--> Regional Seismic Interpretation of the Rome Trough

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Regional Seismic Interpretation of the Rome Trough, West Virginia – Implications for Deep Gas Exploration



Oldham Geoscience, Morgantown, WV,


Geophysical Consulting, Wabash, IN


     Interpretation of regional seismic data across the Rome Trough of West Virginia reveals a series of significant trough-margin and interior faults that were active at various times during the Paleozoic.    Extension, associated with the opening of the Iapetus sea during Cambrian time,  created the Rome Trough, a NE-trending failed rift.  Increased accommodation space within the rift allowed for the deposition of a thick sequence of Cambro-Ordovician clastic and carbonate rocks, including the Trenton-Black River carbonate section, which is currently a primary exploratory target within the Rome Trough and throughout the Appalachian basin.  Significant growth during Cambrian time took place on the interior side of major trough margin and interior faults.

     Reactivation of trough-margin and interior faults took place in Late Paleozoic time in response to Alleghenian deformation.  Reversal of Early Paleozoic normal faults and resultant structural inversion created shallow- and intermediate-depth structures and enhanced fracturing of deeper strata along pre-existing fault zones. 

     A number of  intermediate-deep gas plays can be related to faults within the Rome Trough.  These include:  (1) structural traps at the level of the Devonian Huntersville Chert and Oriskany Sandstone and the Silurian Newburg and Tuscarora sandstones; (2) fractured carbonates of the Ordovician Trenton-Black River Groups; and (3) structural and stratigraphic traps within the Cambrian rift sequence.