Editor thanks Senior Associate EditorTerrilyn Olson and the following reviewers: DanielCiulavu and an anonymous reviewer.
484
 Union Springs Sequence Stratigraphy and Depositional Environments
 
interpretations and reveal synchronously depositedfacies. We build on earlier subsurface work (West,1978;PiotrowskiandHarper,1979;Rickard,1984,1989; de Witt et al., 1993; Lash and Engelder,2011), but our interpretations differ in detail, sys-tems tracts, and causes.The Union Springs member and the underly-ing Onondaga Formation compose a single third-order depositional sequence. Within this sequence,we identify 10 parasequences, 3 associated withthe Onondaga Formation, one transition, and sixparasequences associated with the Union Springsmember.WeinterprettheOnondagaFormationtorepresent the lowstand and early transgressive sys-tems tract (TST), and the Union Springs memberwas deposited during the TST, highstand systemstract(HST),andfalling-stagesystemstract(FSST).The overlying Purcell Member comprises the low-stand systems tract (LST) of the next depositionalsequence. The upper part of the Union Springsmember was deposited as part of a forced regres-sion and is coeval with more proximal delta-front sandstonesoftheMahantangoFormation.Assuch,the thickness and spatial distribution of the res-ervoir facies within the Union Springs memberwas influenced by the progradation of this deltacomplex. Additionally, prior to the deposition of the Union Springs member, an as-much-as-220-ft (67-m)-thick carbonate bank with pinnacle reefs(Onondaga Formation) was deposited in thenorthand northwestern parts of the basin. The UnionSprings member onlaps and pinches out onto thisbank, which provides a minimum water depth of deposition for the organic-carbon
rich reservoir
Figure 1.
 Map of the study area showing the Marcellus Formation outcrop belt and the locations of wells, cores, outcrops, and publishedmeasured sections used in this study. Numbers mark key localities referenced in the text: (1) Sampson 1 Yoder core, (2) Frankstownoutcrop, (3)Mapletonoutcrop,(4)Bilgercore,(5)EastWaterfordoutcrop,(6)BaldEaglecore,(7)Erbcore,(8)Handiboecore,(9)SwataraGapoutcrop, (10) Honeoye Falls outcrop, (11) Seneca Stone outcrop. Lines AA 
′ 
, BB
′ 
, and CC
′ 
 are found in Figure 11 (foldout). Lines DD
′ 
, EE
′ 
, FF
′ 
,and GG
′ 
 are found in Figure 12 (foldout). Line HH
′ 
 is found in Figure 9.
Kohl et al.
 485

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