IGNIS
Springfield Coal Member

Age:

Pennsylvanian

Type designation:

Type area: The term “Springfield” was first applied by Worthen (1883, p. 6) to a coal mined near Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois (Burger and Wier, 1970; Eggert and Wier, 1986). Sec. 16, T. 16 N., R. 4 W., was later designated as the type area by Wanless (1956, p. 10) (Burger and Wier, 1970; Eggert and Wier, 1986).

History of usage:

This coal had been called the Main Newburg Coal by Owen (1839, p. 11) and later Coal V by Ashley (1899, p. 90, 843; 1909, p. 56) (Burger and Wier, 1970; Eggert and Wier, 1986). The terms “Petersburg Coal” and “coal at Alum Cave” have also been used for this coal bed (Cumings, 1922, fig. 2; Burger and Wier, 1970; Eggert and Wier, 1986). The use of this term was extended into Indiana by Wier (unpublished manuscript); Wayne, Johnson, and Keller (1966); Burger and Wier (1970) (Eggert and Wier, 1986).

Description:

The widespread Springfield coal of the Petersburg Formation is Indiana's most important economic coal (Eggert and Wier, 1986). It is thickest near three contemporaneous channels in southwestern Indiana, the Galatia, Leslie Cemetery, and Terre Haute Channels, where it may reach thicknesses of 13 feet (4 m) in places (Eggert and Wier, 1986). In several areas in Gibson, Pike, Knox, and Sullivan Counties, a gray silty shale as much as 90 ft (27 m) thick, similar in lithology to the Dykersburg Shale Member of Illinois, overlies the coal and thins and pinches out distally from the Galatia Channel (Eggert and Wier, 1986). Adjacent to this channel the coal may be split in places by shale (Eggert and Wier, 1986). This split has been designated the Folsomville Member (Eggert, 1982) in southeastern Gibson County and northwestern Warrick County, where the Springfield is split into at least two thinner coal beds separated by as much as 65 ft (20 m) of clastic Folsomville rocks (Eggert and Wier, 1986). The Terre Haute Channel in Vigo County is also associated with areas of split Springfield coal and a zone of nondeposition (Friedman, 1956, 1960; Eggert and Wier, 1986).

Where the Springfield coal adjacent to channels is overlain by 20 ft (6 m) or more of gray silty freshwater shale, it is commonly lower in sulfur than in areas where it is overlain by black fissile marine shale (Eggert and Wier, 1986). Black fissile shale and the Alum Cave Limestone Member (Dugger Formation) commonly overlie the Springfield away from the channels, but these units thin and pinch out over the gray shale associated with the Galatia Channel and over areas where the Folsomville is thick (Eggert and Wier, 1986). The coal is generally underlain by silty clay or by shale or sandstone in some places (Burger and Wier, 1970; Eggert and Wier, 1986). Away from the contemporaneous channels the Springfield ranges from 2.5 to 6 ft (0.8 to 1.8 m) in thickness and has an average thickness of about 4 ft (1.2 m) (Eggert and Wier, 1986). As described by Neavel (1961) and Hower and Wild (1982), the Springfield is a bright coal that dulls upward, and as shown by Guennel (1952) and Peppers (1970), it has a distinctive spore content (Eggert and Wier, 1986).

Correlations:

The Springfield is now the recognized name for this coal in Illinois, Indiana, and western Kentucky, where it had been known by several names (Shaver and others, 1984; Jacobson and others, 1985; Eggert and Wier, 1986). The Springfield is believed to be similar in age to the Middle Kittaning and Princess No. 7 Coals of the Appalachian Basin (Peppers, 1970; Kosanke, 1973; Eggert and Wier, 1986).

Rexroad (1993) noted that the presence of Neognathodus roundyi and other species recovered during his study of conodonts from coal balls in the Springfield is compatible with the middle Desmoinesian age of the unit.

Regional Indiana usage:

Illinois Basin (COSUNA 11)
Supergroup: none
Group: Carbondale Group
Formation: Petersburg Formation
Member: Springfield Coal Member
Illinois Basin Margin (COSUNA 12)
Supergroup: none
Group: Carbondale Group
Formation: Petersburg Formation
Member: Springfield Coal Member

Misc/Abandoned Names:

coal at Alum Cave, Coal V, Main Newburg Coal, Petersburg Coal, Springfield Coal Member (V)

Geologic Map Unit Designation:

Ppbs

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:

Folsomville Member

References:

Ashley, G. H., 1899, The coal deposits of Indiana: Indiana Department of Geology and Natural Resources Annual Report 23, p. 1-1,573.

Ashley, G. H., 1909, Supplementary report to the report of 1898 on the coal deposits of Indiana: Indiana Department of Geology and Natural Resources Annual Report 33, p. 13-150.

Burger, A. M., and Wier, C. E., 1970, Springfield Coal Member (V), 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. 169-170.

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.

Eggert, D. L., 1982, A fluvial channel contemporaneous with deposition of the Springfield Coal Member (V), Petersburg Formation, northern Warrick County, Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey Special Report 28, 20 p.

Eggert, D. L., and Wier, C. E., 1986, Springfield Coal 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. 149.

Friedman, S. A., 1956, Split and channel sandstone cutout in Coal V in the Dresser area, Vigo County, Indiana: Indiana Academy of Science Proceedings, v. 65, p. 165-168.

Friedman, S. A., 1960, Channel-fill sandstones in the Middle Pennsylvanian rocks of Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey Report of Progress 23, 59 p.

Guennel, G. K., 1952, Fossil spores of the Alleghenian coals in Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey Report of Progress 4, 40 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.

Hower, J. E., and Wild, G. O., 1982, Petrographic variations in the Springfield (No. 9) Coal in western Kentucky: International Journal of Coal Geology, v. 2, p. 17-30.

Jacobson, R. J., Trask, C. B., Ault, C. H., Carr, D. D., Gray, H. H., Hasenmueller, W. A., Williams, D., and Williamson, A. D., 1985, Unifying nomenclature in the Pennsylvanian System of the Illinois Basin: Illinois State Academy of Science Transactions, v. 78, p. 1-11.

Kosanke, R. M., 1973, Palynological studies of the coals of the Princess Reserve District in northeastern Kentucky: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 839, 22 p.

Neavel, R. C., 1961, Petrographic and chemical composition of Indiana coals: Indiana Geological Survey Bulletin 22, 81 p.

Owen, D. D., 1839, Second report of a geological survey of Indiana, made in the year 1838, in conformity to an order of the legislature: Indiana Senate Journal for 1838-39, p. 198-241: Indianapolis, Osborn and Willets, 54 p.

Peppers, R. A., 1970, Correlation and palynology of coals in the Carbondale and Spoon Formations (Pennsylvanian) of the northeastern part of the Illinois Basin: Illinois State Geological Survey Bulletin 93, 173 p.

Rexroad, C. B., 1993, Conodonts from coal balls in the Springfield Coal Member of the Petersburg Formation (Desmoinesian, Pennsylvanian) in southern Indiana: Indiana Academy of Science Proceedings, v. 102, p. 83-91.

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.

Wanless, H. R., 1956, Classification of the Pennsylvanian rocks of Illinois as of 1956: Illinois State Geological Survey Circular 217, 14 p.

Wayne, W. J., Johnson, G. H., and Keller, S. J., 1966, Geologic map of the 1° x 2° Danville quadrangle, Indiana and Illinois, showing bedrock and unconsolidated deposits: Indiana Geological Survey Regional Geologic Map No. 2, Part A [bedrock units].

Worthen, A. H., 1883, Economical geology, in Geology and paleontology: Illinois State Geological Survey, v. 7, p. 1-51.



For additional information contact:

Nancy Hasenmueller (hasenmue@indiana.edu)
Date last revised: November 23, 2016

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