Brett Huffman

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Science


Earth and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Harold Rowe


The fine-grained organic-rich rocks of the Eagle Ford (Cenomanian-Turonian) were deposited during the Upper Cretaceous in the shallow waters of the Western Interior Seaway. Five drill cores recovered from two counties, four from Travis County, Texas and one from Frio County, Texas, have been scanned from between two foot and half foot intervals with a hand-held energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence (HH-ED-XRF) spectrometer to acquire major (e.g. Ca, Si, Al) and trace (e.g. Mo, V, Ni) element data for quantitative analysis. Additionally, gamma ray logs have been analyzed for two of the cores. Major element geochemistry indicates the Eagle Ford deposited in South Texas is different from the Eagle Ford deposited in Central Texas. South Texas Eagle Ford is much more Ca (carbonate) rich, with a noticeably lower Al (clay) content. South Texas and Central Texas Eagle Ford both have low Si (quartz) content relative to the Al and Ca content, indicating a negligible siliciclastic contribution during deposition. Trace element analysis reveals the redox conditions of the bottom waters during deposition. Mn -- an element which becomes mobile and may be removed from an open system in reducing conditions -- levels are much higher in the Austin Chalk and Buda with notably lower values in the Eagle Ford in both Central Texas and South Texas. Mo, an element which tends to bind with organic matter or sulfides during reducing conditions, is notably higher in the Eagle Ford of both South Texas and Central Texas. The correlation of decreased Mn levels and increased Mo levels suggests that the Eagle Ford was deposited in reducing conditions in an open system capable of removing mobilized Mn. Geochemical analysis of major and trace elements obtained from ED-XRF may be used in the petroleum industry in concert with XRD, electric logs, and standard core analysis to give a more complete picture of the depositional environment, clay type and volume, geophysical rock properties, and areal extent of a potential unconventional shale reservoir for hydrocarbon extraction. XRF data offers insight about the rocks, leading to improved understanding of the depositional environment and chemical makeup. Applying these technologies to the Eagle Ford helps unlock the potential of this significant hydrocarbon source and reservoir.


Earth Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington