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Indexing and Characterization of Mississippian Outcrops in Northwest Arkansas, Southwest Missouri, and Northeastern Oklahoma

Thomas Liner and Christopher Liner

Over the past 70 years, extensive studies have been conducted on the Mississippian strata of NW Arkansas by faculty and students of the University of Arkansas. The purpose of this project is to index all published outcrops along with newly discovered outcrops in Google Earth in order to form a regional scale model of Mississippian Strata in a 4,000 square mile area. The University of Arkansas is located on the escarpment between the Boston Mountains and the Salem Plateau where a shallow occurrence of Mississippian age rock allows for access to outcrops. These Mississippian strata were deposited on a broad carbonate ramp, designated the Burlington Shelf. Locations of known outcrops have been sourced from previous theses, then located and marked on Google Earth. In order to add to our outcrop inventory, roads in the mapping area are systematically driven in search of other outcrops. Newly discovered outcrops are marked using the iPhone GeoLocation app, photographed, then integrated into Google Earth. Our emphasis is on outcrops in Washington and Benton Counties of Arkansas, an area with many recent road cuts that expose important features of the Mississippian system, including tripolitic chert occurrence, unconformities that form primary information for sequence stratigraphic analysis, and evidence of sediment transport. Stratigraphic correlation is a perennial challenge since most outcrops expose less than 10% of the Miss section. We plan to employ quantitative methods to aid correlation, including bedding characteristics, zone-scale chert concentration, and geophysical measurements. 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90176©AAPG Mid-Continent Meeting, Wichita, Kansas, October 12-15, 2013