Dubuque Formation

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Lithostratigraphy: Ottawa Limestone Megagroup >>Galena Group >>Kimmswick Subgroup >>Dubuque Formation
Chronostratigraphy: Paleozoic Erathem >>Ordovician System >>Champlainian Series >>Trentonian Stage
Allostratigraphy: Tippecanoe Sequence

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 T. C. Buschbach


Original description

Dubuque Formation (Sardeson, 1907, p. 193).


The Dubuque Formation is named for Dubuque, Dubuque County, Iowa.

Other names


Type section

Type location

The Dubuque Formation type section is a quarry in Dubuque, east of Columbia College at the top of the West 14th Street hill, where 33 feet of Dubuque, its top eroded, is exposed.

Type author(s)

Type status

Reference section

Reference location

Reference author(s)

Reference status

Stratigraphic relationships

The Dubuque is overlain unconformably by the Maquoketa Group. Although the contact is sharp, there is slight, if any, truncation of the Dubuque in the outcrop area in Illinois.

Extent and thickness

In Illinois the Dubuque Formation occurs only in the northwestern part of the state, where it is 40-45 feet thick (Templeton and Willman, 1963, p. 128). It is truncated by Maquoketa Group strata south of Galesburg in Knox County. It is also absent in subsurface in northeastern Illinois, but equivalent beds may be included in the Wise Lake Formation.


The Dubuque Formation is the shaly dolomite at the top of the Galena Group. The lower 20 feet of the Dubuque Formation grades uniformly from the pure, thick-bedded dolomite of the underlying Wise Lake Formation to shaly dolomite. A 4-inch bed of dolomite set off by relatively strong shale partings occurs 8 feet above the base of the formation and is a widely traceable marker bed. In the upper part of the formation, beds of dolomite 1-6 inches thick that are dense, fine-grained, and argillaceous are interlayered with beds of dolomitic shale 1-8 inches thick. A thin bed of red-brown shale occurs 20 feet below the top. Calcite-filled vugs are common in the upper 2 feet.




Well log characteristics


Paucicrura [Dalmanella], Sowerbyella, Pseudolingula iowensis, and crinoid debris are common in the shaly beds in the upper 15 feet. Some beds contain numerous, minute, brown-red, spore-like forms that are probably algae. The Dubuque is equivalent to the Oxoplecia Zone of early reports.

Age and correlation

The Dubuque Formation is correlated with the Hillier Member at the top of the Cobourg Formation in New York, the Cynthiana Limestone in Kentucky, and the Catheys Formation in Tennessee.

Environments of deposition

Economic importance



SARDESON, F. W., 1907, Galena Series: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 18, p. 179- 194.
TEMPLETON, J. S., and H. B. WILLMAN, 1963, Champlainian Series (Middle Ordovician) in Illinois: Illinois State Geological Survey Bulletin 89, 260 p.

ISGS Codes

Stratigraphic Code Geo Unit Designation