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Iapetan Opening/Rome Trough-Related Faults and Their Reactivation History in New York State

Jacobi, Robert D.1, Stuart Loewenstein2, Gerald Smith3, John Fountain3, Courtney Lugert3, and John Martin4
1 UB Rock Fracture Group, Geology Dept., University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, 
2 Quest Energy, Amherst, NY, 
3 UB Rock Fracture Group, Geology Dept., University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, , 
4 NYSERDA, Albany, NY

There is a long tradition of speculation concerning the northern extension of the Rome Trough/Iapetan opening faults from central Pennsylvania (PA) into New York State (NYS). Alternative fault traces included a gentle northeasterly-trending arc that continues into NYS (e.g., Harper, 1989) or a sharper arc that constrains the faults to PA.

The UB Rock Fracture Group integrated Landsat (Earthsat, 1998) and topographic lineaments, detailed structural and sedimentological/stratigraphical analyses at over 2500 outcrops, well log data, soil gas data, and seismic reflection data in order to identify and trace both surface and subsurface faults across the Appalachian Basin of New York State (NYS). We previously had recognized that the arcing traces of presumed Alleghanian folds and faults follow geopotential field gradients in some areas, suggesting a relationship with basement. Recently reprocessed seismic data across a few of these presumed Alleghanian trends show that these particular trends are actually Iapetan opening/Rome Trough-related faults that have been extensively reactivated for much of the Phanerozoic. Growth fault geometries in the basal sedimentary section can be observed both for both these faults and for the Clarendon-Linden Fault System. The extent and import of reactivated Rome Trough-related faults is significant. Fault influence on oil and gas plays includes: 1) fault controlled deposition of reservoir quality rocks (e.g., Bradford oil pool), 2) fluid migration along fault systems resulting in vuggy porosity from dissolution and later precipitation (Trenton/Black River), and 3) fracture porosity reservoirs related directly or indirectly to the deep fault systems (e.g., Bass Island Trend).

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90031©2004 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, October 3-5, 2004