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).
Interval includes Sweetland Creek Shale in southeast Iowa, and “Amana beds” of Iowa County. Lime Creek Fm onlaps eroded Ordovician surface in northwestern Iowa. Primary Lithologies: shale, gray to green-gray, dolomitic to calcareous; limestone, variably argillaceous, fossiliferous, part biostromal; dolomite, variably argillaceous, part fossiliferous. Secondary Lithologies: limestone, dense, “sublithographic” (upper part of carbonate-dominated facies in central and northwestern Iowa); shale, green-gray to brown, silty (Sweetland Creek Shale). Minor: siltstone; chert; oolitic limestone, carbonate breccia (central to northwestern Iowa). Thickness variations in outcrop belt: Sweetland Creek Shale of southeastern Iowa, 3-30 ft (1-9 m); Lime Creek Fm of southeastern to north-central Iowa, 40-200 ft (12-60 m); Lime Creek Fm of northwestern Iowa, 200-350 ft (60-105 m).
Includes Elgin, Clermont, Fort Atkinson, Brainard, and Neda members. Overlain by Silurian strata in east-central Iowa, incised paleovalleys beneath Mosalem Fm.; truncated beneath Devonian strata in northern-most counties. Primary lithologies: shale, green-gray, variably dolomitic, mostly unfossiliferous; dolomite, argillaceous, part shaly, variably fossiliferous (part with common trilobites); dolomite, part argillaceous, part cherty to very cherty (northern Iowa). Secondary lithologies: shale, brown to brown-gray, organic, part graptolitic, part finely laminated (lower strata); dolomitic limestone to limestone, argillaceous, part cherty to very cherty, variably fossiliferous, part crinoidal (northern Iowa); interbedded dolomite and shale, part nodular, part fossiliferous. Minor: phosphorite, granular to massive (basal unit); dolomite, phosphatic to very phosphatic, argillaceous (Elgin Mbr.); ooidal ironstone and red shale (Neda Mbr.); pyrite, finely disseminated to nodular, pyrite cements. Maximum thicknesses: generally 200-275 ft (60-85 m) beneath Silurian, locally 100-200 ft (30-60 m) beneath Mosalem Fm.; 75-180 ft (23-55 m) where capped by Devonian strata in northern Iowa.