Late Mississippian and Pennsylvanian Sediments of Ouachita Facies, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas1
August Goldstein, Jr., Thomas A. Hendricks, 1962. "Late Mississippian and Pennsylvanian Sediments of Ouachita Facies, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas", Pennsylvanian System in the United States, Carl C. Branson
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Sedimentary rocks of Ouachita facies are here defined as rocks lithologically similar and strati-graphically equivalent to sedimentary and low-grade meta-sedimentary rocks exposed in the Ouachita Mountains of Oklahoma and Arkansas. Data obtained from numerous well borings show that rocks of Ouachita facies form a long, folded, geosynclinal belt that passes beneath the Cretaceous overlap in southern Oklahoma, bends around the Central Mineral Region of Texas in a buried structural belt, strikes almost due west, is exposed at the surface again in the Marathon and Solitario uplifts of extreme southwestern Texas, and crosses the border into Mexico. In the outcrop areas, and throughout the length of the Ouachita structural belt, these rocks show strong similarities in lithologic character, fabric, and meta-morphic grade, which may be used to differentiate them from sediments of foreland or Arbuckle facies.
In the Ouachita Mountains, rocks of late Mississippian and Pennsylvanian age reach a maximum thickness of at least 22,000 feet and are divided into two major groups. These are (1) strata widely exposed in the central part of the Ouachita Mountains, and (2) strata of frontal zone Ouachita facies exposed only in small slivers in the western part of the Ouachita Mountains in Oklahoma. The former comprise, from oldest to youngest, the Stanley shale, Jackfork sandstone, Johns Valley shale, and Atoka formation. In the frontal zone they comprise, from oldest to youngest, the Caney shale, Springer formation, Wapanucka limestone and Chickachoc chert, and the Atoka formation.
The rocks of late Mississippian and Pennsylvanian age in the Marathon uplift in southwest Texas attain a maximum thickness of 12,800 feet and consist of four formations. From oldest to youngest, these are the Tesnus formation, Dimple limestone, Haymond formation, and Gaptank formation.
In both outcrop areas and in the buried structural belt, sediments of Ouachita facies were down-warped in an active geosyncline and subsequently deformed and uplifted. Most of the beds were laid down as sediment flows or deposits from turbidity currents in deep water, but the Wapanucka, Chickachoc, and Dimple formations are shallow-water, shelf-type deposits formed mostly in the zone of wave action. The Caney shale and dark siliceous shales in several formations were deposited in deep unaerated basins with part of the sediments derived from ash falls. The boulder beds in the Jackfork, Johns Valley, and Haymond formations apparently were formed by submarine landslip and mudflows.
The Caney shale of the frontal Ouachitas is of late Mississippian age and is the stratigraphic equivalent of the Stanley, Jackfork, and lower part of the Johns Valley formations of the central Ouachitas. The upper part of the Johns Valley is of early Pennsylvanian (Morrow) age and is equivalent to the Springer, Wapanucka, and Chickachoc formations of the frontal Ouachitas. The lower part of the Atoka is also of Morrow age, but the upper limit of its age has not been established.
The Tesnus formation is of late Mississippian and early Pennsylvanian (lower Morrow or Springer) age. The Dimple limestone is of Morrow age; the Haymond formation is early to middle Pennsylvanian (Morrow and Atoka) in age; and the overlying Gaptank formation is of middle and late Pennsylvanian (Des Moines to Virgil) age.
During the last stages of the deformation of the geosynclinal belt, rocks of Ouachita facies were thrust over rocks of foreland or Arbuckle facies for considerable distances. The foreland rocks underlying the thrust sheets are potentially petroliferous; exploration for petroleum production in these buried shelf sediments should be more rewarding than in sediments of Ouachita facies.
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Rocks of the Pennsylvanian System are the bed rock of approximately 10 per cent of the land area of continental United States. These rocks yield 17 per cent of the petroleum, most of the coal, and most of the ceramic raw material of the United States.
Areas of deposition of Pennsylvanian rocks are naturally discriminated as the New England trough, the Appalachian trough, the Eastern Interior basin, the Michigan basin, the Western Interior basin, the Ardmore basin, the Ft. Worth syncline, the Permian basin, the Rocky Mountain geosyncline, and the Cordilleran trough. These genetic areas and the Ouachita fold belt are the regions described.
The Pennsylvanian System in Michigan has been described in detail by W. A. Kelly (Mich. Geol. Survey, Pub. 40, part 2, p. 155-226, 1936). The section is truncated and consists of the Parma sandstone (below), the Saginaw group of cyclical formations, and the Grand River group, which contains red sandstones and gypsum. The Parma and Saginaw are Pottsvillian in age; possibly, Atokan and Desmoinesian. The Grand River, placed by some geologists in the Permian, is probably early Missourian.
The project for a special volume was initiated in 1953, at which time it was decided that the Springer Series was tobeconsidered as Pennsylvanian, the Wolfcamp and Admire-Council Grove-Chase, as Permian. Evidence has since accumulated that the Springer is Mississippian, that the Ouachita Jackfork and Stanley are Mississippian, that the Dunkard is, atleast in part, Pennsylvanian, and that the “Lyon series” and Wolfcamp formation might better be classed