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AAPG Bulletin


AAPG Bulletin, V. 86, No. 4 (April 2002), P. 539-556.

Copyright ©2002. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

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Cambrian-Ordovician Knox production in Ohio: Three case studies of structural-stratigraphic traps

Ronald A. Riley,1 John Wicks,2 John Thomas3

1Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological Survey, 4383 Fountain Square Drive, Columbus, Ohio, 43224-1362; email: [email protected]
2Red Bird Producing Company, 345 N. Market Street, Wooster, Ohio, 44691; email: [email protected]
3Belden and Blake Corporation, 5200 Stoneham Road, North Canton, Ohio, 44720-0500; email: [email protected]


Ronald A. Riley received his B.S. degree in geology in 1975 from Miami University, Ohio, and his M.S. in geology from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, in 1979. He worked as an exploration geologist for Texaco, Inc. from 1980 to 1985 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Denver, Colorado. From 1985 to the present, Riley has been in the petroleum geology group with the Ohio Division of Geological Survey, where his research projects include stratigraphic studies and reservoir characterization of the Cambrian-Ordovician Knox Group, the Silurian Clinton sandstone, the Devonian shales, and the Upper Mississippian and Lower Pennsylvanian sandstones.

John Wicks is exploration geoscientist at Red Bird Producing Company in Wooster, Ohio. One of his responsibilities is developing company assets in the South Canaan pool. He received B.A. and M.S degrees in geology from the University of Toledo, Ohio, and has been a petroleum geoscientist for more than 20 years. He has worked offshore Gulf of Mexico with both Cities Service Corporation and the Standard Oil Company (Ohio). Prior to joining Red Bird in 1993, John was an exploration geologist for BP Exploration working North Alaska.

John Thomas is a senior geologist with the Belden and Blake Corporation, where his work is primarily focused on exploratory gas plays in the Appalachian basin. John received a B.S. degree in geology from Muskingum College, Ohio, in 1982 and an M.S. degree in geology from Kent State University, Ohio, in 1985. His main research interests are the development of depositional and structural models for the Knox sandstones and dolomites.


We thank Merrianne Hackathorn, Dennis Hull, and Larry Wickstrom for their helpful reviews, and Lisa VanDoren and Ed Kuehnle for assisting in figure preparation. We thank the Belden and Blake Corporation and Red Bird Producing Company for sharing their insight on these fields, and the Dart Oil and Gas Corporation and Bill Arnholt for allowing the use of a seismic line.


The Knox Dolomite (Cambrian-Ordovician) in Ohio consists of a mixed carbonate-siliciclastic sequence deposited in a tidal-flat to shallow-marine environment along a broad continental shelf. Knox hydrocarbon production occurs in porous sandstone and dolomite reservoirs in the Copper Ridge dolomite, Rose Run sandstone, and Beekmantown dolomite. In Ohio, historical Knox exploration and development have been focused on paleogeomorphic traps within the prolific Morrow Consolidated field, and more recently, within and adjacent to the Rose Run subcrop. Although these paleogeomorphic traps have yielded significant Knox production, structural and stratigraphic traps are being largely ignored. Three Knox-producing pools demonstrate structural and stratigraphic traps: the Birmingham-Erie pool in southeastern Erie and southwestern Lorain counties, the South Canaan pool in northern Wayne County, and the East Randolph pool in south-central Portage County. Enhanced porosity and permeability from fractures, as evident in the East Randolph pool, are also an underexplored mechanism for Knox hydrocarbon accumulation. An estimated 800 bcf of gas from undiscovered Knox resources makes the Knox one of the most attractive plays in the Appalachian basin.

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