Paper No. 34-0
SEDIMENTOLOGY AND PALEOECOLOGY OF A CHESTERIAN TETRAPOD SITE, BUFFALO WALLOW GROUP, WESTERN KENTUCKY
CHESNUT, Donald R. Jr, Kentucky Geological Survey, 228 MMRB, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0107, chesnut@kgs.mm.uky.edu, GREB, Stephen F., Kentucky Geological Survey, Univ of Kentucky, 228 Mining and Mineral Resources Bldg, Lexington, KY 40506-0107, STORRS, Glenn W., Geier Collections and Research Center, Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH 45203, GARCIA, William J., Department of Geology, Univ of Cincinnati, 500 Geology/Physics Building, Cincinnati, OH 45221, and BELLAN, Jack, Dept. of Earth Sciences, Eastern Kentucky Univ, Richmond, KY 40475-3102

An exposure of the Buffalo Wallow Formation in western Kentucky has yielded a variety of Carboniferous tetrapods, the oldest such fossils in the Illinois Basin. Limestones at the base of the exposure can be correlated to the Menard Limestone, and those at the top to the Kinkaid Limestone, making the tetrapods upper Chesterian (Elviran) in age. At this location, nonmarine clastic units in the Buffalo Wallow consist of heterolithic paleochannels and lateral floodplain facies; dark shale-filled scour fills; small, heterolithic scour fills; and numerous paleosols. Paleosols are more common at this location than farther west in the basin, suggesting decreased accommodation along its eastern margin, and possibly atop a local horst block. Decreased accommodation also resulted in complexes of laterally crosscutting paleochannels, and the loss of a Clore-equivalent limestone relative to the upper Chesterian series found down structural dip.

Complex paleosol development in small-graben-like structures at the top of the Menard Limestone may indicate syndepositional structural movement, which also influenced sedimentation within the overlying Palestine-equivalent paleochannel. The channel is interpreted to be a mixed-load, meandering channel, with pervasive paleoslumps. Thick-thin laminae alternations in some crossbeds, rhythmites, and abundant shale drapes on laminae are suggestive of tidal conditions. Lycopod rooting, and rhizodont and anthracosaur bones suggest dominantly fresh water conditions, perhaps placing the channel in an upper estuarine or fluvio-estuarine transitional position. A large semiarticulated embolomere was found toward the toe of a slumped coset. Additional embolomere remains were found in overlying lacustrine and floodplain deposits above a paleosol developed on top of the paleochannel. Rhizodont and lungfish remains were preserved in dark shale-filled scours, interpreted as abandoned, poorly oxygenated oxbows or chute-channel fills in a possible marsh setting. Limited accommodation and channel-filling processes may have been important in the preservation of vertebrate remains at this site.

North-Central Section (36th) and Southeastern Section (51st), GSA Joint Annual Meeting (April 35, 2002)
Session No. 34
Carboniferous Paleontology and Biostratigraphy
Hyatt Regency Hotel: Regency Ballroom West
1:20 PM-5:00 PM, Thursday, April 4, 2002
 

© Copyright 2002 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.