Welcome to the KGS Stratigraphic Nomenclature Website

This site is intended to be an up-to-date resource for information and issues affecting stratigraphy and stratigraphic nomenclature in Kansas. On this site you will find background information, completed and current KGS Stratigraphic Nomenclature Committee activities, guidelines for revisions to stratigraphic units, links to appropriate references, and a link to an online chart showing formally accepted nomenclature (including newly adopted revisions).

Stratigraphic Nomenclature in Kansas

Over forty years have passed since the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) published a stratigraphic guide and chart for Kansas (see D.E. Zeller, ed., 1968, The Stratigraphic Succession in Kansas: Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 189, 81 p.). Since then, several changes to the state's stratigraphic nomenclature have been suggested or proposed--both formally through the peer-reviewed literature, and informally in guidebooks, open-file reports, and other products. In addition, stratigraphy is now contemplated on a global scale, which necessitates consideration beyond the borders of Kansas.

The KGS has formed the Stratigraphic Nomenclature Committee to address stratigraphic issues and establish formally accepted stratigraphic nomenclature for Kansas. As the Committee works through the stratigraphic nomenclatural issues that have arisen since Zeller's 1968 publication, the progress, resulting publications, and pertinent references will be posted on this page. Ultimately, the product will be a new stratigraphic guide and chart for Kansas.

The Committee has established guidelines for revising Kansas' stratigraphic nomenclature (see the Committee Charter at http://www.kgs.ku.edu/General/Strat/commit.html). Its work is based on three key principles:

  • Zeller (1968) is recognized as the most recent accepted stratigraphic guide and chart for Kansas.
  • Nomenclature changes will follow the North American Code of Stratigraphic Nomenclature (2005).
  • A global effort to standardize international stratigraphic nomenclature is being lead by the International Commission on Stratigraphy; these changes will be adopted as they apply to Kansas.

The Stratigraphic Succession in Kansas, edited by Doris Zeller, 1968
http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Publications/Bulletins/189/index.html
The most recent accepted stratigraphic guide and chart for Kansas.

North American Stratigraphic Code
http://ngmdb.usgs.gov/Info/NACSN/Code2/code2.html
Requirements for formally named geologic units.

International Commission on Stratigraphy
http://www.kgs.ku.edu/General/Strat/internat.html
International stratigraphy overview.

Current Stratigraphic Nomenclature Committee Activities

The Stratigraphic Nomenclature Committee has prioritized issues to be addressed in working towards the goal of producing a revised stratigraphic guide and chart. Updates, results, and any revisions are posted on this site and published by the Committee. The Committee's first priority was to resolve the Carboniferous-Permian boundary issue in Kansas. The Committee investigated this issue and published the results in 2006. The Committee has since reviewed Permian stratigraphy; revised the rank of the Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, and Carboniferous; and examined Ogallala Formation and Neogene ("Tertiary") stratigraphy and nomenclature. The results of this work are peer-reviewed and published in Current Research in Earth Sciences, the Survey's online electronic journal (http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Current/index.html).

Published Revisions to Kansas Stratigraphy

Carboniferous-Permian Boundary

The Stratigraphic Nomenclature Committee reviewed the Carboniferous-Permian boundary issue in Kansas and published the results as KGS Bulletin 252, part 2. The abstract, full reference, link to the publication, and revised stratigraphic chart highlighting the revision are included here.

Abstract

The placement of the Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian)-Permian boundary in Kansas has been debated since the rocks of this age were first described and named. With the ratification of the Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Permian System in the southern Ural Mountains, the Carboniferous-Permian boundary in Kansas can now be confidently defined. Based on the identification of the first occurrence of the conodont Streptognathodus isolatus that definitively correlates the Kansas rock section to the basal Permian GSSP, the Carboniferous-Permian boundary in Kansas can be placed at the base of the Bennett Shale Member of the Red Eagle Limestone.

The Kansas Geological Survey proposes that the Tuttle Creek Lake Spillway section, located in northeast Kansas, be considered for the Carboniferous-Permian boundary stratotype in Kansas. It is further suggested that the stratigraphic position of the Carboniferous-Permian boundary in the Tuttle Creek Lake Spillway section be considered as a potential North American stratotype.

In addition to being a significant biostratigraphic boundary, the Carboniferous-Permian boundary and enclosing strata also have significance because they reflect important geologic events and changes that occurred on a regional and global scale.

Reference
Sawin, R.S., West, R.R., Franseen, E.K., Watney, W.L., and McCauley, J.R., 2006, Carboniferous-Permian Boundary in Kansas, Midcontinent, U.S.A.; in, Current Research in Earth Sciences: Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 252, part 2.
http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Current/2006/sawin/index.html
Online chart highlighting changes

Permian Stratigraphy

The Stratigraphic Nomenclature Committee reviewed the Permian nomenclature in Kansas and published the results as KGS Bulletin 254, part 2. The abstract, full reference, link to the publication, and revised stratigraphic chart highlighting the revision are included here.

Abstract

This paper outlines Permian nomenclature changes to Zeller (1968) that have been adopted by the Kansas Geological Survey. The Permian System/Period, Cisuralian Series/Epoch, and Asselian Stage/Age are established at the base of the Bennett Shale Member of the Red Eagle Limestone. Series/epoch names Wolfcampian, Leonardian, and Guadalupian are retained and usage of Gearyan, Cimarronian, and Custerian is abandoned. The repositioned Carboniferous-Permian boundary divides the Council Grove Group into Carboniferous (Upper Pennsylvanian Series/Epoch; Virgilian Stage/Age) and Permian (Wolfcampian Series/Epoch) segments.

Reference
Sawin, R.S., Franseen, E.K., West, R.R., Ludvigson, G.A., and Watney, W.L., 2008, Clarification and Changes in Permian Stratigraphic Nomenclature in Kansas; in, Current Research in Earth Sciences: Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 254, part 2.
http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Current/2008/Sawin/index.html
Online chart highlighting changes

Carboniferous

Abstract

A new classification for the Carboniferous System/Period is formally adopted by the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS), and Zeller (1968) is modified accordingly. The Carboniferous is the system/period between the Devonian and Permian, and the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian are subsystems/subperiods of the Carboniferous. The Mississippian is subdivided into Lower, Middle, and Upper Mississippian Series and the Pennsylvanian is subdivided into Lower, Middle, and Upper Pennsylvanian Series. Regional stage names remain unchanged.

Reference
Sawin, R.S., Franseen, E.K., Watney, W.L., West, R.R., and Ludvigson, G.A., 2009, New Stratigraphic Rank for the Carboniferous, Mississippian, and Pennsylvanian in Kansas; in, Current Research in Earth Sciences: Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 256, part 1.
http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Current/2009/Sawin/index.html

Ogallala/Neogene

Abstract

The member names for the Ogallala Formation (including the Valentine, Ash Hollow, and Kimball) in Kansas of Zeller (1968) are abandoned. The Ogallala Formation in Kansas includes strata of Miocene and earliest Pliocene age, revising earlier correlation to the Pliocene only (Zeller, 1968). The Kansas Geological Survey is abandoning use of the term "Tertiary," to be replaced by the term "Neogene." International stage boundaries for the Neogene have not been established in Kansas.

Reference
Ludvigson, G.A., Sawin, R.S., Franseen, E.K., Watney, W.L., West, R.R., and Smith, J.J, 2009, A Review of the Stratigraphy of the Ogallala Formation and Revision of Neogene ("Tertiary") Nomenclature in Kansas; in, Current Research in Earth Sciences: Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 256, part 2.
http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Current/2009/Ludvigson/index.html

Stratigraphic Issues Under Review

Quaternary System

Pennsylvanian Subsystem