Geologic units in Harlan county, Kentucky

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Breathitt Formation, lower part (Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers 63 % of this area

lower part which includes Livingston Conglomerate Member of Lee Formation in eastern Rockcastle County

Breathitt Formation, middle part (Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers 24 % of this area

Breathitt Formation, middle part

Lee Formation (Mississippian to Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers 9 % of this area

Lee Formation

Pennington Formation, Newman Limestone, Fort Payne Chert, Grainger Formation, Sunbury Shale, Berea Sandstone, and Bedford Shale, undivided; Pennington Formation locally includes sandstone tongue of Lee Formation (Devonian to Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Pennington Formation, Newman Limestone, Fort Payne Chert, Grainger Formation, Sunbury Shale, Berea Sandstone, and Bedford Shale, undivided; Pennington Formation locally includes sandstone tongue of Lee Formation

Breathitt Formation, upper part (Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers 0.8 % of this area

Breathitt Formation, upper part

Chattanooga and Ohio Shales, undivided (Devonian to Mississippian) at surface, covers 0.6 % of this area

Chattanooga and Ohio Shales, undivided; along and south of the Pine Fault

Harlan Sandstone (Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Harlan Sandstone (Campbell, 1893) Sandstone, siltstone, shale, and coal. Sandstone, feldspathic, moderately quartzose, argillaceous, medium-gray, fine- to coarse-grained, thin- to thick-bedded, cross-bedded; quartzose sandstone is pebbly, moderately resistant, cliff-forming, and in lenticular bodies at base of formation where it fills channels (Miller, 1969; Miller and Roen, 1973). Sandstone comprises as much as 48 percent of formation. Siltstone and shale, medium- to dark-gray and brown, locally reddish-brown; contains 22 discontinuous coal beds. Miller (1969) changed the name from Harlan Sandstone (Campbell, 1893) to Harlan Formation because of the heterogeneous lithology and defined the base as the top of the High Splint coal bed. It is as much as 650 feet thick in northern Lee and western Wise counties, adjacent to Kentucky; upper part removed by erosion in Virginia (Miller and Roen, 1973; Nolde, Henderson, and Miller, 1988; Nolde, Whitlock, and Lovett, 1988a).

Wise Formation (Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Wise Formation (Campbell, 1893) . Sandstone, siltstone, shale, limestone, coal, and underclay. Sandstone, lithic, feldspathic, micaceous, argillaceous, carbonaceous locally, light- to medium-gray to moderate- and pale-yellow- brown, fine- to coarse-grained, locally pebbly, thin- to thick-bedded, cross-bedded to even-bedded, locally massive, well-cemented; contains fragments of shale, siltstone, and carbonized plant fossils locally. Siltstone and shale, light olive- gray, medium- to dark-gray and grayish-black, contains siderite ironstone in very-thin beds and nodules, carbonized plant fossils; invertebrate fossils in dark-gray to black shale and micrograined limestone in the upper part of formation (Miller, 1969; Miller and Roen, 1973; Nolde, Henderson, and Miller,1988; Nolde, Whitlock, and Lovett, 1988a). Limestone, medium- to dark-gray, micrograined, in very-thin lenses and beds in shale and siltstone in two to three zones in lower part of formation (Taylor, 1989; Whitlock, Lovett, and Diffenbach, 1988). Coal interbedded with shale, siltstone, and sandstone. Underclay, light-gray, root casts, beneath coal; as much as 5 feet thick under the Williamson coal bed in Buchanan County (Henika, 1989b). A dark-gray to brownish-gray, flint clay in the Phillips (Fire Clay; No.7) coal bed in northern Lee County (Miller and Roen, 1973) and western Wise County is a volcanic ash deposit (Seiders, 1965) that covers parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia; it has been dated at an age of 311 - 312 million years (Lyons and others, 1992; Rice and others, 1990). Base of formation at bottom of Dorchester coal bed. Thickness 2150 to 2268 feet.

Norton Formation (Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Norton Formation (Campbell, 1893). Siltstone, shale, sandstone, conglomerate, limestone, and coal. Siltstone and shale, light- to medium-gray, with siderite and claystone concretions, fossiliferous; interbedded with and grades into sandstone. Sandstone, feldspathic, micaceous, argillaceous, light- to medium-gray, very-fine- to coarse-grained, thin- to very-thick-bedded, cross-bedded, locally massive, well-cemented. Conglomerate in thin zones in McClure Sandstone Member (lateral equivalent to part of Bee Rock Sandstone Member of the Lee Formation). Lime stone, medium-gray, micrograined, locally in lenses in two zones above the McClure Sandstone Member (Taylor, 1989; Whitlock, 1989). Coal in several beds and zones. A volcanic ash parting is in the Upper Banner coal bed locally (Diffenbach, 1988, 1989; Evans and Troensegaard, 1991; Henika, 1989a). The base of the Norton is defined as the top of the uppermost quartzarenite of the Lee Formation. On the western side of the coalfield the base of the Norton is at the top of the Bee Rock Sandstone Member of the underlying Lee Formation. However, the Bee Rock grades eastward into feldspathic, conglomeratic sandstone of the McClure Sandstone Member of the Norton. Several underlying Lee quartzarenites successively tongue out or grade into finer-grained clastic rocks to the southeast stratigraphically lowering the base of the Norton. This accounts for the great range in thickness of 500 to 2480 feet for the Norton Formation.

Mississippian Formations Undivided (Mississippian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Pennington Group, Bluefield Formation, Greenbrier Limestone, Maccrady Shale, and Price Formation; includes Newman Limestone, Fort Payne Chert, and Grainger Formation in western Lee County. Refer to individual units for descriptions.

Lee Formation (Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Lee Formation (Campbell, 1893). Quartzarenite, conglomerate, sandstone, shale, siltstone, and coal. Quartzarenite, white, very-light- to light-gray, fine- to coarse-grained, locally conglomeratic, quartz-pebble conglomer te lenses, cross-bed ded, channel-fill deposits. Sandstone, feldspathic, micaceous, light-gray, fine- to medium-grained. Shale and siltstone, medium-dark-gray to dark-gray, interbedded; coal in several beds and zones. The quartzarenites terminate eastward by intertonguing and grading into finer grained and less quartzose rocks (Englund and DeLaney, 1966). Miller and Roen (1973) believe the lower three quartzarenites are Mississippian and intertongue with the Pennington Group. These die out northeastward from southwestern Lee County (Mill er, 1969). The quartzarenites in the upper part of the Lee tongue out or grade into fi ner clastic rocks of the Norton and Pocahontas Formations successively from highest to lowest southeastward (Englund, 1979; Miller, 1974). These quartzarenites consist of five tongues in northern Buchanan County (Lovett and others, 1992); but to the east only the lowest tongue exists (Whitlock, 1989; Nolde, 1989), and that grades eastward into sandstone in the New River Formation in eastern Buchanan, northeastern Russell, and western Tazewell counties. Formerly rocks east of the quartzarenites were considered Lee (Harnsberger, 1919; Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, 1963), but now are designated New River Formation (Englund, 1981) and correlative to the lower part of the Norton Formation. The Lee Formation thickens and truncates progressively older rocks northwestward (Miller, 1974). The intertonguing and unconformable relationship accounts for the great range in thickness for the Lee Formation. It ranges in thickness from 0 in southern Buchanan County (Meissner and Miller, 1981), to 1680 feet in Lee County (Miller and Roen, 1973).

Chemung Formation (redefined as Foreknobs Formation) (Devonian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Chemung Formation (Hall, 1839). Redefined as the Foreknobs Formation (Dennison, 1970). Sandstone and shale, dark-gray and greenish-gray, fine-grained, thin- to thick-bedded, lithic sandstone and interbedded greenish gray, fissile, clay shale. Minor quartz-pebble conglomerate, thin red sandstone, and locally, fossil shell beds. Very thin or absent in southwestern Virginia; thickens to about 2500 feet northeastward in Frederick County. Gradational contact with underlying Brallier Formation and equivalent to part of the Chattanooga Shale to the southwest. Redefined and described as part of the Greenland Gap Group by Dennison (1970).