Petrophysical properties were determined for six facies in Lower Silurian sandstones of the Appalachian basin: fluvial, estuarine, upper shoreface, lower shoreface, tidal channel, and tidal flat. Fluvial sandstones have the highest permeability for a given porosity and exhibit a wide range of porosity (2–18%) and permeability (0.002–450 md). With a transition-zone thickness of only 1–6 m (3–20 ft), fluvial sandstones with permeability greater than 5 md have irreducible water saturation (Siw) less than 20%, typical of many gas reservoirs. Upper shoreface sandstones exhibit good reservoir properties with high porosity (10–21%), high permeability (3–250 md), and low Siw (<20%). Lower shoreface sandstones, which are finer grained, have lower porosity (4–12%), lower permeability (0.0007–4 md), thicker transition zones (6–180 m [20–600 ft]), and higher Siw. In the tidal-channel, tidal-flat, and estuarine facies, low porosity (average <6%), low permeability (average <0.02 md), and small pore throats result in large transition zones (30–200 m; 100–650 ft) and high water saturations.
The most favorable reservoir petrophysical properties and the best estimated production from the Lower Silurian sandstones are associated with fluvial and upper shoreface facies of incised-valley fills, which we interpret to have formed predominantly in areas of structural recesses that evolved from promontories along a collisional margin during the Taconic orogeny. Although the total thickness of the sandstone may not be as great in these areas, reservoir quality is better than in adjacent structural salients, which is attributed to higher energy depositional processes and shallower maximum burial depth in the recesses than in the salients.