Wise Lake Formation

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Lithostratigraphy: Ottawa Limestone Megagroup >>Galena Group >>Kimmswick Subgroup >>Wise Lake 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

Wise Lake Formation (Templeton and Willman, 1963, p. 125).


The Wise Lake Formation is named for Wise Lake, a lake on the Mississippi River floodplain near the type section.

Other names


Type section

Type location

The type section of the Wise Lake Formation is at the north end of a prominent bluff, 6 miles south of Galena, Jo Daviess County (cen. NE 21, 27N-1E), where the formation is 70.9 feet thick.

Type author(s)

Type status

Reference section

Reference location

Reference author(s)

Reference status

Stratigraphic relationships

Extent and thickness

The Wise Lake Formation, persistently 67-75 feet thick, occurs throughout the northern outcrop area (fig. O-2B, C) and southward in subsurface to the central part of the state, where it is sharply truncated by Cincinnatian strata.


The Wise Lake Formation consists of relatively pure dolomite and limestone overlying the cherty Dunleith Formation and underlying the shaly Dubuque Formation. The Wise Lake consists of noncherty, medium- to thick-bedded, vuggy, pure dolomite in the northern outcrop area. The southern limestone facies is not exposed in Illinois, but in outcrops near New London, in Ralls County, Missouri, it is thick-bedded, fine-grained, to lithographic, pure limestone. The Wise Lake is subdivided into two members; the basal Sinsinawa Member is thinner bedded and slightly less pure than the Stewartville above it. The Wise Lake Formation is the purest of the carbonate formations in the Galena Group and is equivalent and lithologically similar to relatively pure formations throughout much of the continent.




Well log characteristics


Receptaculites oweni (fig. O-5) is abundant and persistently present in the lower 10-15 feet of the Stewartville Member of the Wise Lake Formation, called the Upper Receptaculites Zone, and is associated with a gastropod-cephalopod fauna. Maclurites cuneata and Hormatoma major (fig. O-5) are common in some localities. The Sinsinawa Member of the Wise Lake Formation is less fossiliferous but contains gastropods and, in places, a few Receptaculites.

Age and correlation

The Wise Lake Formation consists of strata formerly included in the Stewartville Formation and in the upper part of the Prosser Formation in the Upper Mississippi Valley. It is equivalent to the Steuben Member of the Cobourg Limestone in New York and Ontario, the upper part of the Lexington Limestone in Kentucky, and the upper part of the Bigby-Cannon Formation in Tennessee.

Environments of deposition

The Wise Lake is thought to represent the greatest submergence of the continent during Paleozoic time.

Economic importance



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