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AGS / Geology / Stratigraphy / Main

Extracted with minor revisions from AGS Information Circular 36.

This summary of the stratigraphic section of Arkansas is intended to be a companion document for the Geologic Map of Arkansas (1976, 1993). It offers a brief description of each of the units depicted on the state geologic map. Some stratigraphic units combined on the Geologic Map of Arkansas are treated independently herein. A few units that are not specifically listed on the legend of the state geologic map are treated separately because of their outcrop prominence or importance for stratigraphic understanding. Some units depicted on the Geologic Map of Arkansas are not formal stratigraphic formations, but rather are descriptive references: nevertheless, a brief description is herein provided. Most of these latter units are Quaternary subdivisions that have not yet been studied in detail. Some information contained in this document is at variance with the data presented on the Geologic Map of Arkansas due to more recent observations and interpretations.

Each listing relates the general geology of each unit along with auxiliary information relating to the unit’s age, distribution, original reference, and type locality. The information provided for each formation under the Geology heading consists of a brief statement relating to the dominate lithologies and characteristics of the unit, its fossil fauna, conformity of the lower contact, and thickness on the outcrop. If a unit has well known subdivisions, they are usually treated within this section. The Age of each formation is listed by geologic Period often with some indication of conventional subdivision, such as Early, Middle, and Late, or an Epoch name. The Distribution of each formation is presented with reference to the general area in Arkansas where the unit outcrops. If the unit is known outside of Arkansas, the other states are listed following the information about Arkansas. The Original reference is the citation for the original publication defining the unit. The Type locality information is usually the type area of the formation rather than a specific type locality. Many of these formations were defined before the practice of designating a type locality became a part of proper stratigraphic description.

This document is broken into four sections, which may be accessed by clicking on the links:

Some units are recognized in more than one section of the state and are listed in all sections that apply. The order of the descriptions is the same as the stratigraphic sequence, oldest to youngest. The stratigraphic units (listed herein) that are printed in italics are in dispute.

The information compiled in this document was derived from many sources, both personal and published. Along with the references listed below, Arkansas Geological Survey staff members Doug Hanson, Boyd Haley, Mike Howard, Bill Prior, Charles Stone, and the author provided data from their personal researches into the various regions and strata.

Stratigraphy and the State Geologic Map Simultaneously view the state geologic map and read stratigraphic descriptions here
Correlation Charts of Arkansas Formations
tertiary and quaternary correlation chart cretacreous correlation chart Correlation charts of Arkansas formations.  
Recognized unconformities separating formations are indicated by a stipple pattern. No relative thickness or significance is implied by these charts.
carboniferous correlation chart cambrian, ordovician, silurian and devonian correlation chart  


Berry, E. W., 1915, Erosion Intervals in the Eocene of the Mississippi Embayment: U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 95-F.

Clardy, B. F., 1979, Arkansas Lignite Investigations, Preliminary Report: Arkansas Geological Commission Miscellaneous Publication 15.

Craig, W. W., Wise, O., and McFarland, J. D., 1984, A Guidebook to the Post-St. Peter Ordovician and the Silurian and Devonian Rocks of North-Central Arkansas: Arkansas Geological Commission Guidebook 84-1.

Croneis, C., 1930, Geology of the Arkansas Paleozoic Area: Arkansas Geological Commission Bulletin 3.

Dane, C. H., 1929, Upper Cretaceous Formations of Southwestern Arkansas: Arkansas Geological Commission Bulletin 1.

Gordon, M. Jr., Tracey, J. I., and Ellis, M. W., 1958, Geology of the Arkansas Bauxite Region: U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 299.

Guccione, M. J., Prior, W. L., and Rutledge, E. M., 1986, The Tertiary and Quaternary Geology of Crowley’s Ridge: Arkansas Geological Commission Guidebook 86-4.

Haley, B. R., et al., 1976, 1993 (revised), Geologic Map of Arkansas: Arkansas Geological Commission.

Harris, G. D., 1894, The Tertiary Geology of Southern Arkansas: Annual Report of the Geological Survey of Arkansas for 1892, Volume II.

Hill, R. T., 1888, The Neozoic Geology of Southwestern Arkansas: Annual Report of the Geological Survey of Arkansas for 1888, Volume II.

Keroher, G. C., 1966, Lexicon of Geologic Names of the United States for 1936-1960: U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1200.

Keroher, G. C., 1970, Lexicon of Geologic Names of the United States for 1961-1967: U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1350.

Saucier, R. T., 1994, Geomorphology and Quaternary Geologic History of the Lower Mississippi Valley: U. S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Sutherland, P. K. and Manger, W. L., 1977, Upper Chesterian-Morrowan Stratigraphy and the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian Boundary in Northeastern Oklahoma and Northwestern Arkansas: Oklahoma Geological Survey Guidebook 18.

Sutherland, P. K. and Manger, W. L., 1979, Mississippian-Pennsylvanian Shelf-to-Basin Transition Ozark and Ouachita Regions, Oklahoma and Arkansas: Oklahoma Geological Survey Guidebook 19.

Wilbert, L. J., 1953, The Jacksonian Stage in Southeastern Arkansas: Arkansas Geological Commission Bulletin 19.

Wilmarth, M. G., 1938, Lexicon of Geologic Names of the United States: U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 896.

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