The Council Run field of north central Pennsylvania is one of the most productive natural gas fields in the central Appalachian basin. The field is enigmatic because of its position near the eastern edge of the Appalachian Plateau, where strata with reservoir potential elsewhere have low porosities and permeabilities or are poorly sealed. Council Run has four principal reservoir sandstones. The lower three occur in a distinct fourth-order type 1 stratigraphic sequence. The stacking pattern of sandstones in this sequence defines lowstand, transgressive, and highstand systems tracts.
Core, well-log, and map interpretations reveal that the lowest interval consists of multiple coarsening-upward parasequences deposited in deltaic and nearshore environments of the lowstand systems tract during a forced regression. Most of these sandstones are lithic, and some are highly feldspathic. Productive sandstones display hybrid void textures that consist of reduced primary intergranular pores preserved, in part, by relatively early petroleum emplacement and secondary oversized fabric-selective pores.
The generative potential of the organic matter in the potential source rocks is exhausted, but geochemical and petrographic evidences indicate that these black shales originally contained oil-prone kerogens and generated liquid hydrocarbons. Stable isotope geochemistry suggests that gases were generated by primary cracking of kerogens and/or by secondary cracking of oil between 320 and 290 Ma. Dispersive migration paths were both lateral and vertical because of compression associated with Alleghanian orogenesis. Most of the oil in the Devonian section was cracked to gas during deeper burial between 270 and 240 Ma.