Lithostratigraphy of Upper Ordovician strata exposed in Kentucky, with a section on biostratigraphy

Professional Paper 1151-E
By: , and 



Ordovician formations above the Lexington Limestone crop out in the Blue Grass region of Kentucky and along the Cumberland River and its tributaries. The formations are all conformable and in places intertongue and intergrade.

The major Ordovician units above the Lexington Limestone in the Blue Grass region are: The Clays Ferry Formation, the Kope Formation, the Garrard Siltstone, the Fairview Formation, the Calloway Creek Limestone, the Grant Lake Limestone, the Ashlock Formation, the Bull Fork Formation, and the Drakes Formation. The Clays Ferry Formation is made up of subequal amounts of fossiliferous limestone and shale and minor siltstone; the Clays Ferry is as much as 300 ft thick and intertongues with the Lexington Limestone and the Kope Formation. The Kope Formation resembles the partly equivalent Clays Ferry but has a higher shale content (60-80 percent) and thicker layers of shale; the Kope, as much as 275 ft thick, is mostly restricted to the northern part of the State. The Garrard Siltstone, which consists of very calcitic siltstone and minor shale, overlies the Clays Ferry Formation in the southeastern part of the Blue Grass region; the Garrard, as much as 100 ft thick, feathers out into the upper part of the Clays Ferry in southern central and northern east-central Kentucky.

The Fairview Formation is characterized by even-bedded limestone interlayered with nearly equal amounts of shale and minor siltstone. The Fairview crops out in the northern part of the Blue Grass region, where it generally overlies the Kope Formation or the Garrard Siltstone; it grades southward into the Calloway Creek Limestone. The Calloway Creek contains more limestone (generally at least 70 percent) and is more irregularly and thinner bedded than the Fairview.

The Grant Lake Limestone is composed of nodular-bedded limestone (70-90 percent), interlayered and intermixed with shale; it overlies the Fairview Formation in the northern part of the Blue Grass region and the Calloway Creek Limestone in the western and central parts. In east-central Kentucky, the Grant Lake is classified as a member of the Ashlock Formation, an assemblage of lithologically distinct units that were combined to facilitate mapping in the southeastern and southern part of the region. The Ashlock consists of the following members, in ascending order: The Tate (calcitic and dolomitic mudstone), the Grant Lake, the Gilbert (micrograined limestone and shale), the Stingy Creek (nodular-bedded mudstone and limestone), the Terrill (dolomitic and calcitic mudstone), the Sunset (micrograined limestone), and the Reba (nodular-bedded limestone and shale).

The Bull Fork Formation, which overlies the Grant Lake Limestone, is made up of subequal amounts of thin-bedded highly fossiliferous limestone and shale; limestone makes up about 80 percent of the basal part of the formation and decreases in abundance irregularly upward to only 20 percent of the top part. On the east side of the Blue Grass region, the Bull Fork grades into the Reba Member of the Ashlock Formation; on the west side, it grades into the Grant Lake.

The uppermost formation in the region is the Drakes Formation, which in east-central Kentucky consists of the Rowland Member (calcitic to dolomitic mudstone) overlain by the Preachersville Member (dolomitic to calcitic mudstone and dolomite and dolomitic siltstone). In northeast Kentucky, the Drakes is represented by only the Preachersville Member. In most of central and north-central Kentucky, the formation consists of three members: the Rowland at the base (dolomitic mudstone to muddy limestone), the Bardstown (fossiliferous limestone and shale), and the Saluda Dolomite (dolomite, in part calcitic and muddy). In northern north-central Kentucky, the Drakes is represented by only the Saluda Dolomite Member.

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Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Lithostratigraphy of Upper Ordovician strata exposed in Kentucky, with a section on biostratigraphy
Series title Professional Paper
Series number 1151
Chapter E
DOI 10.3133/pp1151E
Year Published 1984
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description v, 121 p.; 7 Plates: 37.00 x 21.00 inches or smaller
Country United States
State Kentucky
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