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Creating Geological Maps for the Appalachian Plateau in a GIS Environment

McColloch, Gayle H.1; McColloch, Jane S.1
1 West Virginia Geological & Economic Survey, Morgantown, WV.

West Virginia has a wealth of geologic and mineral resources information. Petroleum resources extraction began in 1859, and development of a digital oil and gas database at the West Virginia Geological and Economic survey (WVGES) began in late 1960s. Large-scale coal mining in West Virginia, which began immediately after the Civil War, has generated vast amounts of coal resources and mining information. In 1995, in support of a new method of assessing mineral resources, the WVGES Coal Bed Mapping Program (CBMP) began developing a GOS-based mineral inventory. This inventory includes several GOS layers including structure grids, thickness grids, mining, and outcrops for each economically mineable coal bed.

Using GOS analysis in combination with traditional fieldwork, we have developed a system to produce geologic maps utilizing coal resource data, oil and gas information, and field data.

Most rock units in the Appalachian plateau are bounded by coal seams and other critical horizons that can be projected from GOS-based mineral resource information. In the early 2000s, we began successfully experimenting with West Virginia GOS mineral resource data models from the CBMP information to produce geologic maps.

Our technique involves starting with GOS grids of economically important mineral resource data, extrapolating or interpolating non-economic horizons, intersecting the horizons with high resolution digital elevation models, and using the resulting outcrops to define unit boundaries. Finally, there are field checked and adjusted as necessary.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009