Researcher ORCID Identifier

Matthew Massey

Emily Morris



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The Flaherty 7.5-minute quadrangle is located southwest of Louisville and northwest of Elizabethtown along the boundary between Hardin and Meade Counties. The quadrangle includes mostly the Pennyroyal region of the Mississippian Plateau and also smaller areas of the Mammoth Cave plateau and the highly dissected Dripping Springs escarpment in the western half of the map area (McDowell, 1986). Topography is mostly characterized by pervasive sinkhole development in a lower elevation and low-relief plain, and high-relief plateaus, ridges, and knobs of the Dripping Springs escarpment scattered along the west side of the quadrangle. Swadley (1963) mapped the bedrock geology of the quadrangle, which was later digitized by Crawford (2002). Mississippian bedrock is exposed throughout the quadrangle and is cut by several normal faults in the south. The St. Louis Limestone and overlying Ste. Genevieve Limestone are the oldest and lowest (stratigraphy and elevation) map units in Flaherty, and underlie the Pennyroyal region. The higher elevation landforms characterizing the Dripping Springs escarpment are predominantly underlain by the Paoli Limestone, Beaver Bend Limestone, and Sample Sandstone, from oldest to youngest respectively. The Mooretown Formation is stratigraphically above the Paoli Limestone and below the Beaver Bend Limestone, and is only exposed along Sand Ridge, a prominent landform in the quadrangle trending northeast to southwest. Previously mapped surficial deposits include alluvium in Otter Creek, Flippin Creek, and a large karst basin, and “slumped sandstone” (colluvium) along Sand Ridge and other smaller areas throughout the quadrangle (Swadley, 1963).

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Flaherty Quadrangle, Hardin County, Meade 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 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 Swadley (1963), 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. G21AC10834, and by the Kentucky Geological Survey.



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

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