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The Pennsylvanian epicontinental sea periodically covered much of Mid-Continent North America during Missourian time, burying local siliciclastic source areas in Kansas--such as the Nemaha uplift and Central Kansas uplift--with carbonate sediments. During regressive depositional phases in the Missourian (Late Pennsylvanian), siliciclastic sediments were transported into Kansas mainly from the southeast.
The five members of the latest Missourian Stanton Formation (in ascending order: Captain Creek Limestone, Eudora Shale, Stoner Limestone, Rock Lake Shale, and South Bend Limestone), form a transgressive-regressive-transgressive sequence, in which the black phosphatic shale of the Eudora Member represents maximum transgression and the sandy Rock Lake shale represents maximum regression.
In southernmost Kansas, the regressive Stoner Limestone Member grades into a siliciclastic sequence, most of which is assigned to the Rock Lake Shale Member. Detailed study of surface and subsurface data from these siliciclastics show that deltaic systems prograded into the cratonic sea from Ouachita sources. Analyses of texture and sedimentary structures in lithic samples and of geophysical well-log characteristics indicate that early during Stanton regressive deposition, a fluvially dominated deltaic lobe complex prograded northwestward across the Oklahoma-Kansas border and initiated Stanton siliciclastic deposition in the detrital-facies belt in southeastern Kansas. This lobe complex was eventually abandoned as the sediment sources shifted northward along the eastern margin of the ea, and a later deltaic lobe complex (represented by the Onion Creek Sandstone) prograded along the southern limit of the carbonate platform (Stoner Limestone Member) to the north.
Textural and compositional characteristics of Stanton siliciclastics indicate that they were derived from preexisting sedimentary rocks. Pennsylvanian plate collisions that formed the Ouachita and Appalachian Mountains resulted in the uplift of early Paleozoic sedimentary rocks. Sediments derived from these rocks were transported northward and westward, particularly during regressive episodes resulting in punctuation of the dominantly carbonate Missourian Series with siliciclastics in southeastern Kansas.
Although very little petroleum has been produced from the siliciclastic portions of the Stanton Formation, similar sedimentary complexes may be more productive. It is hoped that this work may serve as a guide for exploration efforts in this and other complexes in similar tectonic settings.
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