Meramecian-Chesterian strata of Oklahoma in outcrop and core – a field trip and core workshop


Meramecian, and Chesterian strata are productive in the subsurface of Oklahoma (STACK play and “Meramec” play) and time-equivalent rocks are exposed in northeastern Oklahoma. During this combination field trip and core workshop we will first examine several exposures, mainly within a series of quarries in the Oklahoma portion of the Tri-State Mining District and in central Mayes County, Oklahoma. We will then examine at least 2 subsurface cores.

In the Tri-State Mining District area, the upper Boone Group and represent the continuation of the more familiar depositional systems of the more familiar shallowing-upward prograding wedges of the lower Boone Group. The Ritchey Formation consists of a lower fine-grained (lower energy) phase and an upper coarse-grained (higher energy) phase, which together represent a prograding, shallowing-upward succession similar to that of the Reeds Spring-Bentonville system described by previous workers. Parts of the Ritchey Formation are locally truncated by the sub-Moccasin Bend unconformity. Together, the Moccasin Bend Formation (fine grained and lower energy) and Quapaw Limestone (coarse grained and higher energy) represent a final shallowing-upward succession.

Of the Mayes Group, only the Hindsville Formation (upper Mayes) is present within the Tri-State Mining District and unconformably overlies various parts of the Boone Group. This unconformity, herein termed the sub-Mayes unconformity, is probably correlative to similar unconformities at the base of the Caney Shale and Sycamore Limestone in southern Oklahoma and Barnett Shale in Texas. To the south, the Pryor Creek Formation (lower Mayes) is present between the sub-Mayes unconformity and Hindsville Formation. The Mayes Group consists of a variety of carbonate and fine siliciclastic lithologies and can be divided into multiple orders of cyclicity, from a large-scale transgressive-regressive cycle to meter-scale cyclicity.

Four conodont biozones, including three subzones, have been identified within the outcrop area. Biozone 1 includes the Ritchey Formation and is correlative with strata of the Warsaw Formation of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. Biozone 2 includes the Moccasin Bend Formation and Quapaw Limestone. Biozone 2 is equivalent to the lower St. Louis Limestone. The Pryor Creek Formation includes Biozone 3, which is equivalent to the upper St. Louis Limestone, and Biozones 4L and 4M. The base of Biozone 4L marks the Meramecian-Chesterian boundary. Biozone 4U appears in the Hindsville Formation. These biozones are interpreted within the Barnes Unit D #2 (Major Co., OK), a core with the best-known conodont recovery in the subsurface of Oklahoma.

Maximum Participants

30. Double occupancy rooms.

Thursday Morning

Meet at 7:30 at Hilton Hotel in Wichita. Overview of field trip activities and safety meeting. Distribute field trip guidebook.

Drive from Wichita, Kansas to flanks of Ozark Uplift (Leave at approx. 8:00). We want to leave early because the drive will be 3.5 hours.


Quapaw Quarry (Ottawa Co., OK). Uppermost part of the Moccasin Bend Fm. and Quapaw Lmst. The Quapaw is porous and oil stained. Quapaw and Moccasin Bend fall within the same biozone. Because they represent a shallowing-upward succession they highlight facies control over conodont fauna.


Twin Bridges State Park (Box Lunch) (Ottawa Co., OK). Eat lunch, overview of upper Boone Group strata, and casual look at part of the upper Boone Group. The exposure is along a series of small riverside trails, some of which provide easy access.


Fairland Quarry (Ottawa Co., OK). “Fairland facies” of the Ritchey Fm. (Boone Group) and its unconformable relationship with the Bentonville (Burlington-Keokuk) Fm. and Short Creek Oolite.


Vinita Quarry (Craig Co., OK). Porous and oil-stained Moccasin Bend Fm. (formerly mistaken for Reeds Spring) and the overlying Hindsville Fm. (Mayes Group)


Moccasin Bend Type Locality (Ottawa Co., OK). Overview of Moccasin Bend Fm. and associated upper Boone Group strata. This is a short stop and we will do a quick overview of the strata exposed along the Spring River.


Sycamore Creek (Ottawa Co., OK). Extremely thin Ritchey Formation (~1.5 ft) between Short Creek and Moccasin Bend, as the Ritchey is progressively truncated from north to south by the sub-Moccasin Bend unconformity

Thursday Evening:

Stay at Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn, Pryor, Oklahoma.

Dinner at one of two restaurants adjacent to the hotel. Availability of vans may provide the opportunity for some participants to drive into Pryor for dinner.

Friday Morning:

Meet at 8:45 and drive to Pryor Quarry


Pryor Quarry (Mayes County, OK). This includes multiple stops within the quarry to examine the entire Mayes Group section from the sub-Mayes unconformity (including underlying tripolitic and oil-stained Reeds Spring) through the Fayetteville Shale to the Penn unconformity. View pencil core(s) of interest?


Lunch at JL’s BBQ: Pryor, OK


Ordnance Plant Type Locality (Low Water Dam) (Mayes Co., OK). Overview of the Mayes Group from the sub-Mayes unconformity to the middle Ordnance Plant. The Ordnance Plant here is more shaly than at the Pryor Quarry


Lindsey Bridge Type Locality (Mayes Co., OK). Large-scale cross bedding in the much thicker Lindsey Bridge Member.

Drive to Wichita

Saturday evening:

Refreshments and core viewing

Light refreshments and beer

Review of cores and their relevance to field trip stops