Measurement of more than 1200 cross-beds in lower Pennsylvanian sandstones of the southern Appalachian Mountains reveals a broad pattern of sediment transport to the southwest and west. Most of the sand appears to have been derived from the east and to have moved south-westward parallel to the axis of the Appalachian geosyncline. The pattern has a similar alignment to that in the Illinois basin, but it is at right angles to earlier Paleozoic dispersal directions in the Appalachian geosyncline. Little or no sand has been contributed from the Cincinnati arch.
The cross-beds are in sheetlike sandstone formations; the sandstone is conglomeratic, contains plant impressions, and is composed of lenticular, channeling, quartzose sedimentation units. The variation in thickness and lateral persistence of sedimentation units is also reflected in a moderate variability of mean cross-bedding directions between adjacent formations, and even within the same formation. Cross-bedding variability between adjacent units is thought to be due to regional changes in the position and orientation of channel-way systems from deposition of one sandstone formation to the next. Changes of cross-bedding azimuths within the same formation may result from channel curvature of local meanderlike deposits or from channel migration as the sands coalesced into a blanket deposit.