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The top surface of the Trenton Limestone and equivalent carbonate units has be variously described as a subaerial exposure surface (paleokarst), a submarine erosion surface, and a submarine hardground. Detailed study of the contact between the carbonates and overlying shale in outcrop and core and regional stratigraphic analysis indicate that the surface represents a drowning unconformity on the Galena and Lexington carbonate platforms in Ohio and Indiana. This unconformity also appears within the Sebree Trough in Indiana between the platforms, but it is within the overlying shale section rather than at its base. The unconformity has not been recognized in the Point Pleasant Basin in central and southern Ohio. Paleokarst may locally exist on this surface in southern Ontario.

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