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Kansas Geological Survey, Current Research in Earth Sciences, Bulletin 241, part 2
Distribution of the Bandera Shale of the Marmaton Group, Middle Pennsylvanian of Southeastern Kansas--page 2 of 9

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The purpose of this study was to determine the distribution and characteristics of sandstone units in the Bandera Shale of southeastern Kansas, as well to clarify the stratigraphy and paleodepositional setting of this formation. Our observations were limited to a reconnaissance study of scattered outcrops that extend from Bourbon County southwestward to the Oklahoma state line in Labette County, Kansas, and gamma-ray and neutron logs from 469 wells, copies of which were supplied by the Data Resources Library of the Kansas Geological Survey. It is hoped that this study will serve a stimulus for future detailed studies of the Bandera Shale in the midcontinent region.

The study area (fig. 1) is along the eastern flank of the Western Interior basin (Schenk, 1967), including the north portion of the Cherokee basin, south of the Bourbon arch. The Nemaha uplift separates the Cherokee basin from the Sedgwick basin of south-central Kansas. To the south, the Cherokee basin extends to the Arbuckle Mountains in south-central Oklahoma.

Fig. 1. Location of study area in southeastern Kansas.


The Bandera Shale (Adams et al., 1903, p. 32) is part of the Marmaton Group, which is Desmoinesian in age (fig. 2). It is overlain by the Altamont Limestone and underlain by the Pawnee Limestone. The black shale members of these formations--the Lake Neosho Shale Member of the Altamont Limestone and the Anna Shale Member of the Pawnee Limestone--provide traceable stratigraphic markers in both the subsurface (using gamma-ray and neutron logs) and along the Desmoinesian outcrop belt. In Oklahoma, both of these members, along with the Bandera Shale, are included in the Oologah Limestone (Krumme, 1981, p. 9). The Bandera Shale pinches out to the south and to the west. According to Krumme (1981), it is not recognized south of southern Osage County, Oklahoma, or west of western Kay County, Oklahoma. Although the Oologah Limestone dominates to the south, A. P. Bennison (1997, personal communication) reports finding outcrops of thin Bandera Shale south of the Arkansas River in Tulsa County, Oklahoma.

Fig. 2. Stratigraphic terminology for the Marmaton Group in southeastern Kansas and chronostratigraphic relations with North American and European scales. Chronostratigraphic relationships between Europe and North America came from COSUNA stratigraphic correlation charts (Salvador, 1985, fig. 1, p. 182). Generalized gamma-ray log illustrates typical signatures for the portion of the Marmaton Group studied.

According to Zeller (1968, p. 26), the Bandera Shale is a "mainly nonmarine gray and yellow, mostly blocky claystone, well bedded shale, and massive to thin-bedded sandstone. Maroon bands are present in the upper part." The formation contains limonite concretions and veins, with septarian limestone concretions present locally, and in the lower part, north of Crawford County, the Mulberry coal bed is persistent. Shale below the coal is light to dark gray and carbonaceous. Locally, a dark gray limestone, 6-9 ft (1.8-2.7 m) thick, lies just above the Mulberry coal beds (Zeller, 1968).

The strata between the Mulberry coal bed and the Pawnee Limestone consists of a blue-gray shale that grades upward into an underclay at the base of the coal (Whitla, 1940, p. 17). Carbonaceous remains of plant fragments are present in the underclay.

A very local coal bed near the top of the Bandera Shale in Labette County, Kansas, was reported by Jewett (1945, p. 36). The same or a similarly situated coal was observed 0.8 m (2.6 ft) below the base of the Amoret Limestone Member in the SE sec. 11, T. 35 S., R. 18 E., Labette County, Kansas, a few hundred meters north of the Oklahoma state line.

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Kansas Geological Survey
Web version October 15, 1998