Researcher ORCID Identifier

Matthew Massey

Emily Morris



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The Constantine 7.5-minute quadrangle is located west of Elizabethtown along the boundary of Hardin and Breckinridge Counties. The quadrangle lies along the northern section of the Dripping Springs Escarpment, which separates the Mammoth Cave Plateau and Pennyroyal regions of the Mississippian Sinkhole Plain physiographic province (McFarlan, 1943). Topography is mostly characterized by high-elevation plateaus, ridges, and knobs of the Mammoth Cave Plateau (up to 919 ft), which have been intensely dissected by the Rough River and its tributaries (down to 516 ft). A small area of the Pennyroyal extends into the eastern part of the quadrangle, which is marked by a relatively low-relief, low-elevation sinkhole plain. Sable (1964) mapped the bedrock geology of the quadrangle, which was later digitized by Conley (2002). Bedrock throughout the quadrangle is mapped as Upper Mississippian. A series of northeast-trending faults through the southeastern half of the quadrangle (splays from the Rough Creek Fault System) have created a series of horst and graben structures that control bedrock exposure and stream incision. The oldest bedrock lithologic unit mapped is the Ste. Genevieve Limestone, which is overlain by the Paoli Limestone; both are exposed in the Pennyroyal region in the eastern part of the quadrangle and northwest of the fault system. The Mooretown Formation and Beaver Bend Limestone are mostly exposed along steep slopes above the Paoli Limestone; a large area of Mooretown Formation is locally exposed in a broad plain situated northwest of the fault system in the center of the quadrangle. The Sample Sandstone overlies the Beaver Bend Limestone and covers the largest portion of plateaus and ridgetops in the area, mostly northwest of the fault system. The Reelsville Limestone and Golconda Formation overlie the Sample Sandstone and are exposed in isolated knobs and ridges northwest of the fault system, and extensively in the southeastern section of the quadrangle, where they are overlain by the Hardinsburg Sandstone, the youngest unit mapped in the Constantine quadrangle.

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Spatial Coverage

Constantine Quadrangle, Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Breckinridge County, Dripping Springs Escarpment


This map was generated using new field mapping, sample analysis, LiDAR elevation data (5-ft average horizontal spacing) and derivative maps, aerial imagery, and 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 slope stability (determined at 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 Sable (1964), Arms and others (1979), and Haagen (2001) 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. G20AC00291, and by the Kentucky Geological Survey.



Surficial Geologic Map of the Constantine 7.5-Minute Quadrangle, Kentucky

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