Geology and Refractory Clay Deposits of the Haldeman and Wrigley Quadrangles, Kentucky

Bulletin 1122-F

Prepared in cooperation with the Kentucky Geological Survey and the Kentucky Agricultural and Industrial Development Board
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The Haldeman and Wrigley 7th-minute quadrangles are near the western edge of the eastern Kentucky coal field and cover an area of approximately 117 square miles in parts of Carter, Rowan, Elliott, and Morgan Counties, Ky. The rocks exposed in the two quadrangles are of Early and Late Mississippian and Early and Middle Pennsylvanian age. The Mississippian rocks are composed of the thick Brodhead formation, which consists of siltstone and shale, and eleven thin marine limestone and shale formations, having an aggregate thickness of about 150 feet. The Lee and Breathitt formations, of Pennsylvanian age, consist of sandstone, siltstone, and shale; they also contain thin beds of coal and several beds of underclay, including the economically important Olive Hill clay bed of Crider, 1913. Pennsylvanian rocks include beds of both continental and marine origin. The eleven thin Mississippian formations and the upper-most part of the thick Brodhead formation are truncated by a prominent unconformity on which rocks of Pennsylvanian age rest. The rocks occupy a region of gentle dips between the Cincinnati arch and the Appalachian Mountains. Refractory clay deposits are in the Olive Hill clay bed, which occurs in the lower part of the Lee formation. The Olive Hill clay bed is discontinuous and consists of a series of irregularly shaped lenses. The bed is approximately two-thirds semifiint clay and one-third flint clay, and it contains minor amounts of plastic clay. Some of the flint clay is nearly pure kaolinite, but the semi flint and plastic clay consists of mixtures of kaolinite, illite, and mixed-layer clay minerals. The structure of the kaolinite ranges from highly crystalline to very poorly crystalline 'fireclay' type. The degree of crystallinity of the kaolinite and the hardness of the clay vary inversely with the amount of illite and mixed-layer clay minerals present. The nearly pure kaolinite is believed to have formed by the removal of alkalies and some silica fram mixtures of kaolinite, illite, and mixed-layer clays by leaching in swamps to the deposition of the beds overlying the clay. The refractory properties of the clay vary directly with the purity of the kaolinite, and refractoriness decreases as the proportions of illite and mixed-layer clays increase. Certain nonclay minerals, chiefly siderite, pyrite, and iron oxide-bearing minerals, also act as fiuxes, reducing the refractory properties of the clay. The entire resources of clay in the Olive Hill clay bed are roughly and tentatively estimated to include 105,000,000 tons in the Haldeman quadrangle and 175,000,000 tons in the Wrigley quadrangle. Much of this clay is of poor quality and the amount that is better than the minimum requirements for use in refractories is probably about 30,000,000 tons. Only a fraction of this tonnage is suitable for superheat-duty products. Limestone is the only nonmetallic mineral resource other than refractory clay that has been developed in the two quadrangles, but 1arge amounts of shale suitable for use in making lightweight aggregate and structural clay products may also be present. Most of the limestone, which is quarried. in both quadrangles, is used for road-metal, concrete aggregate, and agriculture stone, but some of the limestone is of the quality that would be suitable for other uses. Virtually all the Mississippian Beech Creek limestone of Malott, 1919 which is as much as 18 feet thick, consists of high-calcium limestone. Shale beds that appear most favoralble for making lightweight aggregate are in the shale facies of the Lee formation of Pennsylvanian age. Shale that is probably suitable for structural clay products is present in the shale flacles of the Lee formation and in the Muldraugh formation of Mississippian age. Several dry holes have been drilled in search for oil and gas within the area of the two quadrangles. Though no commercial production was ever attained, one well furnished a supply of gas f

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USGS Numbered Series
Geology and Refractory Clay Deposits of the Haldeman and Wrigley Quadrangles, Kentucky
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Geological Survey (U.S.)
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U.S. Geological Survey
Report: vi, pages F1-F113; 8 Plates - Plate 1: 12 x 10 inches, Plate 2: 27 x 24 inches, Plate 3: 27 x 24 inches, Plate 4: 27 x 13 inches, Plate 5: 28 x 18 inches, Plate 6: 16 x 16 inches, Plate 7: 20 x 16 inches, Plate 8: 20 x 16 inches
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Contributions to Economic Geology (1960)