Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. David A. Barnes

Second Advisor

Dr. William Harrison III

Third Advisor

Dr. Charlotte Sullivan

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Peter Voice


Carbonates, stratigraphy, sedimentology, Silurian, Niagaren

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Hydrocarbon reservoirs in the Niagara-Lower Salina Reef Complex in the Michigan Basin have been extensively studied since the early 1960’s. These reservoirs host an immense hydrocarbon resource, existing as closely-spaced, highly-compartmentalized reservoirs that have produced >500 million barrels of oil and 2.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Previous studies depict these “pinnacle reefs” as tall, symmetrical towers with a random distribution of facies. This study utilizes abundant core data (32 cores, 20-acre spacing), thin-section petrography, and petrophysical wire-line logs to reconstruct the geometry, facies distributions, depositional history, and sequence stratigraphy of the Columbus III Reef Complex within the Southern Niagaran-Lower Salina Reef Trend. This study indicates that there are three depositional sequences, which include a lower bioherm complex, the middle Niagaran reef complex, and the uppermost Lower Salina A-1 Carbonate. These sequences are highly influenced by relative sea level fluctuations within the Michigan Basin, and can be correlated to global sea level changes. This new stratigraphic model allows for better predictability within the Michigan Basin, particularly in reefs without abundant well control. The high-resolution model also permits more accurate correlations between the Lower Salina shallow-water carbonate factory and the surrounding inter-reef and basin center carbonates (A-1 Carbonate).