IGNIS
Mount Simon Sandstone

Age:

Cambrian

Type designation:

Type locality: In a provisional classification given by Walcott (1914, p. 354), the Mount Simon Sandstone was credited to a manuscript by E. O. Ulrich (Droste and Patton, 1986). General consensus indicates that the name is taken from an escarpment called Mount Simon near Eau Claire, Eau Claire County, Wisconsin (Droste and Patton, 1986).

History of usage:

In his original description Walcott described about 235 ft (72 m) of coarse-grained to conglomeratic sandstone overlying Precambrian granite and underlying fine-grained sandstone of the Eau Claire Formation (Droste and Patton, 1986).

Droste and Patton (1986) noted that the term "Mount Simon Sandstone" is generally used for the basal Cambrian formation in the upper Mississippi Valley and southern Great Lakes areas, including in Indiana.

Description:

The Mount Simon Sandstone, the oldest known post-Precambrian unit in Indiana and the basal unit in the Potsdam Supergroup, is recognized only in the subsurface and was described in some detail by Becker, Hreha, and Dawson (1978) (Droste and Patton, 1986). It consists of poorly sorted fine-grained to very coarse grained sandstones that are generally poorly consolidated (Droste and Patton, 1986). A general color change occurs downward from white to yellowish gray to grayish red below (Droste and Patton, 1986). Gray and maroon shale is present throughout the formation in beds ranging from less than a foot to tens of feet in thickness, and another prominent shale zone, as thick as 60 ft (18 m), occurs in the upper part of the Mount Simon in northwestern Indiana (Droste and Patton, 1986; Medina and Rupp, 2012, fig. 5). A basal arkosic sandstone interval, as thick as 50 ft (15 m), is known from several wells that penetrate Precambrian rocks in Indiana (Becker, Hreha, and Dawson, 1978; Droste and Patton, 1986; Medina and Rupp, 2012) and in Illinois (Leetaru and McBride, 2009).

The known thickness of the Mount Simon Sandstone ranges from more than 300 ft (91 m) in eastern Indiana to more than 2,000 ft (610 m) in northwestern Indiana (Droste and Patton, 1986; Medina and others, 2011). Although wells in southwestern Indiana have not reached Precambrian rocks, wells in Illinois and Kentucky indicate that the Mount Simon thins to about 750 ft (229 m) in that part of the state (Droste and Patton, 1985). The Mount Simon is overlain conformably by the Eau Claire Formation and is underlain, insofar as known, unconformably by Precambrian rocks (Droste and Patton, 1986).

Correlations:

The Mount Simon Sandstone is known by this name in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky and is the equivalent of the Lamotte Sandstone of Missouri (Droste and Shaver, 1983; Shaver, 1984; Droste and Patton, 1986; Medina and Rupp, 2012, fig. 2).

Regional Indiana usage:

Illinois Basin (COSUNA 11)
Supergroup: Potsdam Supergroup
Group: none
Formation: Mount Simon Sandstone
Illinois Basin Margin (COSUNA 12)
Supergroup: Potsdam Supergroup
Group: none
Formation: Mount Simon Sandstone
Cincinnati Arch (COSUNA 13)
Supergroup: Potsdam Supergroup
Group: none
Formation: Mount Simon Sandstone
Kankakee Arch (COSUNA 14)
Supergroup: Potsdam Supergroup
Group: none
Formation: Mount Simon Sandstone
Michigan Basin (COSUNA 15)
Supergroup: Potsdam Supergroup
Group: none
Formation: Mount Simon Sandstone

Misc/Abandoned Names:

None

Geologic Map Unit Designation:

Cms

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.

References:

Becker, L. E., Hreha, A. J., and Dawson, T. A., 1978, Pre-Knox (Cambrian) stratigraphy in Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey Bulletin 57, 72 p.

Droste, J. B., and Patton, J. B., 1985, Lithostratigraphy of the Sauk Sequence in Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey Occasional Paper 47, 24 p.

Droste, J. B., and Patton, J. B., 1986, Mount Simon 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. 97.

Droste, J. B., and Shaver, R. H., 1983, Atlas of early and middle Paleozoic paleogeography of the southern Great Lakes area: Indiana Geological Survey Special Report 32, 32 p.

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.

Leetaru, H. E., and McBride, J. H., 2009, Reservoir uncertainty, Precambrian topography, and carbon sequestration in the Mt. Simon Sandstone, Illinois Basin: Environmental Geosciences, v. 16, p. 235-243.

Medina, C. R., and Rupp, J. A., 2012, Reservoir characterization and lithostratigraphic division of the Mount Simon Sandstone (Cambrian): Implications for estimations of geologic sequestration storage capacity: Environmental Geosciences, v. 19, p. 1-15.

Medina, C. R., Rupp, J. A., and Barnes, D. A., 2011, Effects of reduction in porosity and permeability with depth on storage capacity and injectivity in deep saline aquifers: A case study from the Mount Simon Sandstone aquifer: International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, v. 5, p. 146-156.

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.

Walcott, C. D., 1914, Cambrian geology and paleontology: Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, v. 57, p. 345-412.



For additional information contact:

Nancy Hasenmueller (hasenmue@indiana.edu)
Date last revised: February 16, 2016

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