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Geologic Investigations Series Map I-2768
Version 1.0

Regional Stratigraphy and Petroleum Systems of the Appalachian Basin, North America

By Christopher S. Swezey


Although more than 100 years of research have gone into deciphering the Paleozoic stratigraphy of the Appalachian basin of North America, it remains a challenge to visualize the basin stratigraphy on a regional scale and to describe stratigraphic relations within the basin. Similar difficulties exist for visualizing and describing the regional distribution of petroleum source rocks and reservoir rocks. This publication addresses these difficulties by combining existing data on stratigraphy and petroleum geology of the Appalachian basin, and presenting these data in a succinct, schematic format. Such a regional synthesis of the basin will be particularly useful for persons only generally acquainted with Appalachian geology. In addition, many of the broad relations that emerge from this compilation may be of interest to specialists of Appalachian basin stratigraphy and petroleum geology.

In order to facilitate comparisons of strata across the basin and to observe broad patterns in stratigraphy, 24 schematic chronostratigraphic sections were arranged from southwest to northeast, with time denoted in equal increments along the sections. The stratigraphic data were modified from American Association of Petroleum Geologists, AAPG (1985a,b) and Sanford (1993), and the time scale was taken from Harland and others (1990); informal North American chronostratigraphic terms from AAPG (1985a,b) are shown in parentheses. Stratigraphic sequences as defined by Sloss (1963, 1988) and Wheeler (1963) also were included, as well as brief descriptions of general features and interpreted events. In addition, figure 1 shows the locations of postulated petroleum source rocks (compiled from Roen and Walker, 1996) and also the locations of petroleum plays (compiled from Epsman, 1987; Roen and Walker, 1996). All of the stratigraphic units shown on figure 1 have been colored according to predominant lithology, although many of the stratigraphic names have been deliberately removed so as to emphasize general lithologic patterns and to provide a broad overview of the basin.

Geologic Investigations Series Map I-2768 [363-KB PDF file]

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Contact Information

For questions about the scientific content of this report, contact Christopher S. Swezey.

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