Spoon Formation

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Lithostratigraphy: Kewanee Group >>Spoon Formation
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 Spoon Formation of the Kewanee Group (Kosanke et al., 1960, p. 32, 45).


Named for the Spoon River, Fulton County.

Other names


Type section

Type location

The type section, which is in a roadcut and a railroad cut (NE SE 22, 6N-1E), is about a quarter mile west of the Spoon River.

Type author(s)

Type status

Reference section

Reference location

Reference author(s)

Reference status

Stratigraphic relationships

The formation consists of strata from the top of the Bernadotte Sandstone of western Illinois or the Murray Bluff Sandstone of southern Illinois to the base of the Colchester (No. 2) Coal (fig. P-2), rocks formerly included in the upper part of the Tradewater Group.

Extent and thickness

The Spoon Formation is present throughout most of the area in which Pennsylvanian strata occur. It is as much as 350 feet thick in southern Illinois but ranges from a few feet to less than 100 feet in northern and western Illinois.


The formation is characterized by less sandstone and more coal and limestone than the Abbott Formation below and by less limestone and coal than the Carbondale Formation above. Sandstones are well developed in both elongate and sheet facies but do not constitute as much of the total section as they do in the lower formations. The sandstones show the general upward increase in the amount of argillaceous matrix and mica flakes that began in the sandstones in the Abbott Formation, from which they differ only slightly. The formation contains the first widespread limestones and coals, but they are thinner than those in the younger Pennsylvanian of Illinois. The coals of the Spoon are thicker and more extensive than those of the lower formations.




Well log characteristics


Age and correlation

The Spoon Formation correlates with the upper part of the Tradewater Formation and the lower part of the Carbondale Formation in western Kentucky and the very uppermost part of the Brazil Formation, all the Staunton Formation, and the lower part of the Linton Formation in Indiana.

Environments of deposition

Economic importance

“Bellair 500”, “Bridgeport”, “Browning”, “Claypool”, “lower Dudley”, “Isabel”, “Kickapoo”, “Petro”, “Robinson”, “2nd or lower Siggins” and “Wilson” are informal names applied to producing zones in the Spoon Formation.



KOSANKE, R. M., J. A. SIMON, H. R. WANLESS, and H. B. WILLMAN, 1960, Classification of the Pennsylvanian strata of Illinois: Illinois State Geological Survey Report of Investigations 214, 84 p.

ISGS Codes

Stratigraphic Code Geo Unit Designation