Info from Wikipedia:
The Marcellus Formation is a black shale formation found throughout the Allegheny Plateau, running across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions of New York, in northern and western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, through western Maryland, and throughout most of West Virginia extending across the state line into extreme western Virginia. The Marcellus bedrock in eastern Pennsylvania extends across the Delaware River into extreme western New Jersey.
There are exposed beds in the northern reaches of the Greater Lehigh Valley:
From Wind Gap, Pennsylvania south, the dip of the beds steepens, becoming vertical at Bowmanstown on the Lehigh River. Nearby, in the Lehigh Gap area, the Marcellus is extensively faulted.
In petroleum geology, these black shales are an important source rock that filled conventional petroleum reservoirs in overlying formations, are an unconventional shale gas reservoir, and are an impermeable seal that traps underlying conventional natural gas reservoirs.
Info from various personal sources:
9/23/09: “There is a Natural Gas reserve known as the Marcellus Shale Formation estimated to contain one Trillion Dollars of harvestable natural gas. It covers most of West Virginia, 2/3 of Pennsylvania, parts of Ohio and stretches to the Finger Lakes of New York. No one is going to stop this Pennsylvania gas rush nor should they. But I think some might want to get involved to make sure Pennsylvania’s resources are protected along the way. The largest parts of this reserve are more than 5000 feet underground. Thousands of permits are going to be issued around the state.”
9/23/09: “Just for your information, Dimock Township is the town I was in this weekend where you can see gas rigs popping up all over. According to this article they have had three confirmed toxic spills in the last week, one of which resulted in a fish kill. Now there were a lot of wells in Dimock but not anywhere near what they expect to have across Pennsylvania when this is done. The PennFuture video reports that two gas companies announced in the last few days that they have identified over 20,000 possible gas well locations. No, that’s not the total number of wells across PA that is just two companies. Yeah that scares me too.”
10/9/09: I just heard from one of my best friends who lives in the Marcellus Shale gold rush frontier of Wyoming County, and things are getting pretty ugly up there with lots of new drilling platforms and very little PaDEP oversight. Apparently PaDEP has only had the time and staffing capabilities to be reactive, issuing violations only after extensive damage has already occurred, instead of taking the time to review drilling proposals thoroughly to make sure they will be performed safely and with minimal environmental impact…
“Sorry to say, but we are in the dark ages for environmental protection in Pennsylvania, and without citizen participation, can only expect things to get worse. My friend is a member of the Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Association as well as the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the North Branch of the Susquehanna River Sportsman Foundation. We need to work together in our common goal of maintaining environmental quality in Pennsylvania and beyond.”
12/5/09: “Drilling for Marcellus natural gas in PA will affect all Pennsylvanians over the next several decades, if not with actual well drilling or pipeline development, through economic impact and tax policy. It has been said that PA may be the “Saudia Arabia of natural gas” and driling activity has accelerated with 64 new wells started in early November.… The League of Women Voters of PA has researched and developed a great deal of non-biased educational material on Marcellus Natural Gas in Pennsylvania and Local Leagues are conducting study groups around the state. [more info] Penn State Cooperative Extension has also posted many of its online webinars on Marcellus natural gas for free viewing. Just click on “Webinars” at the left at.