A SEDIMENTOLOGICAL AND GEOCHEMICAL APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING THE BUTTER SHALES FROM THE WAYNESVILLE FORMATION (UPPER ORDOVICIAN) IN THE CINCINNATI ARCH
This study focuses on Hanna Creek in Brookville, Indiana, one of the few outcrops with exposed “butter” shales from the Waynesville Formation. Conducted in two stages, the first stage involved field collections from three stratigraphic sections that occurred tens of meters apart. Bulk rock samples (including “butter” shales) were collected 30 cm deep into the outcrop, sampled at 1-5 cm intervals, and placed in sealed containers for further analysis. The second stage of the study is to understand the sedimentology by analyzing the geochemical and petrological composition of the claystone using x-ray fluorescence (XRF) and x-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques. The "butter" shale often appears as massive homogenous units in outcrop. The bulk chemical analysis coupled with clay mineral analysis provide complimentary determinative characterization methods of understanding depositional processes in the “butter” shale beyond that of the biostratigraphic markers used traditionally. Through the implementation of multiple methods to investigate the "butter" shales of the Cincinnati Arch, we hope to better understand how the "butter" shales formed and what kind of properties promote unique preservation of fauna within the claystone.