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Kansas Geological Survey, Current Research in Earth Sciences, Bulletin 253, part 1
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Palynological correlation and zonation of Atokan strata in the western part of the midcontinent has not been adequately accomplished because of scarcity of Atokan coals and carbonaceous rocks in that region. Palynological correlation of subsurface Morrowan and Atokan rocks in the Forest City basin in northwestern Missouri with equivalent rocks in the Illinois basin, however, was recently carried out (Peppers et al., 1993). That 1993 study, a preliminary version of this Kansas study (Peppers and Brady, 1997), and the present study extend the earlier palynological correlation and spore zonation of the lower part of the Pennsylvanian and Middle Carboniferous from Europe, the Appalachian coal region and the Illinois basin (Peppers, 1984, 1996) to the midcontinent. Coal and carbonaceous shale samples from Atokan and lower Desmoinesian strata in four deep cores drilled in eastern Kansas were made available by the Kansas Geological Survey.

One of the purposes of this study is to provide a correlation of the lower part of the Pennsylvanian between the Illinois basin and eastern Kansas and to extend the Spore Assemblage Zones of the Illinois basin to the midcontinent. The Kansas cores contain coal beds just above the base of the Pennsylvanian; therefore, another purpose of the study was to find the age of the oldest Pennsylvanian strata in the Kansas portion of the Forest City basin. We also wanted to learn whether the pattern of changing dominance of Lycospora species in the middle Atokan that occurs in the Illinois basin and the Appalachian coal region was duplicated as far west as Kansas. The Riverton coal bed is present in all of the cores that were studied. Because there has been some question concerning the specific age of that coal, another purpose of the investigation is to determine the position of the Riverton coal in relation to the Atokan-Desmoinesian boundary. It should be noted that the U.S. Geological Survey, Kansas Geological Survey, and Oklahoma Geological Survey refer to coals as coal beds, while the Illinois Geological Survey considers major coals as members; therefore, the coal names listed in that state are upper case.

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Kansas Geological Survey
Web version Aug. 16, 2007