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Cherokee Rocks, Southeastern Kansas

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Previous Work

Reports that are judged to be of major importance in connection with study of the pre-Marmaton Desmoinesian beds (Cherokee) in southeastern Kansas and adjacent areas are briefly noted in the following paragraphs.

The work of Broadhead (1873-74) in western Missouri counties adjacent to the southeastern Kansas area seemingly contains the first detailed descriptions of the Cherokee succession in the western Missouri-eastern Kansas area. Although Broadhead's work was done in Missouri, his geologic sections in Vernon, Bates, and Barton counties were very useful for later work on strata of equivalent age in southeastern Kansas.

Descriptions of pre-Marmaton Pennsylvanian beds in western Missouri are given also by Winslow (1891).

Earliest specific reference to the southeastern Kansas beds now called the Cherokee group was made by Haworth and Kirk (1894, p. 104-115), who first named and defined the succession as the "Cherokee shales".

Two years later, Haworth and others (1896) published additional information relative to the stratigraphy of these deposits. This included several geologic cross sections (by Bennett, Adams, Kirk, and Haworth) transverse to the outcrop belt, as well as a resume of the stratigraphy of the "Cherokee shales" (by Haworth), and a preliminary catalog of Kansas Carboniferous fossils (by Bennett).

The first comprehensive report on the stratigraphy of these beds in southeastern Kansas was presented by Haworth and Crane (1898, p. 21-30).

A second report on Carboniferous fossils in Kansas was prepared by Beede (1900), who described and illustrated many invertebrates characteristic of these strata, but gave few definite records of their occurrence.

Haworth and others (1908) again summarized the stratigraphy of the Cherokee beds. Included in this report are chapters on Coal-Measures faunas (Beede and Rogers) and floras (Sellards). Animal remains of Cherokee age listed were collected from relatively few localities and beds. The fossil plants came principally from deep mines at Lansing, Leavenworth County, Kansas.

Hinds (1912) published a comprehensive county-by-county study of coal beds of Missouri, including information on stratigraphic and geographic occurrence, and statement of computed reserves of Missouri coal. Numerous detailed sections of the coals and associated strata are included. This report was followed by Hinds and Greene's comprehensive report (1915) on the Pennsylvanian stratigraphy of Missouri; these two reports have constituted standard references for detailed information on Missouri Pennsylvanian deposits.

Ohern (1914) made an important contribution to the general knowledge of the Midcontinent Cherokee in issuing one of the first reports of detailed studies of these strata to be made in northeastern Oklahoma. He named several early Desmoinesian rock units and was the first to note the marked southward thickening of these strata. He was the first to correlate the limestone later called Verdigris in Oklahoma with its equivalent in Kansas and Missouri.

A report on Vernon County, Missouri, by Greene and Pond (1926) is a detailed study of the geology of an area adjacent to that of the present investigation.

Young (1925) outlined the general stratigraphic occurrence of the principal coal beds mined from this succession in southeastern Kansas, and discussed coal-mining practices in the area at the time, with special attention to strip-mining, as his report was primarily economic.

Cooper (1927) summarized information on strata equivalent to the Cherokee lying north and south of Arkansas River in northeastern Oklahoma, discussed correlation with rocks described in Kansas, and called attention to the north-south facies variation developed within the succession.

Weidman (1932) studied the southward extent of the Little Cabin (Warner) sandstone in Oklahoma and described a thin limestone found below the Bluejacket sandstone.

Abernathy (1936), in a doctoral dissertation prepared under direction of the Department of Geology and Geological Survey of the University of Kansas, reviewed the Cherokee succession in southeastern Kansas and developed a classification based on concepts of cyclical sedimentation as developed by Weller (1930a, 1930b), Wanless and Weller (1932), and Moore (1936).

The most important report on the sub-Marmaton Pennsylvanian section of southeastern Kansas is that of Pierce and Courtier (1937). Their study included description of the stratigraphy of the succession in the area of outcrop in Kansas. An excellent geologic map accompanies the report. Numerous collections of invertebrates from the Pennsylvanian in southeastern Kansas are recorded in a separate section prepared by James S. Williams.

Newell (in Wilson and Newell, 1937), in a report on the geology of the Muskogee-Porum district of east-central Oklahoma, discussed southward equivalents of the lower portion of the succession, and more importantly, the northward overlap of Morrowan rocks by Desmoinesian beds.

Information organized by Oakes (1944) in a study of the Broken Arrow coal in northeastern Oklahoma is of importance inasmuch as it describes the succession from the Chelsea sandstone to the base of the Fort Scott formation, basal Marmaton, in Rogers, Wagoner, and Tulsa counties. In this report Oakes correlated the Broken Arrow coal of Oklahoma with the Croweburg coal of Kansas.

The work of Renfro (1947) is a northward extension of that by Wilson and Newell (1937) and covers the Vinita-Wagoner district in eastern Oklahoma.

Howe (1951) redefined the Bluejacket sandstone and noted correlation of several southeastern Kansas coals with equivalents in northeastern Oklahoma; also he described the section between the "Squirrel" sandstone and Breezy Hill limestone in northeastern Oklahoma, proposing names for the included coal and shale units.

Officials of the Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Iowa Geological Surveys held a conference at Nevada, Missouri, on March 31 and April 1, 1953, for the purpose of discussing problems of classifying the pre-Marmaton Desmoinesian rocks in the northern Midcontinent. A short report by Searight and others (1953) outlined conclusions reached at this meeting. Recently published guidebooks for field trips in western Missouri (Searight, 1955) and northeastern Oklahoma (Branson, 1954) Desmoinesian strata utilize this classification and contain much detailed information on the stratigraphy of the Cherokee rocks.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web May 25, 2009; originally published October 1956.
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