Naming the Marcellus Shale

It may be hard to believe but the name of a once obscure strata of rock has become part of our lexicon in Pennsylvania and neighboring states. The gas-rich Marcellus Shale is on the tip of many a tongue but do you know where it got its name? The Allegheny Front's Ann Murray has the answer.

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MURRAY: Ah, the Marcellus Shale: once so obscure but now... a rock star:
But what do we really know about our favorite black shale formation? For instance, where did it get that fancy French name? Perhaps it was a geologist's trusty Pyrenees mountain dog or a Cirque de Soleil clown? Oh, please. It's much more exciting than that. †The rock got its name from a village in upstate New York calledÖyou guessed itÖ Marcellus. The deeply buried shale literally peaks above ground there. †Paleontologist James Hall was mapping the western part of the state when he stumbled on the outcropping in 1839. Hall went on to be one of the founders of the National Academy of Sciences and the first president of the National Geologic Society of America. †So the next time someone mentions the Marcellus...tell them now you know the rest of the story.

For The Allegheny Front, I'm Ann Murray.