Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. David A. Barnes

Second Advisor

Dr. William B. Harrison III

Third Advisor

Dr. Peter Voice


Geology, Petrophysics, Mechanics, SEM/X-Ray Diffraction, Characterization

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The Utica/Maquoketa Shale is considered to be the primary confining layer for Cambro-Ordovician CO2 sequestration targets in the Midwest in the Michigan and Illinois basins, respectively. Prospective regional geologic seals in mudrock formations possess a combination of lithologic properties including nanometer scale pore space, elevated breakthrough pressures for non-wetting fluid phases and ductile mechanical deformation. Mineralogical composition is related to and typically controls these properties.

The objective of this study is to investigate the geological controls on stratigraphic and lithologic variability in the Utica/Collingwood in the Michigan basin. Twelve conventional cores and hundreds of modern well logs from the Michigan basin were analyzed in order to correlate/calibrate wire-line log signatures with whole rock mineral composition (from X-ray diffraction analysis) and mechanical properties (from core analysis) to identify brittle, fracture-prone zones, and to validate the Utica Shale as a regional geologic seal. Analysis using scanning electron microscopy with Quantitative Evaluation of Minerals by Scanning Electron Microscope (QEMSCAN®) software was employed to image pores and for quantitative analysis of mineralogy, texture, and porosity. Mercury Injection Capillary Pressure test (MICP) and Triaxial Strength Testing were conducted in order to assess petrophysical and mechanical response. Spatial and stratigraphic distributions of lithological properties were mapped, documenting the distribution of lithologic properties of the Utica Shale in the Michigan basin.