Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. G. Michael Grammer

Second Advisor

Dr. William B. Harrison III

Third Advisor

Dr. Robb Gillespie


Michigan, Silurian, reef, abundance, windward

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Niagaran (Silurian) reefs are important sources of hydrocarbons in the Michigan Basin. In addition, some of these reservoirs have been used for gas storage and may be potential CO2 sequestration sites.

Despite extensive research on Niagaran reefs, most studies concerning faunal abundance and distribution have been qualitative studies conducted by paleontologists with an emphasis on taxonomy, paleoecology, and evolution.

This study is the first quantitative study of relative abundance and general distribution of fauna throughout a single Wenlock reef located in the southern trend of the Michigan Basin. This study will build on previous work done by WMU students and will utilize their data (e.g. core descriptions, facies analyses, whole core analyses and sequence stratigraphic boundaries) to evaluate the distribution of fauna in Niagaran reefs in the Michigan Basin. The purpose of this study is threefold: 1) to quantitatively determine faunal abundance from subsurface cores of Ray Reef, 2) to determine if the faunal abundance is variable or consistent on windward vs. leeward margins vs. the crest of the reef, and 3) to analyze porosity/permeability data in conjunction with faunal abundance. These objectives will be met using a combination of core descriptions and image analysis of core slabs to capture quantitative variations in the distribution of reef organisms. This data may provide further insight into Niagaran pinnacle reef complex growth and development as well as faunal influence on reservoir characteristics.

Included in

Geology Commons