Lest we forget, the Marcellus Shale is one magnificent resource for the future and it’s right below our feet; well a mile or more below, actually, but close.
Not all rocks are created equal.
Millions of years ago, a deep basin known as the Appalachian Basin sat where the Marcellus formation is now. Areas that would become Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia were covered by a shallow sea that collected sediments like silt, sand, gravel, clay and minerals as well as microscopic sea creatures like plankton and algae.
Sediments and organic materials mix underwater where there is very little oxygen, and form a layer across the basin. New layers of sediment are built over older layers. Water, containing minerals, flows through tight cracks between sediments, cementing them together. A new rock is formed, large and far beneath the surface. The sediments and organic materials now far beneath the surface, are exposed to immense heat and pressure. When heated, the organic materials turn into oil and eventually natural gas.