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About the Editors

G. Michael Grammer

G. Michael Grammer is a professor and holds the Chesapeake Energy Endowed Chair of Petroleum Geology at Oklahoma State University. Mike received his Ph.D. in 1991 from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. His current research interests involve the various aspects of high-resolution sequence stratigraphy and its application to carbonate reservoir characterization, 3-D modeling, and petrophysical characterization. He has been an AAPG Distinguished Lecturer (2002–2003) and has led several AAPG field courses, including AAPG’s modern carbonate course in the Bahamas which he co-led for 14 years. In addition to several awards for professional presentations (AAPG, SEPM, GCAGS, and GSA), he has been awarded the Robert H. Dott, Sr. Award for Best Special Publication as the lead editor for AAPG Memoir 80, the AAPG John. H. Shelton Search and Discovery Award, and the AAPG Grover E. Murray Memorial Distinguished Educator Award. Mike’s industry-related experience includes senior research positions with Texaco and Chevron, where he functioned as an internal consultant and instructor on carbonate reservoir characterization issues in various parts of the world, most notably with super-giant fields in Kazakhstan. He has consulted, presented short courses, and led field trips for AAPG, Nautilus, and Petroskills, as well as numerous domestic and international petroleum companies. He was an associate editor for the Journal of Sedimentary Research from 2002 to 2017 and lead editor on a recent GSA Special Publication entitled Paleozoic Stratigraphy and Resources of the Michigan Basin. Dr. Grammer’s students have presented more than 100 papers at professional conferences over the last 10 years.

Jay M. Gregg

Jay M. Gregg is professor of Geology and V. Brown Monnett Chair of Petroleum Geology at the Boone Pickens School of Geology at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Gregg completed his B.S. degree in 1974 at Bowling Green State University with majors in geology and biology. He received his M.S. degree in geology from OSU (1976) and his Ph.D. in geology from Michigan State University (1982). Gregg worked in the petroleum industry for Sun Production Company (1976–1978), the minerals industry for St. Joe Minerals Corporation (1982–1987), on the national nuclear waste repository project for Westinghouse Hanford Company (1987–1988), and as a faculty member and later Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology; 1988–2005). Gregg returned to OSU in 2005, where he served as head of the Boone Pickens School of Geology until 2013.

Gregg was a visiting professor at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1977. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach and conduct research at University College Dublin, Ireland, in 1996. In 2005, Gregg was a member of the scientific team on IODP Expedition 307 to the Porcupine Basin in the North Atlantic Ocean. In 2012, Gregg joined the Shell Global Solutions Carbonate Research Team in Rijswijk, The Netherlands, on a one-year sabbatical from his academic engagements.

Gregg’s professional expertise is in the fields of sedimentary petrology and geochemistry, and he is widely recognized as a specialist on the sedimentology, diagenesis, and mineralogy of dolomite. He is also known for his research on the diagenetic history of sedimentary basins, the origin and distribution of sediment-hosted base metal deposits, and the diagenesis of carbonate hydrocarbon reservoirs. Gregg has conducted research on carbonate rocks ranging in age from Archean to Holocene throughout North America, the Caribbean region, South Africa, northern Europe, South America, and the Middle East. Gregg has authored, co-authored, or edited more than 100 professional publications.

James Puckette

James Puckette is an associate professor in the Boone Pickens School of Geology at Oklahoma State University (OSU). He received a B.S. degree from OSU and worked as an exploration geologist primarily in the midcontinent and Rocky Mountains before returning to OSU to complete an M.S. degree and Ph.D. His research interests include stratigraphy, petroleum geology, and geoscience education.

Priyank Jaiswal

Priyank Jaiswal received his Ph.D. in geophysics from Rice University in 2008. He currently serves as an associate professor of geophysics at Oklahoma State University, where he instructs and trains graduate and undergraduate students on research best practices in the classroom and laboratory environments. His previous experience includes the energy industry as well as independent consulting. His research interests include processing and interpretation of seismic data for a better understanding of rocks and fluids. To date, he is responsible for over a million dollars in research funding from agencies such as the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. He has over 50 publications and expanded abstracts in a variety of international journals and conferences on a broad range of applied and basic science topics—from seismology to biogeosciences. He is a regular reviewer for several geoscientific journals and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Geophysics and Engineering.

S. J. Mazzullo

S. J. (Sal) Mazzullo is professor emeritus in the Department of Geology at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas, where he has taught carbonate sedimentology and diagenesis, stratigraphy, and petroleum geology for 25 years. Prior to joining the university in 1987, he had worked extensively in Texas, as a consulting petroleum geologist in Midland (1981–1987), senior staff stratigrapher at Union Texas Petroleum Corporation in Midland and Houston (1978–1981), assistant professor at University of Texas-Permian Basin in Odessa (1975–1978), and senior research geologist at Texaco in Houston (1975). He is currently a petroleum geological consultant in Wichita, Kansas, when he is not traveling or conducting “fish population studies” in the Caribbean or local Kansas lakes. Mazzullo earned a Ph.D. in geology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1974, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in geology at Brooklyn College (1971 and 1969, respectively).

His research and publications have focused on (1) carbonate sedimentology and diagenesis (including marine cementation) of Paleozoic rocks in the United States (notably, outcrops of the Permian Capitan reef and allied facies system in New Mexico, exposures of Permian cyclothems in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, and outcrops and subsurface occurrences of Pennsylvanian shelf and reef deposits in and around the Permian Basin) and of Upper Triassic reef and upper slope limestones in Austria and former Czechoslovakia; (2) Pliocene to Holocene shelf carbonate sedimentology, platform evolution, and diagenesis in northern Belize and correlation to coeval limestones in the Bahamas; (3) extensive syndepositional, bacterially mediated dolomitization of shallow-marine and tidal-flat deposits in Belize; (4) with colleagues Brian Wilhite and Darwin Boardman, the lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, depositional environments, and facies architecture of Mississippian (Kinderhookian to Meramecian) rocks in outcrops in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas and in the subsurface in Kansas and northern Oklahoma; (5) the sedimentology and diagenesis of petroleum reservoirs, including the mesogenetic timing of reservoir development, in Ordovician to Permian platform-to-basin limestones and dolomites in the Permian Basin and elsewhere in the midcontinent and the geological evolution of the Permian Basin; and (6) resource utilization and the relationship of ancient Maya habitation to Holocene sea-level rise and changing coastal configurations in northern Belize. Mazzullo has long been a member of AAPG, SEPM, GSA (Fellow), IAS, Kansas Geological Society, West Texas Geological Society, and Permian Basin Section SEPM (honorary life member and past president).

Matthew J. Pranter

Matthew J. Pranter is the Lew and Myra Ward Endowed Chair in Reservoir Characterization and a professor of geosciences at the University of Oklahoma. He was previously a geology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a senior research and reservoir geologist with ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company and Conoco. He has a B.S. in geology from Oklahoma State University, B.S. in geological engineering from Colorado School of Mines, an M.S. in geology from Baylor University, and Ph.D. in geology from Colorado School of Mines. His research interests include reservoir characterization, petroleum geology, sedimentary geology, and reservoir modeling.

Robert H. Goldstein

Robert H. Goldstein is the Haas Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas. Bob has been on the faculty of the Department of Geology at the University of Kansas since 1985. He has served as department chair, associate dean for natural sciences and mathematics, and Provost’s special advisor on campus development. He co-directs the Kansas Interdisciplinary Carbonates Consortium. He received a B.S. in 1979 from Juniata College and an M.S. and Ph.D., both from the University of Wisconsin, in 1981 and 1986, respectively. For his teaching, he has been awarded the University of Kansas Celebration of Teaching Award, Silver Anniversary Award, Van Sant Excellence Award, W. T. Kemper Fellowship, and the AAPG Foundation Inspirational Geoscience Educator Award. His research has been recognized with the JSR Best Paper Award and SEPM Outstanding Poster Award.

His research specialties include sequence stratigraphy of carbonates, diagenesis, and fluid-inclusion research. Current research focuses on (1) sea-level, paleotopographic, oceanographic, and climate controls on depositional sequence architecture of the Spanish Miocene; (2) modeling reservoir architecture in deep-water and shallow-water carbonates; (3) predicting porosity in reservoirs from new conceptual models of carbonate diagenesis; (4) effect of hydrothermal fluids on carbonate and sandstone reservoir rocks; (5) origin and distribution of early and late dolomite; and (6) new fluid-inclusion techniques for constraining thermal evolution of sedimentary systems and for evaluating history of fluid composition.


Dr. Darwin Boardman II, associate professor in the Boone Pickens School of Geology at Oklahoma State University (OSU), was born November 29, 1951, in Abilene, Texas, and passed away in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in January 2015. His interest in geology began in Texas as a child collecting rocks, minerals, and fossils. Darwin went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in geology (and business administration) at Texas Tech University, an M.S. degree in geology at the University of Ohio, and in 1986 his Ph.D. in geology at Texas Tech. He joined the geology faculty at OSU in 1992 after working a few years in the petroleum industry. His teaching and research agenda at OSU was strongly field-oriented, and over the years he has contributed immensely to our knowledge of lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, and paleo-environments of exposed Carboniferous and Permian rocks throughout the midcontinent. One of his principal colleagues at OSU, Jim Puckette, worked tirelessly with Darwin and OSU students on various midcontinent projects over the years, including the Mississippian work described here. Darwin believed he was fortunate to be able to earn a living doing his favorite hobby. In the classroom, he strived to instill an appreciation of geology in all students, even though he knew that not every student wanted to be a geologist. For many years, he ran continuing education camps for local high school science teachers as well as summer paleontology academies for high school students. Two of us (SJM and BWW) were fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in several field trips to Belize with Darwin and some of his students to examine modern carbonate sediments and reefs.

Darwin was an eternal optimist, and even as his health presented physical challenges that most would consider insurmountable, he was nevertheless planning new research and scheduling field work as soon as weather permitted. He served as interim head and ultimately head of the School of Geology at OSU. He also served on an international committee to refine the Carboniferous–Permian boundary. Darwin had a student-first attitude and was happiest when in the field teaching or collecting samples, but despite his schedule he was always willing to make time to help someone. In addition to his more recent Mississippian studies, he was well-known for his published works in the Journal of Paleontology and Stratigraphy on conodont and ammonoid biostratigraphy. An avid football fan, Darwin followed the Oklahoma State and Dallas Cowboys football teams, and never wavered in his support for the Oklahoma Sooners.

Darwin collaborated closely with Sal Mazzullo (then at Wichita State University) and Brian Wilhite (Woolsey Energy, Wichita, Kansas) from 2005 to 2015 on field studies to characterize and interpret the stratigraphic and depositional facies architecture and conodont-based age relationships of exposed Mississippian rocks on the Ozark Uplift in southwest Missouri, northeast Oklahoma, and northwest Arkansas. These outcrop studies, which involved Jim Puckette (OSU) and numerous graduate students from OSU and Wichita State University, resulted in many sponsored professional field trips, core workshops, and convention presentations highlighting these rocks. Their work even caught the attention of the AAPG Explorer (see the May 2011 issue). Darwin and his colleagues believed that scientific discovery should not only be shared with geo-specialists, but whenever possible, also applied in a practical manner. Accordingly, they promoted their Mississippian outcrop results as potential analogs of the geologically complex Mississippian section in the subsurface in Kansas and Oklahoma, which includes prolific but commonly cryptic oil and gas exploration plays. Hence, in addition to preparing field trip guidebooks and publications in strictly academic journals, they also contributed numerous articles to the Oklahoma City Geological Society’s journal Shale Shaker and AAPG’s Search and Discovery series to ensure that the results of their work were readily accessible to, and in Darwin’s words, “…would be read by working petroleum geologists.” Examples of some of these papers include the following:

  • (1) “Lithostratigraphic architecture of the Mississippian Reeds Spring Formation (Middle Osagean) in SW Missouri, NW Arkansas, and NE Oklahoma: Outcrop analog of subsurface petroleum reservoirs,” published in Shale Shaker (2011), v. 61, p. 254–269 and co-authored by Sal Mazzullo and Brian Wilhite;

  • (2) “Revisions of outcrop lithostratigraphic nomenclature in the Lower to Middle Mississippian subsystem (Kinderhookian to basal Meramecian series) along the shelf edge in SW Missouri, NW Arkansas, and NE Oklahoma,” published in Shale Shaker (2013), v. 63, p. 414–452 and co-authored by Sal Mazzullo, Brian Wilhite, Cory Godwin, and Beau Morris;

  • (3) “Syndepositional tectonism and its effects on Mississippian (Kinderhookian to Osagean) lithostratigraphic architecture: Part 1, based on exposures in the midcontinent,” published in AAPG Search and Discovery Article #30207 (2011), 43 p., which was co-authored by Sal Mazzullo, Brian Wilhite, and Beau Morris; and

  • (4) Darwin’s 2013 paper entitled “High-resolution conodont zonation for Kinderhookian (Middle Tournaisian) and Osagean (Upper Tournaisian–Lower Visean) strata of the western edge of the Ozark plateau, North America” published in Shale Shaker, v. 64, p. 98–151 is a major contribution. It is co-authored by Tom Thompson, Cory Godwin, Sal Mazzullo, Brian Wilhite, and Beau Morris. The paper clarified conodont biostratigraphy and correlations in exposed Lower to Middle Mississippian rocks in the tri-state outcrop area, and by extension into the subsurface in Kansas and Oklahoma. It also ties the midcontinent section to the global conodont biostratigraphic record of the lower Carboniferous.

What Darwin and his colleagues learned from their outcrop studies was then applied to subsurface Mississippian petroleum systems in Kansas and Oklahoma in a paper entitled “Stratigraphic architecture and petroleum reservoirs in Lower to Middle Mississippian strata (Kinderhookian to Basal Meramecian) in subsurface central to southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma,” published in Shale Shaker (2016), v. 67, p. 20–49 and co-authored by Sal Mazzullo, Brian Wilhite, Beau Morris, and Cory Godwin. Unfortunately, this paper was published posthumously as Professor Boardman had passed away a year earlier. He was keenly aware that models derived from outcrop studies were necessary to provide relevant geological templates for interpreting these subsurface Mississippian strata, and he worked diligently to help formulate them. The conclusions of the field studies are set forth in the chapter in the present Memoir entitled “Lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, stratigraphic architecture, and depositional systems in Lower to Middle Mississippian (Kinderhookian to basal Meramecian Tournaisian to Visean) strata on the western flank of the Ozark Uplift, midcontinent USA,” co-authored by Sal Mazzullo, Brian Wilhite, Beau Morris, and Cory Godwin. Although this paper was written after Darwin’s death, he is nevertheless included as a principal author because of his significant input to the study. There is no doubt in our minds that Darwin is particularly proud of his conodont biostratigraphy tome, the 2016 Shale Shaker publication, and the paper in this Memoir as he contributed so much inspiration, enthusiasm, knowledge, and geological insight to this project. The co-authors of the Memoir chapter dedicate it to Darwin’s memory. We dedicate this AAPG Memoir on the Mississippian of the midcontinent to a scientist who was instrumental in revitalizing geological interest and ideas on these rocks, and whose work spurred others, students and professionals alike, to also study these rocks. This Memoir is a legacy to an exceptional geologist and our friend and colleague.

—S. J. Mazzullo, Brian W. Wilhite, and James O. Puckette


We dedicate this volume to the memory of our colleague and friend

W. Lynn Watney


Lynn Watney was one of those rare individuals—a Renaissance geologist who inspired others to greatness by his life and work. He started his career as an exploration geologist with Chevron working out of New Orleans. In 1976, he accepted a position with the Kansas Geological Survey as an assistant scientist and began what would become his life’s work on Kansas subsurface geology. After earning his Ph.D. at the University of Kansas in 1985, Lynn rose quickly through the ranks to senior scientist, taking on the role of section chief as well as director of the Energy Research Center. While so doing, he developed warm friendships and close collaborations with colleagues at the Survey, the University, and industry in Wichita, where he served as president of the Kansas Geological Society. Ever the adventurous spirit, Lynn’s first visit abroad was to Bangladesh, where he worked as a consulting geologist funded by USAID when the country was under martial law. This was followed by work on geological projects in China, Europe, and elsewhere. Lynn and his wife of 50 years, Karen, hosted scientists from across the globe who traveled to Lawrence to work with the Survey on cooperative research. Lynn was equally at home running operations on a Kansas drilling rig, leading a geology field trip, or making significant research presentations to scientific audiences. He did it all with such joy and passion and was an example to everyone with whom he came in contact. The list of his publications, service, and honors is lengthy and worthy of someone who worked so tirelessly for his profession. Throughout his career, Lynn was a mentor to students, young professionals, and peers. He was always ready to hear a new idea and to collaborate across borders and disciplines. Lynn embraced change and was unafraid of tough problems. During the last years of his life, he became curious about new energy resources, conducted research on carbon storage, and worked to understand induced seismicity. Together with those he influenced, his voice fills this volume with observations and interpretations of Mississippian carbonates of the midcontinent—absolutely fitting, as he was the go-to expert for these misbehaved yet beloved rocks. Even so, it is his generosity of spirit and sheer humanity that will be remembered best by all of us.

—Edith Wilson, Tandis Bidgoli, John Doveton, and Dave Newell


The story of the Mississippian lime play began over a century ago and captures the evolution of oil and gas exploration in Kansas and Oklahoma—from early drilling of simple traps to the current development of unconventional resource plays characterized by high fluid volume and the associated intensive surface and subsurface plumbing infrastructure. Exploration and development of these complex and stacked reservoirs relies in large part on the geological understanding of the reservoir for accurate placement of horizontal wells as well as the implementation of efficient production practices. The chapters included in this volume provide detailed accounts of particular reservoirs, fields, processes, and problems in Mississippian-aged reservoirs of the midcontinent of the United States. These studies, which encompass a diverse and integrated approach and methodology, including biostratigraphy, chemostratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy, petrophysics, and seismic interpretation and modeling, provide both a framework for exploration and development and an insight into potential workflows that may be used to better understand similar complex reservoirs worldwide.


The editors would like to thank the multiple external reviewers (minimum two per paper), as well as the numerous authors involved in these studies for helping to make this volume one that we hope will be valuable not only for the midcontinent of the United States but also for other emerging complex resource plays elsewhere.





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