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Fauna of the Drum Limestone of Kansas and Western Missouri

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The Drum limestone is of considerable interest paleontologically because of the sharp contrast which its dominantly molluscan fauna presents to the dominantly molluscoidean faunas of the preceding and succeeding limestones of the Pennsylvanian system of Kansas. In the northern area of its outcrop the upper one-half to two-thirds is oolitic and is like most of the oolitic limestone of North America in that it contains a dwarfed molluscan fauna; while in its southern outcrops, although the limestone is almost entirely oolitic, the fauna is quite robust. This shows that the conditions under which oolites are formed do not necessarily result in dwarfed faunas. Stratigraphically, the Drum is interesting because it is oolitic, at least in part, in most places, and this makes it easier to trace, but its very rapid changes in lithology and in thickness make it more difficult to trace.

In this paper the writer has described and figured the entire known fauna of the Drum and has endeavored to place the correlation of the Drum in its type locality with the Drum of the Kansas City area on a more secure basis stratigraphically and paleontologically; and to explain the conditions of sedimentation which gave rise to the oolitic portions of the Drum.

The collections made by the writer were obtained during 1923-1924 while a member of the faculty and a graduate student at the University of Kansas; and, under the auspices of the State Geological Survey of Kansas, during the summer of 1925. Determinations were made and descriptions written in Walker Museum, at the University of Chicago, during the calendar years 1925-1926. Types are deposited in the Geological Museum at the University of Kansas. Paratypes and representative material are deposited in Walker Museum.


It is a pleasure to acknowledge my indebtedness to Richard Schweers for the loan of his collection of trilobites: to Dr. Carl O. Dunbar for his determination of specimens of fusulinids; to Dr. R. S. Bassler for the opportunity of studying the collections of Pennsylvanian fossils in the U. S. National Museum; and to Arthur W. Slocom for his assistance in the determination of species. My wife has rendered valuable assistance in the preparation of the manuscript. Especially am I under obligation to Dr. R. C. Moore, who lent the University of Kansas collections of Drum fossils from Kansas City and vicinity, and who arranged the means of transportation which has made this work possible. A debt of deepest gratitude is due to the late Dr. Stuart Weller for the kindly assistance he has so freely given at every stage of the work, in the identification of species, in the preparation of descriptions and illustrations, in the comparison with type and other specimens in the Walker Museum collections, and for access to his library and manuscript bibliographies.

Stratigraphic Relations of the Drum Limestone

The most recent work on the stratigraphy of the Pennsylvanian series of Missouri is that of Hinds and Greene (1915, p. 15 et seq.). They define the Kansas City formation as the basal formation of the Missouri group. It is the equivalent of series II of the early Kansas survey (Haworth and Bennett, 1908, p. 69 et seq.), which lies at the base of the Upper Coal Measures of Kansas. As defined, the Kansas City formation comprises nine members, named in order from the bottom as follows: Hertha limestone, equivalent to Haworth's Bethany Falls limestone; Ladore shale; Bethany Falls limestone, equivalent to the Mound Valley limestone of southeastern Kansas; Galesburg shale; Winterset limestone, equivalent to the Dennis limestone of southeastern Kansas; Cherryvale shale; Drum limestone; Chanute shale; Iola limestone.

Resume of Literature Concerning the Drum Limestone

The first geological description of the Drum seems to be that of Haworth and Piatt (1894, p. 115). In 1894 they described the Drum in its type locality, just east of Independence, Kansas, and named it the Independence limestone. They gave it formational rank, erroneously correlating it with the Oswego limestone.

Later (1898, p. 48) Haworth again described the limestone and again used the designation "Independence limestone."

In 1900 Beede described and figured part (Foraminifera to Pelecypoda) of the more common invertebrate fossils of the Pennsylvanian rocks of Kansas. These forms were largely from the northeastern part of the state and included a number of species from the Drum of the Kansas City area.

Adams (1903, p. 37) proposed the name "Drum" for the limestone occurring so abundantly along Drum creek and in the vicinity of Independence. He pointed out the fact that the name "Independence" was preoccupied by the Independence shale of Iowa (Calvin, 1878). He also gives an incomplete faunal list of the Drum and correlates it with the Erie limestone.

In 1906 Schrader and Haworth (p. 14) consider the Drum of southeastern Kansas as a separate formation and state that at Independence it is a single heavy limestone member, but that it divides toward the south into three members. Again in 1908 Schrader (p. 2), in the Independence folio, describes the Drum and enlarges somewhat on his previous statements.

In 1908 Siebenthal (p. 195) states: "The Drum limestone outcrops with a thickness of 22 feet on the point of the. ridge at the state line 3 miles southwest of Coffeyville, Kan., and extends westward adjacent to the state line for about 4 miles to a point where it thins out and disappears. It does not outcrop at a corresponding elevation on the south side of Opossum creek and was not identified elsewhere."

In the same year Haworth and Bennett (1908, p. 96) considered the Drum as a separate formation and stated that although it had not been traced in detail to Kansas City, there is little doubt but that it is the equivalent of one of the limestones in the bluffs around Kansas City, and, on the basis of faunal evidence supplied by Beede, it appeared to be the same as the "Kansas City oolite." In the same report Beede and Rogers (1908, p. 340) consider the Drum as a separate stage of their Series II, and remark that this is the most strongly marked stage in the Kansas Coal Measures, being characterized by the invasion of an oolitic fauna so different in its general make-up that it forms a distinct and important chapter in the Coal Measures history of the state. They note especially the presence of a molluscan fauna and the apparent incongruity of the genus Pseudomonotis with Pennsylvanian forms. A faunal list is given.

In 1915 Hinds and Greene (p. 107-164) defined the Missouri group and the Kansas City formation, and gave a series of sections purporting to show that the Drum of the Kansas City area was traceable to the Missouri-Iowa boundary line. They also state that the Drum of northern Missouri may prove to be the same as the DeKalb of Iowa, as it agrees with that member lithologically and faunally.

In the same report Girty (1915, p. 278) makes a faunal study of the Pennsylvanian rocks of Missouri. This study includes a number of new species and a faunal list of the Drum based on one collection from Kansas City. He notes that the decidedly molluscan fauna from the Drum in Kansas City is a dwarf fauna, while that from the Drum in its type locality is robust. Girty regards the Drum as merely a member of the Kansas City formation, and not as a separate formation.

McCourt, in 1917 (p. 52), describes the Drum in some detail in Jackson county, Missouri, and gives a faunal list, prepared by Bennett, of over one hundred species.

In 1920 Tilton (pp. 230-231) takes exception to the use of the term "Drum" as applied by Hinds and Greene in the report cited above. He says that Bain (1897, p. 278) had used the term De Kalb in Iowa for a member which is the same as the Drum of northern Missouri six years before Adams named the Drum limestones in southeastern Kansas, and that the Drum limestone of northern Missouri should, therefore, be called the De Kalb limestone.

In a tentative correlation of the formations of Oklahoma, eastern Texas and southeastern Kansas, 1925, the U. S. Geological Survey correlates the Drum of southeastern Kansas with the Dewey limestone, the Nellie Bly shale and the Hogshooter limestone of Oklahoma.

Detailed Description of the Drum Limestone

In its type locality, along Drum creek, just east of Independence, Kan., the Drum consists of a single member of rather pure oolitic limestone (90 to 95 per cent calcium carbonate), and is strongly cross-bedded and quite fossiliferous. It has a thickness of about 80 feet just east of the Atlas Portland cement quarry, where Rock creek enters the Verdigris river. The fresh surface of the limestone shows a dark buff color, while the weathered surface is nearly white. Toward the south the limestone thins rapidly and is found five miles southwest of Coffeyville, Kan., as a very thin limestone conglomerate, which becomes lost in the sandy formations above and below, a few miles south of the Oklahoma-Kansas line. Here the Drum lies well above the Hogshooter and the Nellie Bly. It may possibly be the equivalent of the Dewey limestone, but is certainly not the direct continuation of it, for the Dewey has none of the oolitic character of the Drum, nor does it contain a fauna at all similar to that of the Drum.

Northeast of Independence the Drum becomes thinner and increasingly arenaceous. It forms the resistant caps of the hills in the vicinity of Cherryvale and Morehead, where it is 5 to 12 feet thick, the thickness being reduced somewhat by erosion in places. East of Thayer its thickness is about 18 inches, and it is lost between the sandy layers of the Chanute and Cherryvale shales a little southeast of Chanute.

The writer endeavored to trace the Drum northward to Kansas City, but was unable to do so because of the poor exposures. The Drum is not, in most places, a resistant formation, and as it is overlain by the scarp-forming Iola limestone, the Drum occupies the gentle slopes or occurs in the valleys, and is, therefore, generally covered by residual soil. However, outcrops of the Drum were found at several places between Chanute, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. It occurs along Big creek, 4 1/2 miles west-southwest of Elsmore, Kan., with a thickness of 8 feet, the top being covered. Again, 2 miles northeast of Elsmore, it occurs overlying 1 foot of hard, dense, massive, blue limestone, which is, in turn, underlain by a buff-colored limy shale 15 feet in thickness. Four miles northeast of Bronson, Kan., it outcrops in the bottom of a small creek, and is a white, porous, oolitic limestone.

On the Marais des Cygnes river, 5 miles south-southwest of Paola, Kan., a very strongly cross-bedded, oolitic limestone more than 15 feet in thickness is found. This may be the Drum, but its lack of fossils makes its identification doubtful.

From this point northward no trace of the Drum is found until the vicinity of Kansas City is reached. It is well exposed about 1 mile south of Turner, Kan., along the Union Pacific railroad tracks from Muncie to Kansas City, Kan., and again in the bluffs at Kansas City, Mo. Here it is overlain by the Chanute shale and underlain by the Cherryvale shale, and consists of three members: a lower, compact, resistant limestone, 3 to 5 feet thick, and known to the quarrymen as the bull-ledge; an upper, oolitic limestone member, quite fossiliferous, light gray in color, varying from 6 to 20 feet in thickness, and strongly cross-bedded; and an intervening shale, rarely more than a few inches thick.

Southward from Kansas City, Mo., the Drum becomes thinner and loses its oolitic character. Northward it becomes thinner and loses much of its oolitic character. There may be some question as to the continuation of the Drum from Kansas City to the Iowa boundary. Its rapid variation elsewhere suggests that it does not continue. The fauna of the De Kalb of Iowa and of the so-called Drum of northern Missouri are said to be similar, but the fauna of the De Kalb of Iowa is certainly quite distinct from that of the Drum of the Kansas City area, being composed principally of brachiopods, while even the commonest of the mollusks found in the Drum are not listed as occurring in the De. Kalb. This seems to indicate that the De Kalb is not the equivalent of the Drum of the Kansas City area.

The Drum Fauna

The Drum fauna in the type locality is generally robust, while that of the Drum of the Kansas City area is essentially a dwarf fauna, although some forms attain large size. Otherwise the faunas of the two areas are similar, with the exception of the gastropod elements, which appear less abundant in the south. The collections from the Kansas City area are the more complete and represent more fully the life of the sea in which the Drum was laid down, because it has been a favorite collecting ground for many years of a number of collectors. These collections have been studied by the present writer along with collections made by him in the field.

In the identification of species it has been thought advisable to identify dwarf forms (especially the gastropods) with established normal-sized forms whenever possible, even though the small size with an equal or greater number of whorls would ordinarily constitute sufficient grounds for specific separation. The fauna consists of 70 genera and 131 species, of which 33 are described for the first time and 4 are referred to genera without specific identification because of their poor preservation.

The fauna is composed of the following forms: Protozoa, 1 genus and 1 species; corals, 2 genera and 2 species; vermes, 1 genus and 1 species; crinoids, 2 genera and 2 species; echinoids, 1 genus and 1 species; bryozoans, 7 genera and 9 species; brachiopods, 12 genera and 16 species; pelecypods, 23 genera and 40 species; gastropods, 22 genera and 47 species; cephalopods, 8 genera and 11 species; trilobites, 1 genus and 1 species: This shows a ratio of molluscs to molluscoids of more than three to one.

The following species are described for the first time: Bryozoans, Fenestella moorei, Rhabdomeson kansasense; brachiopods, Productus missouriensis, Dielasma ventricosa; pelecypods, Edmondia? kansasensis, Nucula triangularia, Pteria welleri, Parallelodon kansasensis, Pseudomonotis spinosa, Myalina? slocomi, Schizodus trigonalis, Lithophaga subelliptica, Pleurophorus turnerensis, P. attenuatus; gastropods, Pleurotomaria bilineata, P. fisheri, P. lineata, P. kansasensis, Ptychomphalus laudenslageri, Murchisonia matheri, Phanerotrema ornatum, Goniospira heliciformis, Microdoma ornatus, Naticopsis minuta, Hemizyga? cancellata, Orthonema liratum, Bulimorpha meeki, B. turnerensis, Trachydomia pustulosa, Aclisina breva, A. parallela; cephalopods, Orthoceras kansasense, Metacoceras cavatiforme var. angulatum.

Besides these, twenty or more species have been found in no other Pennsylvanian limestone of Kansas except the Drum. They are: Fenestella mimica?, Leda bellistriata, Pseudomonotis robusta, Limatula fasciculata, Bucanopsis tenuilineata, B. textiliformis, Pleurotomaria granulostriata, P. beckwithana, P. subsinuata, P. subconstricta, Strophostylus peoriensis, Naticopsis pricii, N. scintilla, Zygopleura nana, Z. teres, Z. attenuata, Sphaerodoma paludinaeformis, Soleniscus typicus, Aclisina swalloviana, Orthoceras occidentale, Gonioloboceras parrishi, G. goniolobum, and Schistoceras missouriense.

The species appearing here for the first time in the Pennsylvanian rocks of Kansas are: Tabulipora heteropora, Edmondia nebrascensis, Yoldia glabra, Pseudomonotis hawni, P. equistriata, Monopteria marian, Aviculopecten sculptilis, Streblopteria tenuilineata, Pleurophorus subcostatus, Cypricardinia carbonaria, Bellerophon stevensianus, Patellostium marcouianum, Orestes intertexta, Pleurotomaria subconstricta, Naticopsis monilifera, Sphaerodoma primigenius, Ephippioceras divisum, and Metacoceras cavatiforme.

Six species here make their last appearance so far as observed in the Pennsylvanian rocks of Kansas. They are Worthenia speciosa, Zygopleura plicata, Z. multicostata, Bulimorpha chrysalis, Sphaerodoma fusiformis, and Aclisina stevensiana.

Lithophaga subelliptica, Pleurophorus attenuatus, and Pteria welleri recall some of the forms found in the oolitic limestones of the Chester series. The Pseudomonoti form a bond with the Permian, four of the species of that genus appearing in the Drum limestone.

It is readily seen that every important group of the invertebrates is represented in the Drum and, as pointed out above, the gastropods and the pelecypods are much more abundant here than in any of the other limestone members of the Pennsylvanian system of Kansas. This abundance of mollusks, however, is probably due to the conditions under which the limestone was formed rather than to a distinct invasion from some other region.

Conditions of Deposition

In order to understand the conditions under which oolitic limestones are formed, it is necessary to know the conditions under which present-day oolites are forming. Vaughan (1914, p. 49-54) in studying the oolites of the Bahamas and Florida, states that in the shoal waters of this region denitrifying bacteria are causing the precipitation of great quantities of calcareous muds and oozes which are composed almost entirely of either calcite or aragonite; and that oolites are forming either as concentric rings about some foreign material, such as a grain of sand, or by accretion in the muds. The newly formed oolites are soft and easily crushed. He states, further, that all marine, originally calcareous oolites, whether recent or ancient, were formed in calcareous oozes or muds precipitated by chemical action in warm, shallow seas.

There can be no doubt that the Drum is marine and that it was originally calcareous, for its fauna is a marine fauna, and there is no sign of replacement of any other material, such as silica, by calcium carbonate. Obviously the mud bottoms would be ideal for the existence of a strongly molluscan fauna, but at the same time, in deeper, clearer waters, a dominantly molluscoidean fauna might exist. So that the presence of a strongly molluscan fauna does not, necessarily, indicate the invasion of an alien fauna, as was suggested by Beede.

In shallow waters the movements at the surface cause the motion to be transmitted downward, and movement takes place in the materials at the bottom. Thus we should expect the oolitic limestone to be more or less cross-bedded. In general, cross-bedding implies much wearing of the shells which may be in the rock, but in the oolite, the oolite grains are as soft or softer than the shells and, therefore, very little wearing is shown by the shells. Only the more fragile forms in the Drum are broken, and the ornamentation is very distinct in many cases, showing that little wearing has taken place.

The oolites are generally composed of concentric lamellae of calcium carbonate formed around a grain of sand, but many of them are calcium carbonate throughout. Very often the slower moving or sessile forms of shells are coated with calcium carbonate on the outside, but not coated on the inside, indicating that the shell became coated during the life of the animal. This, also, would be expected to happen in the calcareous muds in which the oolites were forming.

Finally, if the place of deposition of the oolites is near a low-lying land mass, very little detritus will enter the, sea and the resulting limestone will be nearly pure calcium carbonate. If, on the other hand, it is close to a high land mass or near the mouth of a river, considerable detritus will enter the sea and the resulting limestone will be impure. Obviously the impurity will increase as the proximity is greater to the source of land detritus, the detritus may entirely displace the calcareous muds, and the result will be the formation of a sandstone or shale. Thus, where the Drum is quite pure, it seems probable that adjacent land, if present, was low-lying during the time of its deposition; where it is impure, the adjacent land mass was high or there was a stream close by. It appears that during the deposition of the Drum the Kansas City area and the Drum Creek area were close to low-lying land masses, while the areas both north and south of these points were either close to higher lands or marked the entrance of streams into the sea.

From the foregoing statements, it is readily seen that the conditions in Kansas during the deposition of the Drum were somewhat similar to those in Florida at the present time. The climate was probably subtropical and, at least in places, the land was low-lying.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web Dec. 27, 2017; originally published June 15, 1930.
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