Abstract

The distribution of lithofacies in the New Albany Shale Group of Illinois was determined by wave energy, bottom oxygenation, and bottom topography in a deep water stratified anoxic basin. A transect from the margin to the center of the Illinois Basin reveals a complete transition from high energy, aerobic, shallow-water environments to quiet, anaerobic, deep-water environments. Shallow areas at the margin of the basin are characterized by rapid facies transitions over short distances. High energy, very shallow conditions are recorded by oolitic-skeletal grainstones and packstones with abundant brachiopods, crinoids, trilobites, and other calcified marine invertebrates. Bioturbation did not destroy primary sedimentary structures in these facies. Offshore, less agitated areas are represented by highly bioturbated carbonate wackestones, argillaceous quartz siltstones, and greenish-gray mudstones. Calcified invertebrates are generally rare in these facies, indicating deposition in dysaerobic conditions. Basinward, slope areas are characterized by olive-gray to black, weakly bioturbated shales commonly interbedded with thickly laminated black shales. Trace fossils, including Zoophycos, Chondrites , and Planolites , are abundant along the bases of the olive-gray beds. In areas where the anaerobic/dysaerobic boundary intersected the bottom slope, slight fluctuations of the position of the boundary resulted in thin interbedding of olive-gray and black shales and laterally persistent interfingering of the two lithologies. Anaerobic conditions prevailed during most of New Albany time in the deepest areas of the basin, and finely laminated, undisturbed, pelagic black shales were deposited.

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