Investigating Sugar Run, Lycoming County for Potential Methane Sources

Susan L. Brantley, Jennifer Z. Williams, Seth Pelepko, Stew Beattie, Kyle Homman, and Andrew Nyblade


Students will use HydroClient to discover, view, and download methane data collected by the Shale Network. To further investigate the area, Students will use PA DEP Oil and Gas Mapping tool to locate nearby wells. Lastly, students will use screenshots from the Exploration and Development Web Information Network (EDWIN), to uncover potential methane sources from nearby wells.

Conceptual Outcomes

Students will be able to identify one potential source of methane
Students will learn critical thinking and data analysis skills Students will synthesize research to draw conclusions

Practical Outcomes

Students will learn how to use HydroClient and PA DEP Oil and Gas Mapping tool

Time Required

45 minutes

Computing/Data Inputs

Methane Data from the Shale Network discovered using HydroClient

Computing/Data Outputs


Hardware/Software Required

Internet Browser


Personnel from the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Utah, and Penn State worked together to collect stream samples in 15 streams and discovered dissolved methane in all of them (Heilweil et al., 2015). We will treat samples from this study in Lycoming County as an investigation to identify potential methane sources.


  • Navigate back to HydroClient and refresh your browser to begin searching for data from Sugar Run. Type Green Valley Road, Hughesville, PA, United States and use your cursor to click the option on the dropdown list as shown below.


The map will zoom to the location of interest as shown below:


  • Define your search criteria again by selecting the Date Range: 7/01/2015 to 7/10/2015, Data Service: Shale Network. The search results are shown below.


Click Show Search Results to view all data series. Click Selections and choose to Select All. Click Select Action and choose toExport as combined CSV. Use the data set to answer the question below.


  1. What is the range of methane concentrations in the selected dataset from Sugar Run?
  2. Where is the site with the highest concentration located? Record latitude and longitude. Note the sample locations furthest upstream and downstream, and record the coordinates of all the sites and note on your paper the latitude longitude, and roughly where they are on the stream. We will use these sites to draw our buffer.


We will now return to the PA Oil and Gas Mapping Tool to research nearby oil and gas well records.

  • Follow the steps outlined in the previous investigation to create a buffer with a radius of 4500 feet. First create a buffer around the most northern site along Sugar Run and then with the most southern site along the stream.
  • Your map of the buffer at the most northern site along Sugar Run should look similar to the screenshot below.


  • Your map of the buffer at the most southern site along Sugar Run should look similar to the screenshot below.


  • Another method to create a buffer along Sugar Run, is to select the "Polyline" option, as shown below. This option is difficult to maneuver, but the results shown below should be considered when answering the follow up questions.




  1. Consider active/legacy well density within the buffered area, and formulate some hypotheses based on density/proximity of unconventional/conventional wells.


  • As with the first investigation, use the Identify tool in the PA Oil and Gas Mapping Tool along with screenshots provided from EDWIN to collect information on the well within the buffer.
  • Analyze the Inspections report below provided from EDWIN for the well located within the buffer.



  1. Review documents for the wells identified above. Note the age, plug date (if applicable), well depth, and other potentially important information. Do any of the records suggest potential issues with the wells?