University of Texas at Austin

Mt. Simon Formation, Michigan Basin and Ohio Area

General Setting

The oval Michigan Basin developed mostly during the Silurian as an intracratonic sag basin (Fisher, and others, 1988). The Mt. Simon Sandstone is the basal unit in most of the basin, and it unconformably overlies the Precambrian basement. However, because of the relatively few wells drilled to or through the formation, most of what is known about the Mt. Simon comes from outcrop studies. Driese and others (1981) described the Mt. Simon in Wisconsin as a basal quartz arenite (> 95 percent quartz) that is 0 to 65 m thick and submature to mature. They interpreted the formation as a largely progradational (regressive), shoaling- and fining-upward tidal sequence containing widespread marine trace fossils. The Mt. Simon Formation lies unconformably upon Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks and grades upward into fine-grained sandstones and shales of the Eau Claire Formation (Driese, and others, 1981). Gupta and Blair (1997, p. 1985) mentioned that "the only known commercial use for the Mt. Simon Formation in the mid-continent basins and arches area is as a reservoir for the disposal of hazardous-liquid wastes."

Information Search and Selection

The main problem in assessing the Mt. Simon as a target reservoir for CO2 sequestration in the Michigan Basin is the depth of the formation. As the deepest extensive rock unit in the basin, there are relatively few wells drilled to or through the formation, especially in the central, deeper parts of the basin. Therefore, a paucity of data is available to evaluate the Mt. Simon, and any assessment of the Mt. Simon, including this one, takes this into consideration. Nonetheless, the available data do allow for some general understanding of the Mt. Simon Formation and the aquifer that it contains. The content of this data base profited greatly from data developed by N. Gupta, Battelle Memorial Institute, and sent to us in digital form. The reader is referred to his work for additional details assessing the suitability of the Mt. Simon for CO2 storage.


Briggs, L. I., 1968, Geology of subsurface waste disposal in Michigan Basin, in Galley, J. E., ed., Subsurface disposal in geologic basins—a study of reservoir strata: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir 10, p. 128–153.

Catacosinos, P. A., and Daniels, P. A., Jr., 1986, Stratigraphy of middle Proterozoic to Middle Ordovician formations of the Michigan Basin, in Catacosinos, P. A., and Daniels, P. A., Jr., eds., Early sedimentary evolution of the Michigan Basin: Geological Society of America, Special Paper 256, p. 53–71.

Catacosinos, P. A., Harrison, W. B., III, and Daniels, P. A., Jr., 1991, Structure, stratigraphy, and petroleum geology of the Michigan Basin, Chapter 30, in Leighton, M. W., Kolata D. R., Oltz, D. F., and Eidel, J. J., eds., Interior cratonic basins: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir 51, p. 561–601.

Cercone, K. R., 1984, Thermal history of the Michigan Basin: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 68, no. 2, p. 130–136.

Driese, S. G., Byers, C. W., and Dott, R. H., Jr., 1981, Tidal deposition in the basal upper Cambrian Mt. Simon Formation in Wisconsin: Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 51, no. 2, p. 367–381.

Fisher, J. H., Barratt, M. W., Droste, J. B., and Shaver, R. H., 1988, Michigan Basin, in The Geology of North America, v. D-2, Sedimentary Cover—North American Craton: U.S.: Geological Society of America, p. 361–382.

Gupta, Neeraj, 1993, Geologic and fluid-density controls on the hydrodynamics of the Mt. Simon Sandstone and overlying geologic units in Ohio and surrounding states, Columbus, Ohio State University, Ph.D. dissertation, 266 p.

Gupta, N., and Blair, E. S., 1997, Variable-density flow in the mid-continent basins and arches region of the United States: Water Resources Research, v. 33, no. 8, p. 1785–1802.

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

Reszka, C. R., Jr., 1991, The Michigan Basin, inGluskoter, H. J., Rice, D. D., and Taylor, R. B., The Geology of North America, v. P-2, Economic geology, U.S.:Geological Society of America, p. 287–300.

Sass, B., Gupta, N., Sminchak, J., and Bergman, P., 1998, Geochemical modeling to assess the capacity of a Midwestern United States geologic formation for CO2 sequestration, in Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, Interlaken, Switzerland: GHGT-4, p. 1079–1086.

Vugrinovich, Raymond, 1986, Patterns of regional subsurface fluid movement in the Michigan Basin: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey Division, Open File Report 86-6.

Prepared by Ramón H. Treviño.


co2 facts

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