Geologic units in Lyon county, Iowa

Fort Benton Group (Upper Cretaceous, upper Cenomanian-Turonian) at surface, covers 50 % of this area

Interval includes “Graneros” Shale, Greenhorn Formation, Carlile Shale. Primary Lithologies: shale, medium to dark gray, variably silty, calcareous to very calcareous. Secondary lithologies: chalk, marl, argillaceous limestone, with skeletal (inoceramid) packstones; shale, gray, silty, noncalcareous. Minor: siltstone; calcite and siderite concretions. Maximum thickness 265 ft (80 m).

Dakata and Windrow Formations (“Mid” Cretaceous; upper Albian-upper Cenomanian) at surface, covers 46 % of this area

Dakota Formation widespread in western Iowa, lower sandstone-dominated Nishnabotna Member, upper mudstone/shale-dominated Woodbury Member. Correlative Windrow Formation found as erosional outliers in northeastern and north-central Iowa. Primary lithologies: sandstone, quartzose, very fine to medium grained; mudstone/shale, light to dark gray, variably silty-sandy, noncalcareous (Woodbury Mbr.). Secondary lithologies: sandstone, medium to very coarse grained, part pebbly to gravelly, locally cemented by iron oxides (Nishnabotna Mbr., Windrow Fm.), gravel, quartz and chert clasts; siltstone; mudstone, red, pink, yellow-brown, black (carbonaceous). Minor: lignite; siderite (concretions, pedogenic sphaerosiderite pellets, cemented siltstone); massive iron ore, silty to sandy (Windrow Fm.). Maximum thickness Dakota Fm. 500 ft (150 m), commonly 100-300 ft (30-90 m); Windrow Fm. 40 ft (12 m).

Niobrara Formation (Upper Cretaceous; ?Santonian, lower Campanian) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Primary Lithologies: shale, gray, silty, calcareous to marly. Estimated maximum thickness 50 ft (15 m). Present only in Lyon County.

Undifferentiated (Cenomanian to Campanian) at surface, covers 0.9 % of this area

Conglomerate, sandstone, mudstone, shale, marlstone, siltstone, and minor lignite, deposited in marine and non-marine settings; likely Cenomanian to Campanian age. Unit outline is the product of contouring the stratigraphic top and base, from which an isopach grid was created. Because the distribution is patchy, unit boundaries were drawn from the gridded data to represent locations where more than 25 feet (8 meters) of thickness occurs. As a result, many areas outside of the unit boundaries may be overlain by thin Cretaceous strata and the unit is depicted without a contact line.

Sioux Quartzite (Lower Proterozoic) at surface, covers 0.5 % of this area

Crops out in northwestern Lyon County; buried beneath Cretaceous strata to south and east. Primary lithology: quartzite, fine to coarse grained, pink, red, purple (low-grade metamorphic rock). Minor: conglomerate; claystone/argillite, red. Estimated thickness <500 ft (150 m).

Sioux Quartzite (Lower Proterozoic) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Pink and reddish to tan, siliceous, fine- to coarse-grained, iron-stained orthoquartzite with minor metamorphosed conglomerate and mudstone layers. Estimated thickness greater than 1,000 ft (305 m).

Carlile Shale (Upper Cretaceous) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Dark-gray to black, silty to sandy shale with several zones of septarian, fossiliferous, carbonate concretions. Contains up to three sandstone units in the upper portion of the formation and sandy calcareous marl at the base. Thickness up to 330 ft (100 m).

Cretaceous, undifferentiated (Upper to Lower Cretaceous) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Black opaline spiculite, gray to black shale, yellow-brown to gray chalk, gray silty clay, and pink quartz-rich sandstone. Includes the Split Rock Creek Formation and other near-shore facies of the Dakota Formation, Graneros Shale, Greenhorn Formation, Carlile Shale, Niobrara Formation, and Pierre Shale. Thickness up to 400 ft (122 m).

Dakota Formation (Upper to Lower Cretaceous) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Light- to reddish-brown, medium- to coarse-grained quartz and minor feldspar sandstone grading upward to a fine- to medium-grained, quartz and minor feldspar sandstone. Contains a middle, gray silty clay unit, and interbeds of gray to dark-gray shale in the upper portion. Thickness up to 450 ft (137 m).

Graneros Shale (Upper Cretaceous) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Dark-gray, noncalcareous, pyritic, poorly fossiliferous shale, with numerous sandstone layers at the base. Thickness up to 110 ft (36 m).

Greenhorn Formation (Upper Cretaceous) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Gray shale, mudstone, marl, calcarenite, and shaly limestone grading upward into light-gray to tan, alternating marl and thin-bedded, fossiliferous limestone. Thickness up to 40 ft (12 m).