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Foraminiferal Biostratigraphic Framework of Mississippian Rocks in Southern Appalachians

Mark Rich

The Mississippian System in the southern Appalachians is characterized by regionally extensive carbonate rock units separated by terrigenous intervals of varying thickness. In most local sections, Chesterian strata constitute three-fourths or more of the thickness of the Mississippian. Terrigenous units within the Chesterian Series become more numerous and thick toward the southeast and southwest, where they occupy a greater proportion of the Upper Mississippian stratigraphic column. The Mississippian-Pennsylvanian boundary lies generally within a gradational interval marking the overall upward change from marine to nonmarine deposits and from a carbonate-bearing sequence to one containing coal and dominated by terrigenous rocks.

Foraminifera provide an excellent basis for biostratigraphic zonation of the Mississippian in the southern Appalachians. The zonation can be used to develop an integrated chronostratigraphic-facies framework. Such a framework will allow timing of events such as pulses of basinal subsidence, episodes of clastic input from extracratonic sources, and duration of advance and retreat of carbonate and terrigenous realms.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91043©1986 AAPG Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 15-18, 1986.