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Art of Science image titled From the Depths

Scientist Collaborator Bruce W. Fouke and Mayandi Sivaguru

Bruce Fouke Laboratory

Zeiss AxioObserver Z1 Widefield Fluorescence Microscope with Apotome

Funded by DuPont Microbial Control

The constant demand for oil and gas has dramatically increased hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of shale reservoirs, decreasing reservoir porosity and permeability. As a result, the control and prevention of bioclogging is important in sustaining hydrocarbon production from fracked shale reservoirs. Using the first-ever constructed shale—GeoBioCell—as a microfluidic test bed, researchers are investigating the effects of sulfate-reducing bacteria and iron sulfide biominerals on porosity and hydraulic resistance in fracked shale reservoirs. 

This image of a Devonian-age New Albany shale sample collected from deep within the Illinois Basin was created using Zeiss AxioObserver Z1 Widefield Fluorescence Microscope with Apotome. The light-green and periwinkle blue quartz grains are interspersed with dark-green pyrite, reminiscent of a sea of glass. The dark backdrop accentuates the natural beauty of shale and its formation in ancient sea beds from deep water marine environments.