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Rome Trough Consortium
Project Number

The goal of this project is to develop fundamental geologic understanding that supports exploration for natural gas in the deeper stratigraphic horizons of the Appalachian Basin.


Kentucky Geological Survey – Project management and all research products
Ohio Geological Survey – Consortium membership and research collaboration
West Virginia Geological Survey – Consortium membership and research collaboration
Equitable Resources – Consortium membership and log, geochemical and core data
Columbia Natural Resources – Consortium membership and log and core data
Exxon – core material
Texaco – core material
Terrasciences, Inc. – software
North Coast Energy – Consortium membership
Belden & Blake Corp. – Consortium membership
Century Offshore Management, Inc. – Consortium membership

Lexington, Kentucky


Exploration for natural gas in the Appalachian Basin is continuing to probe deeper stratigraphic horizons. Relatively recent discoveries include the Homer Field, which produces from the Cambrian Rome Formation in Elliott County, Kentucky, and the Cottontree Field in Roane County, West Virginia, which produces from the Ordovician Trenton Limestone.

This project was designed to enhance industry understanding of deep reservoirs through participation in a multi-year study of the pre-Knox stratigraphic interval in the Rome Trough, a graben that contains a thickened section of the Rome and Conasauga Formations.

The Rome Trough Consortium, a partnership consisting of the Department of Energy (through this project), three state geological surveys and five Appalachian Basin energy companies, was formed to carry out this study. The Consortium was headed by the Kentucky Geological survey.


This project will provide a better understanding of the geology and deep hydrocarbon potential of the Rome Trough, a Cambrian-age depositional basin located in eastern Kentucky, northern West Virginia, and southeastern Ohio.

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)
  • Correlated regional stratigraphic units and prepared cross sections,
  • Compiled a stratigraphic tops database,
  • Described and interpreted all available cores from the area of interest,
  • Prepared a detailed study of the Homer Field, a Rome Trough gas field in Elliott County, Kentucky,
  • Generated regional maps of sand distribution and paleogeography/lithofacies in the sub-Knox interval, and
  • Compiled a hydrocarbon geochemistry database for source rocks and hydrocarbons in the Rome Trough.

During the first year of the project, 12 regional cross-sections were constructed using over 100 digitized geophysical well logs. During the second year of the project, depositional facies were interpreted based on well sample and core descriptions, and sandstone trends were mapped. These data were then incorporated into an exploration model for the Rome Trough play.

Some significant results were obtained from this effort. Cambrian stratigraphy has been revised in Ohio and eastern Kentucky, with the Conasauga Group and its component formations now correlated into both states. A database of stratigraphic tops, as many as 50 per well from a set of 761 wells, has been compiled for use by explorationists.

Several new regional stratigraphic interpretations have been proposed as a result of this effort. A series of 13 structural and stratigraphic cross sections have been prepared, utilizing digital well logs and lithology data calculated from the log data. Stratigraphic and lithofacies interpretations are also presented in a series of five paleogeographic maps that document the distribution of rock units and general depositional environments for five time intervals.

Current Status

and Remaining Tasks:  
This project has been completed. The final report, consisting of eight chapters, two appendices, 31 plates, and a CD-ROM was made available August 1, 2004, following a two-year data confidentiality period.  The CD is available through the NETL CD ordering system.

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution


Performer Contribution


Contact Information

NETL – Thomas Mroz ( or 304-285-4071)
KGS – David Harris ( or 606-257-5500)

Additional Information

CD containing data from the project - NETL CD ordering system 
University of Kentucky ,Kentucky Geological Survey, Rome Trough Consortium