Dr. Richard Smosna
Professor of Geology

Greetings from Richard Smosna...

Contacting Richard...




233 Brooks Hall


(304) 293-5603




Doctor of Philsophy, Geology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 1973
M.S. Geology,
University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 1970
B.S. Geology,
Michigan State University, 1967


Pictures of Geology 261 class, Spring 2000



Stratigraphy and Basin Analysis, Sedimentary Petrology, and Petroleum Geology

My interests range through a spectrum of soft-rock geology, but primarily my work involves Stratigraphy and Basin Analysis. Since the mid-1970s I have collaborated with colleagues and students to better understand the stratigraphy of Paleozoic formations in the Central Appalachians. These studies usually stress the facies analysis, paleogeography, and paleoecology of sediments which filled the Appalachian foreland basin. Data are gathered from outcrop exposures in the Valley and Ridge Province as well as subsurface cores and well logs from archives of the West Virginia Geological Survey. In addition, other studies concern Sedimentary Petrology of these same Paleozoic rock units. The origin, depositional setting, and diagenetic history of both sandstones and carbonates rocks is of great interest to me and my graduate students. Because a number of the formations serve as petroleum reservoir rocks, still another focus of our research is Petroleum Geology. Understanding the development of porosity and permeability is critical in evaluating the petroleum reserves of these rocks, whereas recognizing the sedimentary-diagenetic controls on porosity aids the petroleum geologist in future exploration efforts.

Recent and Current Graduate Student Research

Dave Oldham just finished his PhD dissertation which addressed a major petroleum problem in the Denver basin of Colorado and Nebraska. He studied the influence of salt dissolution in the deep-subsurface Permian section on shallow oil and gas entrapment and reservoir potential in overlying Cretaceous sandstone and chalk. Abstracts of this work have been published in: Expanded Abstracts Volume, AAPG 1996 Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Montana Geological Survey, p. 49-54 and 159-164.

Three graduate students recently worked on separate but related MS theses studying the Mississippian Greenbrier Limestone in West Virginia. Bryan Koehler recognized a tidal origin in the depositional patterns and current directions (bidirectional cross-bedding, tidal bedding, reactivation surfaces, and tidal bundles) of the Greenbrier oolite in outcrop exposures. Greg Kelleher identified a large-scale subsurface belt of oolitic tidal bars in the Rhodell field (a large producer of natural gas), which instigated a major new drilling program in the surrounding areas. And Larry Cavallo analyzed the internal stratigraphy and cross-bed dip directions of this oolite so as to better predict the size, shape, orientation, and lateral extent of reservoirs in the subsurface. Publications resulting from these works are as follows:

R. Smosna and B. Koehler, 1993, Tidal origin of a Mississippian oolite on the West Virginia Dome in B.D. Keith and C.W. Zuppann (eds.), Mississippian oolites and modern analogs: AAPG Studies in Geology #35, p. 149-162.
G.T. Kelleher and R. Smosna, 1993, Oolitic tidal-bar reservoirs in the Mississippian Greenbrier Group of West Virginia in B.D. Keith and C.W. Zuppann (eds.), Mississippian oolites and modern analogs: AAPG Studies in Geology #35, p. 163-173.
R. Smosna, 1996, Upper Mississippian Greenbrier/Newman Limestones in J.B. Roen and B.J. Walker (eds.), The atlas of major Appalachian gas plays: West Virginia Geological Survey Publ. V-25, p. 37-40.
L.J. Cavallo and R. Smosna, 1997, Predicting porosity distribution within oolitic bars in J.A. Kupecz, J. Gluyas, and S. Block (eds.), Reservoir quality prediction in sandstones and carbonates: AAPG Memoir 69, p. 211-229.

Current MS students and their thesis research include (1) Heather Rosenstein (soon to be working permanently for Phillips Petroleum Company), Subsurface facies analysis and petroleum potential of the Devonian Helderberg Limestone Group; (2) Drew Mann (soon to be working permanently for Kerr-McGee Petroleum Company), Stratigraphic and petrologic facies of the Mississippian Price Sandstone; and (3) Tim McMillan, Carbonate facies and paleocurrent indicators in Helderberg limestones of the Central Appalachian basin.

Recent Publications

R. Smosna, J. M. Conrad, and T. Maxwell, Stratigraphic traps in Silurian Lockport Dolomite of Kentucky: Amer. Assoc. Petrol. Geol. Bull., v. 73, p. 874-886, 1989.

K. R. Bruner and R. A. Smosna, The movement and stabilization of beach sand on transverse bars, Assateague Island, Virginia: Jour. Coastal Research, v. 5, p. 593-601, 1989.

R. Smosna, Compaction law for Cretaceous sandstones of Alaska's North Slope: Jour. Sedimentary Petrology, v. 59, p. 572-584, 1989.

C. Carney and R. Smosna, Carbonate deposition in a shallow marine gulf, the Mississippian Greenbrier Limestone of the central Appalachian basin: Southeastern Geology, v. 30, p. 25-48, 1989.

R. Smosna and D.G. Patchen, Ordovician limestone and shale in the central Appalachian basin: early sedimentary response to plate collision in A.J. Lomando and P.M. Harris (eds.), Mixed carbonate-siliciclastic sequences: Soc. Econ. Paleo. Mineral. Core Workshop No. 15, p. 485-509, 1991.

R.E. Goings and R. Smosna, A regional subsurface study of the expanded Yegua Formation in the Houston Diapir province: Trans. Gulf Coast Assoc. Geol. Societies, v. 44, p. 245-254, 1994.

K.R. Bruner and R. Smosna, Porosity development in Devonian lithic sandstones of the Appalachian foreland basin: Northeastern Geology, v. 16, p. 202-214, 1994.

R. Smosna and K.R. Bruner, Braid-delta facies interpreted from cores, Granny Creek oil field of West Virginia: Southeastern Geology, v. 37, p. 39-54, 1997.

Richard Smosna and Kathy R. Bruner, Depositional Controls over Porosity Development in Lithic Sandstones of the Appalachian Basin: Reducing Exploration Risk: Amer. Assoc. Petroleum Geologists Memoir, In Press.



Leave the Frames -->