47th Annual AAPG-SPE Eastern Section Joint Meeting

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Structure and isopach mapping of the Mississippian Black Hand Sandstone in eastern Ohio (northwest Appalachian Basin)


Accurate mapping of the base of the deepest underground source of drinking water (USDW) is crucial for well planning and protection of aquifers in eastern Ohio, where oil-and- gas exploration is common. The deepest USDW in east-central Ohio is the Mississippian Black Hand Sandstone Member of the Cuyahoga Formation. In its type area, the Black Hand Sandstone is defined as a porous, medium- to coarse-grained sandstone with common conglomeratic lenses. Originally interpreted to be a deltaic deposit, more recent research suggests the Black Hand may be part of an incised fluvial system. In the subsurface, the Black Hand is correlated to the drillers’ “Big Injun,” although this term is haphazardly applied to several Mississippian and Pennsylvanian units with low gamma signatures in eastern Ohio. Therefore, a more rigorous subsurface definition of the Black Hand is necessary for detailed mapping. Analyses of outcrop, geophysical well logs, and well cuttings were combined to define the Black Hand in the subsurface and to produce isopach and structure maps of the unit. Detailed subsurface maps of the Black Hand Sandstone will provide insight into its complex depositional system and can aid in the development of robust well-casing programs.