Wiley Coal Member (abandoned)

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Lithostratigraphy: Carbondale Formation >>Wiley 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. 191) referred to the “Wiley cyclical formation” and “Wiley coal” in Fulton County, Illinois. Kosanke et al. (1960) formally designated the Wiley Coal as a member of the Spoon Formation in western Illinois.


The name refers to Wiley School, which formerly stood east of Spoon River, about 15 mi (24 km) west of Canton. A school roster from 1907 (http://www.illinoisancestors.org/fulton/Schools/wiley_school.html) indicates that Anna B. Switzer taught a class of 51 pupils, ranging from the first through the eighth grade.

Other names

There is none of record.

Type section

Type location

The section is in a ravine near the site of Wiley School (SW¼ NW¼ sec. 16, T 7 N, R 2 E).

Type author(s)

Wanless (1957, p. 79, 206).

Type status


Reference section


Stratigraphic relationships

Wanless (1939, p. 14, 27, 108) first correlated the Wiley Coal with the Davis Coal. All subsequent authors who addressed the subject (Wanless 1956, 1957, 1962; Kosanke et al. 1960; Willman et al. 1975) carried this correlation forward, and it has not been challenged. This correlation was based on the stratigraphic position of coal in the third cyclothem beneath the Colchester Coal (Figure 4-9). Wanless did not raise the point that at some outcrops in western Illinois, the Wiley Coal is overlain by black, hard, laminated or fissile shale that is evidently the Will Scarlet Shale Member, newly named herein. Moreover, Kosanke (1950) and Peppers (1970, 1996) correlated the Davis with the Wiley (and the Greenbush with the Dekoven) on the basis of fossil spores.

The name Wiley Coal has cropped up in a few older reports on Iowa geology (e.g., Landis 1965) but is no longer used in Iowa (Pope 2012) or in Missouri (Gentile and Thompson 2004). With the identity of the Davis and Wiley Coals solidly established, there is no need to continue using two names for the same member. Because Davis has priority, the name Wiley Coal Member is hereby abandoned.


  • Gentile, R.J., and T.L. Thompson, 2004, Paleozoic succession in Missouri, Part 5, Pennsylvanian Subsystem, Volume A, Morrowan strata through Cherokee Group: Missouri Geological Survey, Report of Investigations 70, 241 p. and correlation chart.
  • Kosanke, R.M., 1950, Pennsylvanian spores of Illinois and their use in correlation: Illinois State Geological Survey, Bulletin 74, 128 p., 2 pls.
  • 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.
  • Landis, E.R., 1965, Coal resources of Iowa: Iowa Geological Survey, Technical Paper 4, 141 p., 1 pl.
  • Peppers, R.A., 1970, Correlation and palynology of coals in the Carbondale and Spoon Formations (Pennsylvanian) of the northeastern part of the Illinois Basin: Illinois State Geological Survey, Bulletin 93, 173 p.
  • Peppers, R.A., 1996, Palynological correlation of major Pennsylvanian (Middle and Upper Carboniferous) chronostratigraphic boundaries in the Illinois and other coal basins: Geological Society of America, Memoir 188, 111 p. and correlation chart.
  • Pope, J.P., 2012, Description of Pennsylvanian units, revision of stratigraphic nomenclature, and reclassification of the Morrowan, Atokan, Desmoinesian, Missourian, and Virgilian stages in Iowa: Iowa Geological and Water Survey, Special Report Series No. 5, 140 p.
  • 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.
  • Wanless, H.R., 1962, Pennsylvanian rocks of Eastern Interior Basin, in C.C. Branson, ed., Pennsylvanian System in the United States, a symposium: Tulsa, Oklahoma, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, p. 4–59.
  • Willman, H.B., E. Atherton, T.C. Buschbach, C. Collinson, J.C. Frye, M.E. Hopkins, J.A. Lineback, and J.A. Simon, 1975, Handbook of Illinois stratigraphy: Illinois State Geological Survey, Bulletin 95, 261 p.

ISGS Codes

Stratigraphic Code Geo Unit Designation