Owl Creek Formation

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Lithostratigraphy: Embayment Megagroup >>Owl Creek Formation
Chronostratigraphy: Mesozoic Erathem >>Cretaceous System >>Gulfian Series

Primary source

Willman, H. B., Elwood Atherton, T. C. Buschbach, Charles Collinson, John C. Frye, M. E. Hopkins, Jerry A. Lineback, and Jack A. Simon, 1975, Handbook of Illinois Stratigraphy: Illinois State Geological Survey Bulletin 95, 261 p.

Contributing author(s)

H. B. Willman and John C. Frye


Original description

The Owl Creek Formation (Hilgard, 1860).


Named for exposures along Owl Creek, 3 miles northeast of Ripley, Tippah County, Mississippi.

Other names


Type section

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Reference section

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Stratigraphic relationships

The Owl Creek is the uppermost Cretaceous Formation in southern Illinois. The Owl Creek overlies the McNairy Formation Formation conformably. A weathered zone at its top, marked by concentrations of hematitic nodules and a sharp upper contact, indicates an unconformity that separates the Owl Creek from the overlying Tertiary Clayton Formation.

Extent and thickness

The Owl Creek Formation is exposed in Illinois only in Pulaski County along the Ohio River near U.S. Dam 53 (SE NW NE 13, 15S-1E) and along the Cache River near Unity (NE 7, S 1/2 6, 16S-1W) (Pryor and Ross, 1962). It is 0-10 feet thick.


It consists of glauconitic, very micaceous, sandy, silty clay and silt.




Well log characteristics


Age and correlation

Environments of deposition

The Owl Creek indicates a brief advance of the sea over the McNairy delta.

Economic importance



HILGARD, E. W., 1860, Report on the geology and agriculture of the State of Mississippi: Jackson, Mississippi, p.79. 84-91, 102.
PRYOR, W. A., and C. A. ROSS, 1962, Geology of the Illinois parts of the Cairo, La Center, and Thebes Quadrangles: Illinois State Geological Survey Circular 332, 39 p.

ISGS Codes

Stratigraphic Code Geo Unit Designation