Date of Award

Fall 2016

Degree Type

Non-Thesis Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geological Engineering

Committee Chair

Larry Smith

First Advisor

David Reichhardt

Second Advisor

Mary MacLaughlin


Late Devonian and Early Mississippian Bakken Formation consists of three distinct members: the upper shale, middle, and lower shale. The upper and lower shales are excellent source rocks, rich in organic content. The organic material in the shales was derived from planktonic algae. Both the upper and lower shales were deposited during a transgressive event in hypoxic to anoxic conditions. The original total organic carbon content in the Bakken shales ranges from 20 to 22 weight percent, however; the content decreases to 10 to 17 weight percent as a result of maturation of hydrocarbons and primary expelling of oil. High contents of total organic carbon are also responsible for high resistivity response on the logs due to oil saturation during organic matter maturation.

In order to characterize organic rich source rocks in the Bakken Formation, total organic carbon content can be calculated from the density logs using an empirical equation and resistivity values obtained from the resistivity logs. The objectives of the study was to create a database of well logs and import it into a mapping software and produce a manual that will guide users to obtain and utilize well information from various sources.


A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Geoscience, Geological Engineering Option