As part of a multidisciplinary investigation of Mancos Shale landscapes in the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area in Delta and Montrose Counties of western Colorado by the U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation, a core of the Upper Cretaceous Mancos Shale was obtained from a borehole, USGS CL-1, in NE1/4 sec. 8, T. 50 N., R. 9 W. (approximately lat 38.61717 degree(s) N., long 107.90174 degree(s) W.), near the town of Olathe. Geophysical records of the borehole include resistivity, gamma ray, and density logs. The core extends between depths of 20 and 557 ft and is about 2.5 in. in diameter. It is composed of calcareous silty shale, as well as scattered beds of limestone and bentonite which were deposited mainly in offshore marine environments during the Cenomanian, Turonian, and Coniacian Stages of the Cretaceous Series. The strata were sampled and analyzed to obtain geochemical data and to identify constituent fossils.
Stratigraphic units within the Mancos in the core include the following members, in ascending order: Bridge Creek Limestone (part), Fairport, Blue Hill, Juana Lopez, Montezuma Valley, and Niobrara (part). Strata herein assigned to the Bridge Creek Limestone are about 18 ft thick and consist of silty shale that contains ammonites, bivalves, and a coral of Late Cenomanian age. Strata assigned to the Fairport are about 22 ft thick and composed mainly of calcarenite-bearing, calcareous shale. Fossils in this member include ammonites and bivalves of early middle Turonian age. Overlying the Fairport is the Blue Hill Member, which is about 139 ft thick, and consists of glauconitic, shaley siltstone, and less silty shale. The Juana Lopez Member, overlying the Blue Hill, is about 138 ft thick and composed mainly of calcarenitic, silty shale. Beds in this member contain ammonites and bivalves of late middle and early late Turonian ages. Overlying the Juana Lopez is the Montezuma Valley Member, which is about 55 ft thick and consists of calcarenitic, calcareous silty shale. The Montezuma Valley Member contains ammonites and bivalves of late Turonian age. It is overlain by a lower part of the Niobrara Member of the Mancos Shale which is laterally equivalent to the Fort Hays Limestone Member and part of the overlying Smoky Hill Member of the Niobrara Formation at outcrops in central Colorado. Strata in the core comparable to the Fort Hays are about 39 ft thick and include shaley limestone and calcareous shale, which contain lower Coniacian bivalves. Strata in the core equivalent to part of the Smoky Hill are about 126 ft thick and consist mainly of calcareous silty shale which also contains lower Coniacian bivalves.