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ABSTRACT

Facies analysis utilizing a conodont biostratigraphic framework is a powerful tool for evaluating genetic relationships of Osagean–basal Meramecian strata within the Ozark region (Arkansas–Missouri–Oklahoma) of the southern midcontinent. This investigation builds upon previous work cited herein, and suggests that some lithostratigraphic divisions, although useful in differentiating strata in a localized setting, may not be suitable for regional correlations within the Boone Group. High-resolution conodont biostratigraphy demonstrates the diachronous nature of lithostratigraphic divisions within the Boone Group, with both the Reeds Spring Formation and Bentonville Formation (Burlington–Keokuk) clearly becoming younger as they are traced from southwestern Missouri into northern Arkansas and northeastern Oklahoma. Subsequent facies analysis shows that the Reeds Spring Formation represents deposition within outer ramp through proximal middle ramp settings (low to moderate energy), whereas the Bentonville Formation (Burlington–Keokuk) records deposition within proximal middle ramp to inner ramp settings (moderate to high energy). Integration of facies analysis and conodont biostratigraphy-based relative chronostratigraphy provides the basis for construction of four time-slice maps illustrating the distribution of time-correlative facies belts. Together, these time-slice maps deliver a clearer representation of the evolution of Boone Group carbonate ramp deposition during the Osagean, which was characterized by overall shallowing-upward and progradation to south and southwest.

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