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Separating the Spiderweb of Faults in the Northern Appalachian Basin of NYS and PA: Grenvillian to Present Fault Activity That Influenced Reservoir Development

Robert D. Jacobi1, Stuart Loewenstein2, Gerald Smith1, John Martin3, and Tom Mroz4,

1Geology Department, UB Rock Fracture Group, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260

2Quest Energy, 1404 Sweethome Rd. Suite 3, Amherst, NY 14228

3NYSERDA, 17 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY 12203-6399 (518 862 1060 x3265)

4USDOE/NETL, 3610 Collins Ferry Road, PO Box 880, Morgantown, WV 26507-0880

Integration of 11 types of data promote recognition of a complex web of fault systems in the Appalachian Basin of NYS and PA, and demonstrate a nearly continuous reactivation history of these fault systems. This view of an extremely faulted continental basin can serve as a model for developing continental basins, and for the prominent influence of faulting on depositional systems in shallow basins.

Reactivations of the northerly-trending intra-Grenvillian suture and other Grenvillian faults were common throughout the Phanerzoic. Reprocessed proprietary seismic data indicate that the arcuate Phanerozoic Appalachian structural pattern was strongly influenced by an arcuate system of Iapetan opening/Rome Trough faults. Arcuate lineaments (from satellite images) that are coincident with aeromagnetic anomalies support this interpretation. These early arcuate faults controlled (through weakened, fractured rock from fault reactivations) the locations of later faults, including Alleghanian faults (including thrust ramps). Other fault trends (e.g., NW) also have extended faulting histories.

Phaerozoic units have depositional patterns that indicate syndepositional fault control. For example, interplay between the eustatic sea level and reactivation of the arcuate Iapetan-opening fault blocks guided Devonian sandstone deposition.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90059©2006 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Buffalo, New York