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Matthew Massey



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The Upton 7.5-minute quadrangle is located south of Elizabethtown along the boundaries between Hardin, Hart, and Larue Counties and within the Mississippian Plateau physiographic region (McDowell, 1986). Topography is characterized by the low relief Pennyroyal plain that sits at altitudes below about 750 ft above sea level, the ridges, spurs, and isolated knobs of the intensely dissected Dripping Springs escarpment; the low relief cap of the escarpment landforms is part of the Mammoth Cave plateau region. Moore (1972) mapped the bedrock geology of the quadrangle, which was later digitized by Toth (2006). Mississippian bedrock is exposed throughout most of the quadrangle and is cut by several northwest-southeast trending vertical faults. The Ste. Genevieve Limestone is the oldest lithology and underlies most of the Pennyroyal region. The Beaver Bend Limestone and Paoli Limestone, Sample Sandstone, and Reelsville Limestone stratigraphic sequence underlie the remaining areas of the Pennyroyal, as well as the lower slopes of the Dripping Spring escarpment. The Beech Creek Limestone, Big Clifty Sandstone, and Haney Limestone Members of the Golconda Formation are exposed along the upper slopes of the Dripping Springs escarpment the upper plains of the Mammoth Cave plateau. The Upper Mississippian Hardinsburg Limestone is exposed on the highest ridges of the Dripping Springs, and the Pennsylvanian Caseyville Formation is locally exposed around the highest peak in the southern part of the Upton quadrangle. Previously mapped surficial deposits include minor areas of alluvium in major tributaries, and “slumped” areas across the quadrangle (Moore, 1972).

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Upton 7.5-Minute Quadrangle, Hardin County, Larue County, Hart County


This map was generated using new field mapping, sample analysis, elevation data from the Kentucky statewide lidar dataset (5-ft average horizontal spacing), aerial imagery, data compiled from water well logs, oil and gas records, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet geotechnical reports, and landslide inventory mapping from Crawford (2014). Sinkholes in Hardin County were identified using the random forests algorithm by Zhu and Pierskalla (2016). The extent of colluvium was determined using image classification analysis to detect areas exceeding estimated slope stability determined to be approximately 12° by field and geotechnical evidence. Samples were described by Munsell color and petrography. Grain size analysis was performed on sediment fractions of less than 2 mm with a laser particle analyzer; results were interpreted using methods discussed in Folk (1966), and grain size is reported using the modified Wentworth scale. Samples representative of major map units were analyzed by X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction for bulk chemistry and mineralogy, respectively. Previously published reports by Moore (1972), Arms and others (1979), and Mitchell (1993) were also used for interpretation.

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 Upton 7.5-Minute Quadrangle, Kentucky

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