Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Trip to a Marcellus Outcrop with Sara Auer...

It's important as staff members of PRI to make sure we get out into the field. In light of all the attention on the Marcellus hydrofracture horizontal drilling debate I've been trying to learn about the geology of the Marcellus Shale. Yesterday I finally got to see it for myself at the Seneca Stone Quarry (with prior permission of course). The Seneca Quarry is a very interesting mix of limestone, sandstone, shale, and even an ash layer here and there from pre-historic volcanic eruptions. The Marcellus Shale sticks out with its striking black coloring, which is due to its high organic content. The shale has many color gradations from lighter-less carbon rich to dark black bands. Some of pieces of the shale that I picked up even had lenses of pyrite or fools gold inside. For me at least, I can read all the geology papers in the world but they don't sink in until I can actually touch what it is I'm reading about. Here's a few pictures so you can see what I saw!

Me at an outcrop of the Marcellus Shale

A view of the Seneca Stone Quarry.
Marcellus shale is visible in the foreground while the wall in the background is limestone.

Marcellus Shale-up close and personal with a rock hammer for scale.

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