A sedimentological and geochemical approach to understanding the butter shales from the Waynesville Formation (Upper Ordovician) in the Cincinnati Arch

Hanna F. Cohen, Jordan M. Young, Jacalyn M. Wittmer, Shane K. Butler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The Upper Ordovician of the type Cincinnatian is a mixed siliciclastic-carbonate shallow marine system of alternating packages of packstones and shales containing diverse Ordovician fauna. Of the many sequences in the Cincinnati Arch, the Waynesville Formation (C5 sequence) in Eastern Indiana and the Kope Formation (C1) in Northwestern Kentucky have a quite different exposure of clay-rich shale, which is referred to as "butter" shale. These "butter" shales are bluish-green claystones that are very distinct in comparison to other shales because of their sedimentology, geochemistry, and interesting community of well-preserved fauna, which are commonly used as biostratigraphic markers. This study focuses on Hanna Creek in Brookville, Indiana, one of the few outcrops with exposed "butter" shales from the Waynesville Formation. Conducted in two stages, the first stage involved field collections from three stratigraphic sections that occurred tens of meters apart. Bulk rock samples (including "butter" shales) were collected 30 cm deep into the outcrop, sampled at 1-5 cm intervals, and placed in sealed containers for further analysis. The second stage of the study is to understand the sedimentology by analyzing the geochemical and petrological composition of the claystone using x-ray fluorescence (XRF) and x-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques. The "butter" shale often appears as massive homogenous units in outcrop. The bulk chemical analysis coupled with clay mineral analysis provide complimentary determinative characterization methods of understanding depositional processes in the "butter" shale beyond that of the biostratigraphic markers used traditionally. Through the implementation of multiple methods to investigate the "butter" shales of the Cincinnati Arch, we hope to better understand how the "butter" shales formed and what kind of properties promote unique preservation of fauna within the claystone.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAbstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America
Place of PublicationBoulder, CO
PublisherGeological Society of America
Pages361
Volume47
ISBN (Print)0016-7592
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • ISGS

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A sedimentological and geochemical approach to understanding the butter shales from the Waynesville Formation (Upper Ordovician) in the Cincinnati Arch'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this