The Upper Ordovician Viola Formation, an important petroleum reservoir in the Midcontinent, is a carbonate unit present over much of the subsurface in Kansas. The Viola is composed of two fining-upward sedimentary packages that are separated from each other by a minor karstic surface representing a brief period of exposure. Each package represents a third-order sedimentary cycle and consists of an echinoderm-rich packstone overlain by a thicker lime mudstone. The echinoderm-rich packstone was deposited nearshore in agitated waters, but subsequently was bioturbated. The overlying lime mudstone was deposited in deeper, quiet waters, and locally contains storm-deposited carbonate sands. Subtle growth of the Central Kansas Arch and Pratt Anticline (structures transecting the depositional shelf) is indicated by packstones and grainstones being thicker over these arches, whereas finer grained lithologies dominate in basinal areas on the arch flanks. Structureless lime mudstones, probably intensely bioturbated, grade into laminated lime mudstones farther basinward.
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Carbonate-shelf depositional environments of the Ordovician Viola formation in South-Central Kansas