Date of Award




Faculty Advisor

Rimmer, Susan M


Vitrinite reflectance and spectral fluorescence are commonly used together to determine the rank and thermal maturity of shale samples. Although vitrinite is not commonly found in the New Albany Shale, solid bitumen is found in significant amounts; reflectance of solid bitumen provides another method to determine maturity of these samples. The purpose of this study was to compare the vitrinite reflectance and spectral fluorescence of liptinites to determine the thermal maturity of the New Albany Shale, which can benefit those tasked in the industry who determine the oil and gas potential of these source rocks. Establishment of a relationship between vitrinite reflectance and fluorescence can help create another rank parameter (alginite fluorescence) to determine the thermal maturity in the basin. This methodology for determining the hydrocarbon potential can also impact other areas of the country where black shales are exploited, including Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Shale) and North Dakota and Montana (Bakken Shale). This could potentially improve assessments of source rocks in terms of oil or gas, saving companies from potential costly mistakes. The other purpose of this study was to look at the potential political, economic, and environmental impacts that result from the extraction of oil and gas by the process of hydraulic fracturing. Evaluating the impacts of hydraulic fracturing in the State of Illinois allows for a better understanding of how lawmakers, resource companies, and scientists can contribute to a broader view of the regional effects of this activity.