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Influence of the West Virginia Dome on Paleocurrent Patterns in the Upper Devonian-Lower Mississippian Price Formation in the Central Appalachians

S. J. Murphy1 and T. W. Kammer2
1WV Geological Survey Morgantown, WV
2West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

Upper Devonian-Lower Mississippian sedimentation was influenced by a positive area known as the West Virginia Dome located in the Central Appalachians. Paleocurrent data collected from the Price Formation demonstrates the significance of the dome on paleoflow patterns. Exposures inWest Virginia are located along the Allegheny Front and include the lowermost marine Oswayo Member, Cussewago Sandstone Member, Riddlesburg Shale Member, and the uppermost non-marine Rockwell Member. These units overlie the Devonian Hampshire Formation or Greenland Gap Formation and underlie the Mississippian Greenbrier Limestone or Maccrady Formation. At the center of the dome the Price formation is absent; the Mississippian Greenbrier Limestone sits unconformably on the Devonian Hampshire Formation.

Paleocurrent data were analyzed to determine if theWest Virginia Dome was being uplifted during the Late Devonian-Early Mississippian or during the Middle Mississippian. Outcrop locations were chosen around the West Virginia Dome for accurate distribution of paleocurrent data. Paleoflow indicators reveal syndepositional patterns suggesting the dome was active during the Late Devonian-Earliest Mississippian. Paleocurrents south of the dome indicate southwest to west flow patterns suggesting paleochannels meandered around the dome. Northern mapping area localities reveal west to northwest paleoflow directions.

Subsurface exploration in the Price Formation has produced large quantities of gas in West Virginia. These gas reservoirs are located in western portions of the depositional basin and include the Upper Devonian-Lower Mississippian Berea, Big Injun andWeir sandstones. The subsurface Berea is time-equivalent to the Cussewago Sandstone that outcrops in easternWest Virginia. Therefore, paleoflow patterns influenced by theWest Virginia Dome may suggest trends that apply to subsurface members of Price Formation.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90900©2001 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Kalamazoo, Michigan