Summum Coal Member (abandoned)

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Lithostratigraphy: Carbondale Formation >>Summum Coal Member
Chronostratigraphy: Paleozoic Erathem >>Pennsylvanian Subsystem >>Desmoinesian Series
Allostratigraphy: Absaroka Sequence

Primary source

Nelson, W.J., P.H. Heckel and J.M. Obrad, 2022, Pennsylvanian Subsystem in Illinois: Illinois State Geological Survey, Bulletin (in press).

Contributing author(s)

W.J. Nelson


Original description

Wanless (1931, p. 186, 192) introduced the name “Summum cyclical formation” for the cycle that includes coal No. 4 in western Illinois. Through time, the name Summum became attached to the coal bed as well as the cyclothem. Kosanke et al. (1960) formalized the name as the Summum Coal member of the Carbondale Formation.


Summum is an unincorporated community in southwestern Fulton County, Illinois. The Summum Coal reaches mineable thickness just north of the village and was strip mined during the middle of the 20th century.

Other names

This unit has been widely known as the No. 4 coal in Illinois, although the bed originally designated as No. 4 by Worthen (1868) probably is the Springfield Coal.

Type section

Type location

Ravine northeast of Summum in NE¼ of sec. 3, T 4 N, R 2 E, Fulton County.

Type author(s)

Wanless (1956) specified the locality; Wanless (1957, geologic section 39, p. 204–205) described the strata.

Type status

The area has been strip mined; no exposures remain.

Reference section


Stratigraphic relationships

Correlation of the Summum Coal in Illinois with the Houchin Creek Coal in Indiana dates back to Wanless (1939). The relationship of the coal with the overlying black, phosphatic Excello Shale and with other older and younger marker beds establishes physical equivalence. Jacobson et al. (1985) confirmed the matchup by using the well-log correlation and palynological analysis of Russel A. Peppers. These authors thus formally abandoned the name “Summum Coal” in favor of the older established name, Houchin Creek.


  • Jacobson, R.J., C.B. Trask, C.H. Ault, D.D. Carr, H.H. Gray, W.A. Hasenmueller, D. Williams, and A.D. Williamson, 1985, Unifying nomenclature of the Pennsylvanian System in the Illinois Basin: Transactions of the Illinois Academy of Science, v. 78, no. 1–2, p. 1–11.
  • 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. and 1 pl.
  • Wanless, H.R., 1931, Pennsylvanian cycles in western Illinois: Illinois State Geological Survey, Bulletin 60, p. 179–193.
  • Wanless, H.R., 1939, Pennsylvanian correlations in the Eastern Interior and Appalachian coal fields: Geological Society of America, Special Paper 17, 130 p.
  • Wanless, H.R., 1956, Classification of the Pennsylvanian rocks of Illinois as of 1956: Illinois State Geological Survey, Circular 217, 14 p.
  • Wanless, H.R., 1957, Geology and mineral resources of the Beardstown, Glasford, Havana, and Vermont Quadrangles: Illinois State Geological Survey, Bulletin 82, 233 p.
  • Worthen, A.H., 1868, Geology and palaeontology: Geological Survey of Illinois, v. 3, 574 p., 20 pls.

ISGS Codes

Stratigraphic Code Geo Unit Designation