The Marcellus Formation (also classified as the Marcellus Subgroup of the Hamilton Group, Marcellus Member of the Romney Formation, or simply the Marcellus Shale) is a Middle Devonian age unit of marine sedimentary rock found in eastern North America.
Named for a distinctive outcrop near the village of Marcellus, New York, in the United States, The shale contains largely untapped natural gas reserves, and its proximity to the high-demand markets along the East Coast of the United States makes it an attractive target for energy development and export.
Most fossils are contained in the limestone members, and the fossil record in these layers provides important paleontological insights on faunal turnovers.
The black shales also contain iron ore that was used in the early economic development of the region, and uranium and pyrite which are environmental hazards.
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The fissile shales are also easily eroded, presenting additional civil and environmental engineering challenges.
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.
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