Researcher ORCID Identifier

Matthew Massey

Emily Morris



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The Big Clifty 7.5-minute quadrangle is located south of Louisville and west of Elizabethtown along the boundary between Hardin and Grayson Counties. The quadrangle lies within the Mammoth Cave plateau of the Mississippian Plateau physiographic region (McDowell, 1986). Topography is characterized by a low relief plain sitting at elevations between 650 to 850 ft above sea level, which is dissected and incised by Rough River, Meeting Creek, Clifty Creek, and their tributaries to below 500 ft. Swadley (1962) mapped the bedrock geology of the quadrangle, which was later digitized by Conley (2002). Mississippian bedrock is exposed throughout the quadrangle and is cut by several vertical faults in the southeast. The oldest bedrock units include the Beaver Bend and Paoli Limestones, Sample Sandstone, and Reelsville Limestone from oldest to youngest, respectively, and are exposed in the lowest sections of river valleys on the west side of the quadrangle. The Golconda Formation (Beech Creek Limestone, Big Clifty Sandstone, and Haney Limestone Members) is primarily exposed along steep slopes of those same river valleys, which lead up to the top of the plateau. The majority of the broad Mammoth Cave plateau is underlain by Hardinsburg Sandstone with local exposures of Glen Dean Limestone and Leitchfield Formation occurring in the southwest corner of the quadrangle. Previously mapped surficial deposits include scattered areas of alluvium in Meeting Creek, Little Meeting Creek, and Clifty Creek (Swadley, 1962).

Publication Date

Winter 12-20-2022



Report Number


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Spatial Coverage

Big Clifty, Hardin County, Grayson County

Funding Information

This map was generated using new field mapping along with compilation of unpublished and previously published data, and was funded in part by the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Cooperative Mapping Program under the STATEMAP program authorized by the National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992, Grant No. G21AC10834, and by the Kentucky Geological Survey.



Surficial Geologic Map of the Big Clifty 7.5-Minute Quadrangle, Kentucky

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