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Spatial Characteristics of the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian Systemic Boundary in South Central Kentucky with Special Reference to Paleochannels

Scott R. Schoefernacker, Western Kentucky University, Department of Geography and Geology, Bowling Green, KY, [email protected]


The basal Pennsylavanian (Caseyville Formation) of south-central Kentucky is an extensive network of paleochannels, which overlies various Mississippian (Chesterian Series) rocks.  Several questions have been raised about the extent of the paleochannels and the systemic boundary in the region, in particular in cases where marker beds are lacking or where sandstone facies of Pennsylvanian age are juxtaposed on lithologically similar Mississippian-age strata.  Discerning the systemic boundary may also be complicated by facies changes in Chesterian strata. 

Investigation was aided by KGS’s newly available Digitally Vectorized Geological Quadrangles (DVGQ; available in CD-ROM format) and the Stratigraphic Column Generator (Indiana Geological Survey).  Subsurface data from well logs and outcrop data were integrated to produce cross section resulting in a dynamic map that can be updated unlike a static map.  The addition of DVGQs and GIS provides a new avenue which researchers can use to identify Pennsylvanian paleochannel systems that have proven to be economically important.