Pottsville Formation, Black Warrior Basin

Alabama and Mississippi

General Setting

The Black Warrior Basin of northwestern Alabama and northeastern Mississippi is a foreland basin, containing Paleozoic sedimentary rocks. The Black Warrior Basin is bounded by the Cincinnati Arch, Appalachian Basin, Louisiana-Mississippi Salt Basins, and the Mississippi Embayment part of the Illinois Basin. The basin is formed by a complex fault-block homocline of Paleozoic strata dipping to the southwest. The oldest sedimentary rocks in the basin are of Cambrian age, and the youngest are Pennsylvanian. The Pennsylvanian is unconformably overlain by Cretaceous strata in the west part of the basin and are exposed in the east part. Frontal thrust faults of the Appalachian and Ouachita orogenic belts cut the southeastern and southwestern margins of the basin, respectively. Most of the basin, including its thrust-faulted margins, is buried beneath a veneer of Cretaceous and Tertiary strata of the Mississippi Embayment and Gulf Coastal Plain.

Information Search and Selection

In the past, the Pottsville Formation was the target of underground injection of large volumes of disposal waters associated with the production of coalbed methane. Currently, however, few injector wells are active in the basin (Ortiz and others, 1993). Because of the high potential for storing CO2, the Pottsville Formation was selected for this study. The south and southwest parts of the basin have high salinity and sufficient depth to be a target for CO2 sequestration. Here we consider the properties of brine formation separately from coal, which is also a target for CO2 sequestration.

The Upper and the Lower Pottsville are characterized together. The Upper Pottsville that contains the producible coal should not be used for injection of CO2; however, because of the lack of more detailed information, we could not separate the Lower Pottsville interval.


Beard, R. H., and Meylan, M. A., 1987, Petrology and hydrocarbon reservoir potential of subsurface Pottsville (Pennsylvanian) sandstones, Black Warrior Basin, Mississippi: Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions, v. 33. p 11–23.

Cleaves, A., 1983, Carboniferous terrigenous clastic facies, hydrocarbon production zones, and sandstone provenance, northern shelf of Black Warrior Basin: Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions, v. 33, p. 41–52

Cleaves, A., and Broussard, M., 1980, Chester and Pottsville depositional systems, outcrops and subsurface, in the Black Warrior Basin: Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions, v. 30, p. 49–59

Galicki, S., 1986, Mesozoic-Paleozoic producing areas of Mississippi and Alabama: Mississippi Geological Society.

Hewitt, J., 1984, Geologic overview, coal, and coalbed methane resources of the Black Warrior Basin—Alabama and Mississippi, in Rightmire, C., Eddy, G., and Kirr, J., eds., Coalbed methane resources of the United States: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Studies in Geology Series 17, p. 73–104.

Horsey, C., 1981 Depositional environment of the Pennsylvanian Pottsville Formation in the Black Warrior Basin of Alabama: Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 51, no. 3, p. 799–806.

Kron, A., and Stix, J., 1982, U.S. geothermal gradient map of the United States, exclusive of Alaska and Hawaii: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Geophysical Data Center, scale 1:2,500,000, two sheets.

Masingill, J., 1992, The petroleum industry in Alabama: Geological Survey of Alabama, Oil and Gas Report 3-P, 127 p.

National Imagery and Mapping Agency, 2000, Digital terrain elevation data (DTED Level 0)

Ortiz, I., Weller, R., and others, 1993, Disposal of produced waters: underground injection option in the Black Warrior Basin: Proceedings of the 1993 International Symposium: The University of Alabama/Tuscaloosa, p. 339–364.

Pashin, J. C., and others, 1991, Structure, sedimentology, coal quality and hydrology of the Black Warrior Basin in Alabama: controls on the occurrence and producibility of coal methane: The University of Texas at Austin and Geological Survey of Alabama, Bureau of Economic Geology, GRI Contract Number 1544, 187 p.

Petroleum Frontiers, 1986, The Black Warrior Basin: proving the potential of the southeast: v. 3, no. 3, 62 p.

Thomas, W. A., 1988, The Black Warrior Basin: The Geology of North America, v. D-2, Sedimentary Cover—North American Craton: U.S.: The Geological Society of America, Chapter 16, p. 471–492, 1 plate.

Prepared by Martha Romero.

Click here for "RI0283. Geological CO2 Sequestration Atlas of Miocene Strata, Offshore Texas State Waters"


For a flyer on GCCC mission, activities, impact, and goals, please click here.

© Bureau of Economic Geology | Web Privacy Policy | Web Accessibility Policy