Type designation:

Type locality: The name "Fredonia" was originally applied to rocks exposed near Fredonia, Caldwell County, Kentucky, by Ulrich and Smith (1905, p. 24, 39, 40) (Smith, 1970; Carr and Gray, 1986).

History of usage:

Extended: The term was first applied in Indiana by Cumings (1922, p. 507), who suggested that the Paoli Limestone, which then included all of what is now called the Ste. Genevieve as well as the present Paoli (Elrod, 1899, p. 259), was equivalent to the type Fredonia (Carr and Gray, 1986).

Restricted: Later Malott (1945, p. 1,180; 1946; 1952, p. 8) applied the term to rocks above the St. Louis Limestone and below his Rosiclare Sandstone in Indiana (Carr and Gray, 1986).

Revised: Droste and Carpenter (1990) stratigraphically revised the Fredonia to include both the Fredonia and Spar Mountain Members as previously used on the outcrop in Indiana. The Lost River Chert Bed marks the base of the Fredonia Member.


The Fredonia Member in Indiana consists dominantly of an assortment of light-colored carbonate rocks that may have a few shale partings and interbedded carbonate rocks with shale beds as much as 10 ft (3 m) thick (Droste and Carpenter, 1990). The porous zones in the Fredonia are generally oolitic or biofragmental limestones or very dolomitic limestones or dolostone. The units are lens shaped and laterally discontinuous (Droste and Carpenter, 1990).

Cross bedding is commonly observed in exposures along the outcrop in Indiana. Dips are mainly 5° to 20° and are oriented northeastward and southwestward (Carr, 1973, p. 38-39). Skeletal and micritic limestones are generally less abundant than oolitic limestones, but in places they are the dominant types. The Lost River Chert Bed, an important outcrop marker, lies 15 to 40 ft (4.6 to 12.2 m) above the base of the Fredonia along most of the outcrop, but in the northern part of the outcrop in Owen and Putnam Counties it is locally lower (Carr and Gray, 1986). Droste and Carpenter (1990, p. 14) note that in the subsurface the Lost River Chert has limited recognizable distribution.

The Fredonia ranges from less than 40 ft (12.2 m) to more than 100 ft (30.5 m) in thickness (Droste and Carpenter, 1990).


The revised Fredonia of Droste and Carpenter (1990) is equivalent to both the Fredonia Limestone and the Spar Mountain Sandstone Members of the Ste. Genevieve Limestone of Illinois.

Regional Indiana usage:

Illinois Basin (COSUNA 11)
Supergroup: none
Group: Blue River Group
Formation: Ste. Genevieve Limestone
Member: Fredonia Member
Illinois Basin Margin (COSUNA 12)
Supergroup: none
Group: Blue River Group
Formation: Ste. Genevieve Limestone
Member: Fredonia Member

Misc/Abandoned Names:

Horse Cave Member (of the St. Louis Limestone), Spar Mountain Member

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 featuers in Indiana.

Major tectonic features that affect bedrock geology in Indiana.


Carr, D. D., 1973, Geometry and origin of oolite bodies in the Ste. Genevieve Limestone (Mississippian) in the Illinois Basin: Indiana Geological Survey Bulletin 48, 81 p.

Carr, D. D., and Gray, H. H., 1986, Fredonia Member, 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. 48-49.

Cumings, E. R., 1922, Nomenclature and description of the geological formations of Indiana, in Logan, W. N., Cumings, E. R., Malott, C. A., Visher, S. S., Tucker, W. M., Reeves, J. R., and Legge, H. W., Handbook of Indiana geology: Indiana Department of Conservation Publications 21, pt. 4, p. 403-570.

Droste, J. B., and Carpenter, G. L., 1990, Subsurface stratigraphy of the Blue River Group (Mississippian) in Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey Bulletin 62, 45 p.

Elrod, M. N., 1899, The geologic relations of some St. Louis Group caves and sinkholes: Indiana Academy of Science Proceedings for 1898, p. 258-267.

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., 1945, Rosiclare and Aux Vases Sandstones in southern Indiana [abs.]: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 56, p. 1,180.

Malott, C. A., 1946, The geology of Cataract Falls, Owen County, Indiana: Journal of Geology, v. 54, p. 322-326.

Malott, C. A., 1952, Stratigraphy of the Ste. Genevieve and Chester formations of southern Indiana: Ann Arbor, Michigan, Edwards Letter Shop, 105 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.

Smith, N. M., 1970, Fredonia Member, 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. 58-59.

Ulrich, E. O., and Smith, W. S. T., 1905, The lead, zinc, and fluorspar deposits of western Kentucky U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 36, 218 p.

For additional information contact:

Nancy Hasenmueller (
Date last revised: May 27, 2016