--> ABSTRACT: History of Petroleum Geology in New York, by Arthur M. Van Tyne; #90906(2001)

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Arthur M. Van Tyne1

(1) Van Tyne Consulting, Wellsville, NY

ABSTRACT: History of Petroleum Geology in New York

The first recorded observation of petroleum in North America was made in 1656 at the Cuba oil spring in Allegany County, New York. The first observation of this seep by an American scientist was made by Benjamin Silliman, a Professor at Yale, who visited the spring in 1832. His report stressed products which could be made from oil.

The first commercial oil well in New York was drilled in 1865 near the New York-Pennsylvania state line about 60 miles northeast of the Drake well. Although this well started an oil drilling boom,there is no evidence that any technical geologic skills were applied to those ventures.

James Hall, the State Geologist of New York, studied the surficial rocks of western New York from 1837-1841. He was concerned with their paleontology and stratigraphy. The first petroleum geology which related to the shallow oil sands of New York was accomplished by the Pennsylvania Survey geologist John F. Carll in his studies of shallow sandstones in western Pennsylvania in 1880. Carlls' studies were the first to suggest a relationship between high areas and oil production and to suggest various trends of production.

The first modern practitioner of petroleum geology in New York was George H. Chadwick. In the 1920s and 1930s he studied the surface and subsurface rocks of New York and related them to oil and gas production.He was the first to describe facies changes in local rocks. In 1929, C.A.Hartnagel, a New York State Geologist, published a paper on the New York oil fields in which he discussed the oil sands and their probable genesis. From that time on the New York Geological Survey became the prime source of information about oil and gas well drilling and its geological implications in New York.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90906©2001 AAPG Annual Convention, Denver, Colorado