The trace and rare earth elements (REE) analyses were conducted on samples collected from a 30 m core of the Marcellus Shale obtained from Greene County, southwestern Pennsylvania. Our results suggest that organic matter enrichment trends in the Marcellus Shale can be directly linked with the Acadian Orogeny. The Acadian Orogeny has been recognized as a main sediment source for the Marcellus Shale. Synthesis of tectonic history and recent ash bed geochronology, reveals that deposition of the organic carbon-rich (OR) zone (characterized by TOC >4%; located between 2393 m and 2406.5 m core depth) in the studied Marcellus Shale core was coincident with tectonically active and magmatic quiescent period of the Acadian orogeny (ca. 395–380 Ma). This time period also corresponds to the highest rate of mountain building in the Acadian Orogeny. The light rare earth (LREE) and selected trace elemental (e.g., Ta, Cs) composition of the OR zone sediments is similar to that of the bulk continental crust, supporting the lack of magmatic activity in the source area (i.e. Acadian Orogeny). In contrast, subsequent deposition of the organic carbon-poor (OP) sediments (characterized by TOC <4%; located between 2376 m and 2393 m core depth) in the upper Marcellus Shale occurred synchronously with a magmatic active phase (ca. 380–370 Ma) during the Acadian orogeny. The OP zone sediments have LREE and trace elemental composition similar to the average of the upper continental crust, suggesting intrusion of granodiorite rocks during a magmatic active period of Acadian Orogeny. The temporal and geochemical correlation between the Acadian orogenesis and the Marcellus deposition provide evidence for the role of tectonism in the enrichment of organic matter in the Marcellus Shale.
Marine and Petroleum Geology – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2017
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