USDA Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



Published in PLoS ONE (October 2012) 7(10): 1-11. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047759


Based on geologic mapping, measured sections, and lithologic correlations, the local features of the upper and lower type areas of the Early Arikareean (30.8–20.6 million years ago) Sharps Formation are revised and correlated. The Sharps Formation above the basal Rockyford Member is divided into two members of distinct lithotypes. The upper 233 feet of massive siltstones and sandy siltstones is named the Gooseneck Road Member. The middle member, 161 feet of eolian volcaniclastic siltstones with fluvially reworked volcaniclastic lenses and sandy siltstone sheets, is named the Wolff Camp Member. An ashey zone at the base of the Sharps Formation is described and defined as the Rockyford Ash Zone (RAZ) in the same stratigraphic position as the Nonpareil Ash Zone (NPAZ) in Nebraska. Widespread marker beds of fresh water limestones at 130 feet above the base of the Sharps Formation and a widespread reddish-brown clayey siltstone at 165 feet above the base of the Sharps Formation are described. The Brown Siltstone Beds of Nebraska are shown to be a southern correlative of the Wolff Camp Member and the Rockyford Member of the Sharps Formation. Early attempts to correlate strata in the Great Plains were slow in developing. Recognition of the implications of the paleomagnetic and lithologic correlations of this paper will provide an added datum assisting researchers in future biostratigraphic studies. Based on similar lithologies, the Sharps Formation, currently assigned to the Arikaree Group, should be reassigned to the White River Group.