Type locality: The North Vernon Limestone was named by Borden (1876, p. 148, 160) for North Vernon, Jennings County, Indiana, where blue and gray limestone was exposed below the New Albany Shale and above the Jeffersonville Limestone (then called the "Corniferous Limestone") in quarry exposures (Droste and Shaver, 1986).
History of usage:
Although Borden (1876) related type North Vernon rocks to what was then called the Hydraulic Limestone (now the Silver Creek Member) in the Clark County area, much confusion in nomenclature has attended studies of the North Vernon and equivalent rocks in Indiana and Kentucky (Droste and Shaver, 1986). In 1899 the name "Sellersburg Beds" was given by Kindle (p. 8, 23, and 110) to nearly the same section that was named by Borden, that is, to the limestones directly underlying the New Albany Shale and extending down to the lowest beds mined in the cement quarries of Clark County (Droste and Shaver, 1986). The New York term “Hamilton Group” was also used for these Indiana rocks at about this same time, for example, by Blatchley and Ashley (1898, p. 19) (Droste and Shaver, 1986). Siebenthal (1901, p. 345-346) named the Cement Rock the Silver Creek Hydraulic Limestone and restricted the Sellersburg to bioclastic rocks that lie above the Hydraulic Limestone and that had been called the Crinoidal (Encrinital, Encrinai) Limestone (presently the Beechwood Member of the North Vernon) (Droste and Shaver, 1986). Butts (1915, p. 120) later restored the original definition of the Sellersburg and named the upper crinoidal beds the Beechwood Limestone Member and the lower beds the Silver Creek Limestone Member (Droste and Shaver, 1986). As recorded by Wilmarth (1938, p. 1,952), Butts's scheme was adopted by the U.S. Geological Survey (Droste and Shaver, 1986).
Although basically a limestone, the North Vernon has many lateral and vertical facies (Droste and Shaver, 1986). In its type area and southward along outcrop the formation has been described in three parts (Droste and Shaver, 1986). Two lower parts consist variably of gray dense massive argillaceous dolomitic limestone called the Silver Creek Member (the Cement Beds of older literature) and of gray granular to shaly thin-bedded very fossiliferous limestone called the Speed Member (Droste and Shaver, 1986). These members are in facies relationship with one another (Droste and Shaver, 1986). The upper part, called the Beechwood Member, consists of gray and dark-gray medium-grained to very coarse grained thin- to thick-bedded crinoidal limestone containing glauconite and, in its basal part, black phosphate grains and pebbles (Droste and Shaver, 1986).
The North Vernon overlies unconformably both the Jeffersonville Limestone (Middle Devonian) and the Wabash Formation (Upper Silurian) (Droste and Shaver, 1986). It underlies the New Albany Shale both conformably and unconformably (Droste and Shaver, 1986). [See Shaver, 1984, for areas and magnitude of these changing relations (Droste and Shaver, 1986).]
On the basis of its many macrofossils, the North Vernon has been correlated approximately with the Hamilton Group (upper Middle Devonian) of New York for more than a hundred years (Droste and Shaver, 1986). The more recent conodont work reaffirms this correlation (Droste and Shaver, 1986). The upper part of the Silver Creek (lower North Vernon), as well as the Skaneateles Formation (upper lower Hamilton) of New York (see Rickard, 1975, pl. 3), is in the Icriodus latericrescens latericrescens Zone (early Givetian, global standard) (Orr and Pollock, 1968; Droste and Shaver, 1986). [See, however, the discussion under "Speed Member" for other opinion on age (Droste and Shaver, 1986).] The Beechwood (upper North Vernon), as well as the Ludlowville Formation of the lower upper Hamilton, lies in the Polygnathus varcus Zone (middle Givetian) (Orr, 1971, p. 17; Droste and Shaver, 1986; Sandberg, Hasenmueller, and Rexroad, 1994).
Industrial Minerals: Cement products from the North Vernon Limestone (Devonian) include the following: Portland and masonry cement from a quarry in Clark County (Shaffer, 2016).
Regional Indiana usage:
Illinois Basin (COSUNA 11)
Hamilton Group, Hydraulic Limestone, Jeffersonville Limestone, Little Rock Creek Limestone, Logansport Limestone, Miami Bend Formation, Sellersburg Beds/Limestone
Geologic Map Unit Designation:
Note: Hansen (1991, p. 52) in Suggestions to authors of the reports of the United States Geological Survey noted that letter symbols for map units are considered to be unique to each geologic map and that adjacent maps do not necessarily need to use the same symbols for the same map unit. Therefore, map unit abbreviations in the Indiana Geologic Names Information System should be regarded simply as recommendations.
COSUNA areas and regional terminology
Names for geologic units vary across Indiana. The Midwestern Basin and Arches Region COSUNA chart (Shaver, 1984) was developed to strategically document such variations in terminology. The geologic map (below left) is derived from this chart and provides an index to the five defined COSUNA regions in Indiana. The regions are generally based on regional bedrock outcrop patterns and major structural features in Indiana. (Click the maps below to view more detailed maps of COSUNA regions and major structural features in Indiana.)
COSUNA areas and numbers that approximate regional bedrock outcrop patterns and major structural features in Indiana.
Major tectonic features that affect bedrock geology in Indiana.
Blatchley, W. S., and Ashley, G. H., 1898, Geological scale of Indiana: Indiana Department of Geology and Natural Resources Annual Report 22, p. 16–24.
Borden, W. W., 1876, Jennings County: Indiana Geological Survey Annual Report 7, p. 146–180.
Burger, A. M., and Patton, J. B., 1970, North Vernon Limestone, in Shaver, R. H., Burger, A. M., Gates, G. R., Gray, H. H., Hutchison, H. C., Keller, S. J., Patton, J. B., Rexroad, C. B., Smith, N. M., Wayne, W. J., and Wier, C. E., Compendium of rock-unit stratigraphy in Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey Bulletin 43, p. 120–122.
Butts, Charles, 1915, Geology and mineral resources of Jefferson County, Kentucky: Kentucky Geological Survey, ser. 4, v. 3, pt. 2, 270 p.
Campbell, Guy, 1942, Middle Devonian stratigraphy of Indiana: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 53, p. 1,055–1,071.
Conkin, J. E., and Conkin, B. M., 1972, Guide to the rocks and fossils of Jefferson County, Kentucky, southern Indiana, and adjacent areas: Louisville, Ky., University of Louisville Reproduction Services, 331 p.
Conkin, J. E., Conkin, B. M., and Lipchinsky, L. Z., 1976, Middle Devonian (Hamiltonian) stratigraphy and bone beds on the east side of the Cincinnati Arch in Kentucky Pt. 2, The Kidds Store Section, Casey County: Louisville, Ky., University of Louisville Studies in Paleontology and Stratigraphy 6, 33 p.
Conkin, J. E., Conkin, B. M., and Lipchinsky, L. Z., 1980, Devonian black shale in the eastern United States—Pt. 1, Southern Indiana, Kentucky, northern and eastern Highland Rim of Tennessee, and central Ohio: Louisville, Ky., University of Louisville Studies in Paleontology and Stratigraphy 12, 63 p.
Cooper, G. A., 1941, New Devonian stratigraphic units: Washington Academy of Sciences Journal, v. 31, p. 179–181.
Cooper, G. A., and Phelan, Thomas, 1966, Stringocephalus in the Devonian of Indiana: Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, v. 151, no. 1, 20 p.
Cooper, G. A., and Warthin, A. S., Jr., 1941, New Middle Devonian stratigraphic names: Washington Academy of Sciences Journal, v. 31, p. 259–260.
Droste, J. B., and Shaver, R. H., 1986, North Vernon Limestone, in Shaver, R. H., Ault, C. H., Burger, A. M., Carr, D. D., Droste, J. B., Eggert, D. L., Gray, H. H., Harper, Denver, Hasenmueller, N. R., Hasenmueller, W. A., Horowitz, A. S., Hutchison, H. C., Keith, B. D., Keller, S. J., Patton, J. B., Rexroad, C. B., and Wier, C. E., Compendium of Paleozoic rock-unit stratigraphy in Indiana–a revision: Indiana Geological Survey Bulletin 59, p. 103–105.
Hansen, W. R., 1991, Suggestions to authors of the reports of the United States Geological Survey (7th ed.): Washington, D.C., U.S. Geological Survey, 289 p.
Kindle, E. M., 1899, The Devonian and Lower Carboniferous faunas of southern Indiana and central Kentucky: Bulletins of American Paleontology, v. 3, no. 12, 111 p.
North, W. G., 1969, The Middle Devonian strata of southern Illinois: Illinois State Geological Survey Circular 441, 48 p.
Orr, R. W., 1969, Stratigraphy and correlation of Middle Devonian strata in the Logansport Sag, north-central Indiana: Indiana Academy of Science Proceedings, v. 78, p. 333–341.
Orr, R. W., and Pollock, C. A., 1968, Reference sections and correlation of Beechwood Member (North Vernon Limestone, Middle Devonian) of southern Indiana and northern Kentucky: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 52, p. 2,257–2,262.
Rickard, L. V., 1975, Correlation of the Silurian and Devonian rocks in New York State: New York State Museum and Science Service Geological Survey Map and Chart Ser. 24, 16 p.
Sandberg, C. A., Hasenmueller, N. R., and Rexroad, C. B., 1994, Conodont biochronology, biostratigraphy, and biofacies of Upper Devonian part of New Albany Shale, Indiana: Courier-Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, v. 168, p. 227–253.
Schneider, A. F., and Keller, S. J., 1970, Geologic map of the 1° x 2° Chicago quadrangle, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, showing bedrock and unconsolidated deposits: Indiana Geological Survey Regional Geologic Map No. 4, Part A [bedrock units].
Shaver, R. H., Burger, A. M., Gates, G. R., Gray, H. H., Hutchison, H. C., Keller, S. J., Patton, J. B., Rexroad, C. B., Smith, N. M., Wayne, W. J., and Wier, C. E., 1970, Compendium of rock-unit stratigraphy in Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey Bulletin 43, 229 p.
Shaver, R. H., coordinator, 1984, Midwestern basin and arches region–correlation of stratigraphic units in North America (COSUNA): American Association of Petroleum Geologists Correlation Chart Series.
Shaver, R. H., Doheny, E. J., Droste, J. B., Lazor, J. D., Orr, R. W., Pollock, C. A., and Rexroad, C. B., 1971, Silurian and Middle Devonian stratigraphy of the Michigan Basin–a view from the southwest flank, in Forsyth, J. L., Geology of the Lake Erie islands and adjacent shores: Michigan Basin Geological Society Guidebook, p. 37–59.
Siebenthal, C. E., 1901, The Silver Creek Hydraulic Limestone of southeastern Indiana: Indiana Department of Geology and Natural Resources Annual Report 25, p. 331–389.
Sutton, D. G., and Sutton, A. H., 1937, Middle Devonian of southern Indiana: Journal of Geology, v. 45, p. 320–331.
Whitlatch, G. I., and Huddle, J. W., 1932, The stratigraphy and structure of a Devonian limestone area in Clark County, Indiana: Indiana Academy of Science Proceedings, v. 41, p. 363–390.
Wilmarth, M. G., 1938, Lexicon of geologic names of the United States (including Alaska): U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 896, 2,396 p.
For additional information, contact:
Nancy Hasenmueller (firstname.lastname@example.org)Date last revised: August 16, 2021