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What’s Up with All the Deep-Well Drilling in the Ohio Region?

Mark T. Baranoski
Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological Survey, [email protected]

Approximately 500 wells have been drilled below the Knox Dolomite in Ohio since 1902, and 250 of these wells have penetrated the Precambrian basement. Most of the deep drilling during the last thirty years has been to secure deep saline reservoirs for storage of industrial and oil field waste. Recent subsurface correlations, using wireline and core data from deep oil and gas wells, redefine Sauk sequence rocks in the Ohio region. Stratigraphic nomenclature and boundaries for the lower part of the Sauk sequence were refined and updated. Results indicate that following the Grenville Orogeny and East Continent rifting, and about a half-billion years of subsequent erosion, a broad platform developed during the Cambrian Period, marking the start of the Paleozoic Era on Laurentia. Further, essential elements of basin architecture in the Ohio region appear to be fivefold: (1) the Waverly Arch; (2) the northwestern Rome Trough high, a rift shoulder in southern Ohio and adjacent Kentucky and West Virginia; (3) the north–south trending Grenville front boundary zone of west central Ohio; (4) the stable cratonic Ohio Platform; and (5) adjacent structural and depositional sags (proto Illinois-Michigan Basin, proto Appalachian Basin, and Rome Trough). Development of the Cincinnati Arch appears to have been unaffected by either the Waverly Arch or Ohio Platform, as neither feature exhibits tectonic coincidence with this later-formed feature. This revised framework provides new information pertaining to saline reservoir studies for industrial-waste and brine disposal, gas storage, CO2 sequestration, and hydrocarbon exploration.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90154©2012 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Cleveland, Ohio, 22-26 September 2012