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Overview of Paleozoic History and Resulting Aquifers. Regions of the shield in North America. Michigan basin. Illinois basin. Finlay arch Cincinnati arch Lexington dome Nashville dome. Mississippi embayment. Wisconsin arch

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Michigan basin

Illinois basin

Finlay arch

Cincinnati arch

Lexington dome

Nashville dome

Mississippi embayment

Wisconsin arch

Ozark plateau

Transcontinental arch

Appalachian basin

Structural features of the eastern midcontinent

Persistent through the Paleozoic

sauk transgression
Sauk Transgression

Upper Cambrian Facies and Geography


Prairie de Chien Dolomite

St Peter Sandstone

Potsdam SS

Theresa SS

St Francois SS LS

LS in Apps



Taconic Orogeny

End of Sauk Transgression

  • Ordovician. Start of Appalachian orogeny (Taconic, Acadian, Alleghenian) in the east. Taconic orogeny: Clastic wedges in New York, TN/KY. Carbonate platform on craton. Piedmont intrusions, metamorphism and thrusting. Carbonate platform on craton. End of Sauk transgression.
    • Carbonates forming main Ozark Plateau Aquifer
    • Carbonates at the center of Nashville and Lexington domes
    • Prairie de Chien dolomite, Wisconsin, Minnesota
    • Carbonates in Arbuckle Mountains
    • Martinsburg Sandstone in Appalachians

Martinsburg SS in Appalachians


Ozark Plateau



Lexington domes

Carbonate in Arbuckle Mountains



Tippecanoe Transgression

  • Silurian. Reefs form in northern Ohio, western NY and Michigan. Limestone and evaporites in closed basins formed by reefs. Tippecanoe Transgression
    • Niagra Dolomite: Western NY
    • Carbonates in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio
    • Carbonates deposited on continental shelf in western U.S.

Mid-Continent Carbonates

Niagra Dolomite

and other carbonates


Acadian Orogeny

Antler Orogeny

  • Devonian.Acadian orogeny in the east. Clastic wedge in PA, fine-grained sediments form Devonian shale. Few carbonates because of clastic influx. Antler orogeny in the west, Island-arc system, Roberts thrust in Nevada.
    • Sandstones in folded Appalachians
    • Shales form confining units over carbonate aquifers
devonian aquifer systems
Devonian aquifer systems
  • Devonian shale forms confining units in Midwest. Confining mostly carbonate aquifers.
  • Some sandstones in folded Appalachians

Kaskaskia Transgression

  • Mississippian. Last major episode of carbonate deposition in cratonic sea. Kaskaskia Transgression
    • Carbonates on Springfield Plateau (northern Missouri to central Iowa)
    • Carbonates from northern Alabama to central Indiana and Ohio.
    • Madison Limestone in Montana
    • Marshall Sandstone in Michigan basin
madison limestone

Mid-Continent Carbonates



Springfield plateau

Madison limestone



Absaroka Transgression

  • Pennsylvanian. Deltas prograde from NE to SW in NE midcontinent. Deposition of cyclothems (coal). Absaroka Transgression. Clastic wedge
    • Sandstones in Appalachian Plateau
    • Sandstone in Michigan Basin
    • LS and SS in Illinois basin (associated with cyclothems)
    • Sandstone: Ada-Vamosa aquifer in Oklahoma

Ada-Vamosa aquifer


Michigan basin

Illinois basin

Appalachian basin



Absaroka Transgression

Alleghenian orogeny

Sonoma orogeny

  • Permian Alleghenian orogeny in east. Major thrusting (Ouachita to S. Appalachian) and folding with thrusts (Central and Northern Appalachians). Small basins in midwest and southwest. Sonoma orogeny in west. Island-arc system, volcanics and thrusting; Golconda thrust in Nevada. Absaroka transgression continues.
    • Rush Springs Aquifer, Oklahoma
    • SS Central Oklahoma aquifer
    • SS Blaine aquifer, Oklahoma and Texas
    • Carbonate in Roswell Basin, New Mexico
    • Carbonate: Coconino de Chelly aquifer across Colorado Plateau

LS in Roswell Basin

SS Rush Springs, OK

SS in Central OK aq

SS in Blaine aquifer

LS Coconino de Chelly

across CP