This map summarizes the geology of the Murray quadrangle in the Ozark Plateaus region of northern Arkansas. Geologically, the area is on the southern flank of the Ozark dome, an uplift that has the oldest rocks exposed at its center, in Missouri. Physiographically, the Murray quadrangle is within the Boston Mountains, a high plateau region underlain by Pennsylvanian sandstones and shales. Valleys of the Buffalo River and Little Buffalo River and their tributaries expose an approximately 1,600-ft-thick (488-meter-thick) sequence of Ordovician, Mississippian, and Pennsylvanian carbonate and clastic sedimentary rocks that have been mildly deformed by a series of faults and folds. The Buffalo National River, a park that encompasses the Buffalo River and adjacent land that is administered by the National Park Service is present at the northwestern edge of the quadrangle.
Mapping for this study was carried out by field inspection of numerous sites and was compiled as a 1:24,000 geographic information system (GIS) database. Locations and elevation of sites were determined with the aid of a global positioning satellite receiver and a hand-held barometric altimeter that was frequently recalibrated at points of known elevation. Hill-shade relief and slope maps derived from a U.S. Geological Survey 10-meter digital elevation model as well as orthophotographs were used to help trace ledge-forming units between field traverses within the Upper Mississippian and Pennsylvanian part of the stratigraphic sequence. Strike and dip of beds were typically measured along stream drainages or at well-exposed ledges. Structure contours, constructed on the top of the Boone Formation and the base of a prominent sandstone unit within the Bloyd Formation, were drawn based on the elevations of field sites on these contacts well as other limiting information for their minimum elevations above hilltops or their maximum elevations below valley bottoms.
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