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Abstract

This field trip examines the geology and geohydrology of a dissected part of the Salem Plateau in the Ozark Plateaus province of south-central Missouri. Rocks exposed in this area include karstified, flat-lying, lower Paleozoic carbonate platform rocks deposited on Mesoproterozoic basement. The latter is exposed as an uplift located about 40 mi southwest of the St. Francois Mountains and form the core of the Ozark dome. On day 1, participants will examine and explore major karst features developed in Paleozoic carbonate strata on the Current River; this will include Devil’s Well and Round Spring Cavern as well as Montauk, Round, Alley, and Big Springs. The average discharge of the latter is 276 × 106 gpd and is rated in the top 20 springs in the world. Another, Alley Spring, is equally spectacular with an average discharge of 81 × 106 gpd. Both are major contributors to the Current and Eleven Point River drainage system which includes about 50 Mesoproterozoic volcanic knobs and two granite outcrops. These knobs are mainly caldera-erupted ignimbrites with a total thickness of 7–8 km. They are overlain by post-collapse lavas and intruded by domes dated at 1470 Ma. Volcaniclastic sediment and air-fall lapilli tuff are widely distributed along this synvolcanic unconformity. On day 2, the group will examine the most important volcanic features and the southernmost granite exposure in Missouri. The trip concludes with a discussion of the Missouri Gravity Low, the Eminence caldera, and the volcanic history of southern Missouri as well as a discussion of geologic controls on regional groundwater flow through this part of the Ozark aquifer.

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