Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The aim of this research was to enhance knowledge of Intra-Arbuckle Shale (IAS) distribution and structure through new maps, cross sections, and well log correlations. Understanding the shale(s) ultimately advances the discernment of complex Arbuckle reservoirs that are critical to the Kansas petroleum industry. IAS has been intercepted by oil wells throughout Kansas, but this study focuses on their presence in portions of Ellis, Rooks, Graham, and Trego counties. To study the distribution and structure of IAS, data from micro-resistivity and gamma ray well logs were collected from more than three hundred Arbuckle oil and gas wells. On each well log, properties such as sub-sea level elevation and depth were taken for both the Arbuckle top contact and shale interceptions. Properties specific to shale included: gamma ray and resistivity values, number of shales present (number of barriers), and reservoir (zone) thicknesses. With these data, maps were created using an inverse distance weighted (IDW) spatial analyst technique through ArcGIS Pro 2.7.0. These maps included a basic Arbuckle top contact structure/elevation map, IAS structure/elevation map, potential number of IAS barriers map, and two zone thickness maps. From the same data, several cross sections and well log correlations were produced. The results from these data, maps, and figures suggest that IAS acts as an impermeable barrier to fluid flow, creating the potential for untapped reservoirs of oil and gas to accumulate beneath them. They also indicate that Intra-Arbuckle Shale in this region has undergone structural deformation and has been subjected to erosion and karstification, resulting in a complex alteration of reservoirs (zones). With help from this study, two things are hoped for: 1) an increased understanding of IAS distribution and structure will benefit the oil industry in future Arbuckle explorations and 2), future researchers will use the information produced to conduct in-depth studies on the Arbuckle formation’s depositional and diagenetic history.


Dr. Jonathan Sumrall

Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type



© The Author(s)


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