IGNIS
Waltersburg Formation

Age:

Mississippian

Type designation:

Type locality: The name “Waltersburg Sandstone” was proposed by Stuart Weller (1920, p. 398) for exposures of a massive cliff-forming sandstone near Waltersburg, Pope County, Illinois (Gray, 1970, 1986).

History of usage:

In his initial study of outcropping upper Chesterian rocks in Indiana, Malott (1925, p. 108-109) named a thin ledge-forming sandstone the Wickliffe Sandstone. Later he asserted a correlation with the Waltersburg (Malott, 1931, p. 222), and that name came into general use, replacing Wickliffe (Gray, 1986). Boundaries of the unit were never adequately defined, however (see the discussion of boundary problems under "Tar Springs Formation"), and in a restudy of outcropping upper Chesterian rocks, Gray (1978) did not find need to name a member at this position, which is within the Branchville Formation of surface usage (Gray, 1986). Later, Gray (1986, p. 167) assigned the Waltersburg in Indiana to the Buffalo Wallow Group. Droste and Keller (1995, p. 5) adopted the name “Waltersburg Formation” in the subsurface in Indiana because of the variable lithology of the unit.

Description:

In Illinois, the Waltersburg is as much as 70 ft (21 m) thick, but it is absent or unrecognizable in many places (Gray, 1986). In discussing the Waltersburg Formation in the standard Chesterian section, Swann (1963, p. 38) described it as primarily dark shale containing elongate sandstone bodies and 35 to 80 ft (11 to 24 m) thick (Gray, 1986).

In Indiana, the term “Waltersburg Formation” is restricted to subsurface use. The formation is predominantly shale and contains elongate bodies of sandstone (Droste and Keller, 1995). The thickness of the Waltersburg ranges from zero at the eroded subcrop limit to 130 ft (39.6 m) in Posey County in southwestern Indiana (Droste and Keller, 1995). The maximum total thickness of the elongate sandstone bodies is a little more than 100 ft (30.5 m) (Droste and Keller, 1995).

Distribution: In Indiana, the Waltersburg Formation is known from Dubois County southwestward (Droste and Keller, 1995, fig. 7).

Boundaries:

The Waltersburg Formation overlies the Vienna Limestone or the Tar Springs Formation conformably (Droste and Keller, 1995, p. 7). The formation conformably underlies the Menard Limestone or unconformably underlies strata of the Pennsylvanian System (Droste and Keller, 1995).

Regional Indiana usage:

Illinois Basin (COSUNA 11)
Supergroup: none
Group: Buffalo Wallow Group
Formation: Waltersburg Formation
Illinois Basin Margin (COSUNA 12)
Supergroup: none
Group: Buffalo Wallow Group
Formation: Waltersburg Formation

Misc/Abandoned Names:

None

Geologic Map Unit Designation:

Mw

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.)

Map showing the COSUNA areas (heavy black line) that approximate regional bedrock outcrop patterns and major structural features in Indiana, and the COSUNA numbers (large bold font) for these areas. The COSUNA boundaries are limited to state and county boundaries that facilitate coding.

COSUNA areas and numbers that approximate regional bedrock outcrop patterns and major structural features in Indiana.

Map showing major tectonic features that affect bedrock geology in Indiana.

Major tectonic features that affect bedrock geology in Indiana.

See also:

Branchville Formation

References:

Droste, J. B., and Keller, S. J., 1995, Subsurface stratigraphy and distribution of oil fields of the Buffalo Wallow Group (Mississippian) in Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey Bulletin 63, 24 p.

Gray, H. H., 1970, Waltersburg Sandstone, 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. 188-189.

Gray, H. H., 1978, Buffalo Wallow Group upper Chesterian (Mississippian) of southern Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey Occasional Paper 25, 28 p.

Gray, H. H., 1986, Waltersburg Sandstone, 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. 166-167.

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.

Malott, C. A., 1925, The upper Chester of Indiana: Indiana Academy of Science Proceedings, v. 34, p. 103-132.

Malott, C. A., 1931, Geologic structure in the Indian and Trinity Springs locality, Martin County, Indiana: Indiana Academy of Science Proceedings, v. 40, p. 217-231.

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.

Swann, D. H., 1963, Classification of Genevievian and Chesterian (Late Mississippian) rocks of Illinois: Illinois State Geological Survey Report of Investigations 216, 91 p.

Weller, Stuart, 1920, The Chester Series in Illinois: Journal of Geology, v. 28, p. 281-303 and 395-416.



For additional information contact:

Nancy Hasenmueller (hasenmue@indiana.edu)
Date last revised: August 25, 2014

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