The oldest upper Mississippian strata above the Boone Formation in north Arkansas carry a Goniatites s.s.cephalopod fauna. Of the half–dozen formation names thus far applied to these beds, only two (Moorefield and Batesville) appear to be widely applicable. The previous lack of detailed lithofacies data has prevented consistent treatment of even these units. Available data invalidate the interpretation that the Moorefield Formation of Oklahoma is an extension of the Arkansas Moorefield, although the two may be correlative in time.
The Moorefield and Batesville Formations are, respectively, the lower shale and overlying sandstone intervals in a complexly interstratified, inter-tongued, carbonate reef-terrigenous clastic deposit.
The present study outlines specific areas in which each of the two formations can be mapped under a particular lithic aspect. It further delineates other areas where major lithofacies elements blend (shale-limestone in the subsurface, sandstone-limestone in northwestern Arkansas, and sandstone-shale in north-central Arkansas). The arenaceous facies conforms to the original lithologic diagnosis of the Batesville Formation, whereas the argillaceous suite is essentially that of the original Moorefield Formation reference lithofacies.
A period of post-Boone warping, uplift, and probable faulting comprised the tectonic setting for Moorefield-Batesville sedimentation. Thus, tectonic activity contributed to land-sea configurations and major lithospheric relief features and influenced marine current circulation. Lithologic character of terrigenous sediment derived from local positive areas, however, was largely determined by climatically controlled weathering and erosion processes, and, in spite of the relatively intense tectonic setting (for a cratonic borderland), the derivative sediments are mature.