Murphysboro Coal Member

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Lithostratigraphy: Kewanee Group >>Spoon Formation >>Murphysboro Coal Member
Chronostratigraphy: Paleozoic Erathem >>Pennsylvanian Subsystem >>Desmoinesian Series
Allostratigraphy: Absaroka 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)

M. E. Hopkins and J. A. Simon


Original description

The Murphysboro Coal Member of the Spoon Formation (Worthen, 1868, p. 11- 12).


Named for Murphysboro, Jackson County.

Other names


Type section

Type location

The type locality is in Murphysboro in mines (SE 9, 9S-2W) (Wanless, 1956, p. 9).

Type author(s)

Type status

Reference section

Reference location

Reference author(s)

Reference status

Stratigraphic relationships

In early reports the Murphysboro Coal was correlated with the Colchester (No. 2) Coal, but its position was later found to be lower (Wanless and Weller, 1932), and it is now known to be between the No. 1 and No. 2 Coals.

Extent and thickness

The Murphysboro Coal is well developed only in Jackson County and western Williamson County, where it has been reported to be locally more than 7 feet thick.


In places the Murphysboro occurs in several benches separated by shale (Shaw and Savage, 1912). Mining started in this area around 1810, and the coal was sent to New Orleans in flatboats via the Big Muddy and Mississippi Rivers. Where the Murphysboro Coal is thick it is overlain by 40 or more feet of gray silty shale. In these areas the coal contains much less sulfur than elsewhere and resembles the Herrin (No. 6) and Harrisburg (No. 5) Coals, which also have low-sulfur contents where they have thick roof shales. Where relatively thin, the Murphysboro Coal contains much more sulfur, chiefly in the mineral pyrite.




Well log characteristics


Age and correlation

Environments of deposition

Economic importance



SHAW, E. W., and T. E. SAVAGE, 1912, Murphysboro and Herrin Quadrangles: USGS Geological Atlas Folio 185, 15 p.
WANLESS, H. R., 1929, Geology and mineral resources of the Alexis Quadrangle: Illinois State Geological Survey Bulletin 57, 230 p.
WANLESS, H. R., and J. M. WELLER, 1932, Correlation and extent of Pennsylvanian cyclothems: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 43, p. 1003-1016.
WORTHEN, A. H., 1868, Geology and paleontology: Geological Survey of Illinois, v. 3, 574 p.

ISGS Codes

Stratigraphic Code Geo Unit Designation
Penn symbol.pngtu-m