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More than 10,000 m (32,808 ft) of interbedded sandstones and shales comprise the Upper Mississippian and Lower Pennsylvanian flysch succession (Stanley, Jackfork, Johns Valley, Atoka) in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Deposited primarily by turbidity current and hemipelagic processes in bathyal and abyssal water depths, these strata formed major submarine-fan complexes that prograded in a westward direction along the axis of an elongate remnant ocean basin that was associated with the collision and suturing of the North American and African-South American plates.
A longitudinal fan system is visualized as the depositional framework for these strata, which were deposited in a setting analogous to the modern Bengal fan of the Indian Ocean. Facies analysis of the Jackfork formation indicates that inner fan deposits are present in the vicinity of Little Rock, Arkansas; middle fan channel and interchannel deposits occur at DeGray Dam and Friendship, Arkansas; and outer fan depositional-lobe deposits are present in southeastern Oklahoma.
Boulder-bearing units (olistostromes), many with exotic clasts, were shed laterally into the Ouachita basin. They occur throughout the flysch succession and in all fan environments (i.e., inner, middle, and outer). This relationship may serve as a useful criterion for recognizing analogous longitudinal fan systems in the rock record.
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