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Seven two-dimensional (2-D) seismic refraction lines were used to determine the thickness and geometry of a valley train outwash deposit of the Quaternary Henry Formation near Heyworth in southern McLean County, Illinois. These refraction data were collected and processed in 2-D, then imported into a Petrel, a three-dimensional (3-D) geological modeling software package. The 3-D geologic model was built using the velocity attribute of the seismic refraction data. The 3-D velocity model was then verified manually by moving a cross-section through the velocity model at 20 m increments. These selected data points were used to create 3-D horizons, surfaces, and contacts constraining the target Henry Formation from the overlying alluvium of the Cahokia Formation and the underlying Delavan Till. Results of the 3-D model show the Henry Formation outwash trends about S10˝E, which is oblique to S55˝W-trending modern Kickapoo Creek valley. The Henry Formation outwash is confined to the Kickapoo valley, and consists of well-stratified sand and gravel at that is as much as 25 m in thickness in the channel. The thickness of the Henry Formation in the terrace is 8–10 m. The Cahokia Formation is everywhere about 2 m in thickness. The Henry Formation here is interpreted to be deposited in a subglacial tunnel valley that was deposited about 20,000 years ago as the Laurentide ice sheet retreated from its maximum southerly extent.

Funding Source

We would like to thank Larry Stubblefield for allowing access to his property and funding the expenses associated with the field work and drilling. Petrel is provided to Illinois State University through a gift from Schlumberger Inc. Nick Green and Jarrett Huff assisted in the seismic data acquisition.



This article was originally published in Geosciences 2016, 6(1), 9;

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC-BY) license (

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