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Geologic units in Plymouth county, Massachusetts
- Metamorphosed mafic to felsic flow, and volcaniclastic and hypabyssal intrusive rocks (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area
Metamorphosed mafic to felsic flow, and volcaniclastic and hypabyssal intrusive rocks - Includes some diorite and gabbro north and northwest of Boston.
- Gneiss and schist near New Bedford (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area
Gneiss and schist near New Bedford - Hornblende and biotite schist and gneiss, amphibolite.
- Granite of Rattlesnake Hill pluton (Devonian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area
Granite of Rattlesnake Hill pluton - Coarse-grained biotite-granite and fine-grained riebeckite granite. Intrudes Zdgr.
- Roxbury Conglomerate (Proterozoic Z to earliest Paleozoic) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area
Roxbury Conglomerate - Conglomerate, sandstone, siltstone, argillite, and melaphyre. Consists of Brookline, Dorchester, and Squantum Members. Roxbury Conglomerate forms base of Boston Bay Group. Divided into Brookline, Dorchester, and Squantum Members. Conglomerate in Brookline Member contains clasts of Dedham Granite, quartzite (possibly from Westboro Formation), and volcanic rock from underlying Mattapan Volcanic Complex. Dorchester Member consists of interbedded argillite and sandstone and forms an intermediate unit between Brookline Member and overlying Cambridge Argillite. Uppermost Squantum Member is a distinctive diamictite which appears to pinch out in northern part of basin. Brighton Melaphyre lies within Brookline Member and consists of mafic volcanic rocks (quartz keratophyre, keratophyre, and spilite). Roxbury clearly lies nonconformably on Dedham Granite near Hull, MA; can be traced continuously over Mattapan Volcanic Complex. Age is Proterozoic Z and possibly Early Cambrian (Goldsmith, 1991).
- Rhode Island Formation (Upper and Middle Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers 32 % of this area
Rhode Island Formation - Sandstone, graywacke, shale and conglomerate; minor beds of meta-anthracite. Fossil plants. Rhode Island Formation is thickest and most extensive formation in Narragansett basin. Does not extend to Norfolk basin. Consists of gray sandstone and siltstone and lesser amounts of gray to black shale, gray conglomerate, and coal beds 10 m thick. Interfingers with Wamsutta Formation in Narragansett basin. In places overlies Dedham Granite. Age is Middle and Late Pennsylvanian (Goldsmith, 1991).
- Cambridge Argillite (Proterozoic Z to earliest Paleozoic) at surface, covers 0.3 % of this area
Cambridge Argillite - Gray argillite and minor quartzite; rare sandstone and conglomerate. Contains acritarchs. Cambridge Argillite of Boston Bay Group contains sandy horizons which are in some places quartzite. Most prominent are Milton quartzite unit of Billings (1976), and Tufts Quartzite Member (described by Billings, 1929, and LaForge, 1932) in northern part of basin. Red sandstone and sandy argillite in Chelsea, Revere, and Milton-Quincy areas intertongue with green argillite (Kaye, 1980). Red beds lie above cleaner quartzites such as Tufts and Milton units. Core analysis by D.A. Ashenden (Metropolitan District Commission, 1980, written commun.) indicates that Cambridge and Braintree Argillites are identical. Age of Boston Bay rocks has been controversial and was once thought to be Cambrian to Pennsylvanian (the latter based on lithologic similarity to rocks of Narragansett basin and now discredited plant fossils). Age of Cambridge and of Boston Bay Group as a whole is Proterozoic Z and possibly Early Cambrian based on presence of acritarchs in Cambridge. Acritarchs are diagnostic species that ranges in age from Proterozoic Z to Early Cambrian, but is most abundant in Proterozoic Z time (Lenk and others, 1982; [also see Goldsmith and others, 1982]). Age is also supported by the following: 1) plant fossils so numerous in strata of Narragansett basin are absent in the Boston Bay Group strata, 2) Late Ordovician and Early Silurian Quincy Granite contains argillite inclusions that are on strike with Cambridge Argillite, and 3) Boston Bay Group stratigraphy is primarily marine, not similar to terrestrial stratigraphy of Narragansett basin (Goldsmith, 1991).
- Biotite gneiss near New Bedford (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area
Biotite gneiss near New Bedford - Layered feldspathic gneiss.
- Alaskite (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 0.3 % of this area
Alaskite - Light-gray, pinkish-gray to tan, mafic-poor granite commonly containing muscovite.
- Dedham Granite (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 12 % of this area
Dedham Granite - Light grayish-pink to greenish-gray, equigranular to slightly porphyritic, variably altered, granite south and west of Boston. Includes dioritic rock near Scituate and Cohasset and Barefoot Hills Quartz Monzonite of Lyons (1969) and Lyons and Wolfe (1971). Intrudes Zdi, Zgb, Zb, Zv. Extensive calc-alkaline plutons separated by Boston basin have long been mapped as Dedham. Those to the north of Boston and studied in this report, are referred to as Dedham North. Crystallization ages for the Dedham North suite (based on titanites and zircons) have been determined at 607+/-4 Ma, while ages for the Lynn are slightly younger at 596+/-3 Ma. Both are clearly part of the Late Proterozoic magmatic event. Dates on two samples from Sheffield Heights indicate that the diorite and granite are part of the Dedham North suite. The Dedham south and west of Boston has been dated at 630+/15 Ma (Zartman and Naylor, 1984). Dedham North Granite has a compositionally highly variable suite ranging from leucogranites to granodiorites, tonalites, and quartz diorite. The granites originated by partial melting of a sedimentary protolith, while the intermediate members show a mixing of granitic magma and mafic magma (Hepburn and others, 1993).
- Diorite (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 0.3 % of this area
Diorite - Medium-grained hornblende diorite metamorphosed in part to amphibolite and hornblende gneiss.
- Granite, gneiss, and schist, undivided (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 46 % of this area
Granite, gneiss, and schist, undivided - Plutonic and metamorphic rocks of probable Proterozoic Z age. May include plutonic and volcanic rocks of Paleozoic or younger age.
- Pondville Conglomerate (Lower Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area
Pondville Conglomerate - Quartz conglomerate having abundant sandy matrix; boulder conglomerate, arkose; fossil plants. Pondville Conglomerate is present in Narragansett and Norfolk basins. Although Chute (1964, 1966, 1969) recognized a lower boulder conglomerate member and an upper sandstone to pebble conglomerate member in the Pondville in the northeast part of the basin, such a division is not readily made to the southwest because of facies changes. Upper member grades into and interfingers with Wamsutta Formation. Basal beds nonconformably overlie Dedham Granite in northern part of Narragansett basin. Age of deposits in Narragansett and Norfolk basins ranges from Early to Late Pennsylvanian; however, Skehan and Murray (1980) assigned lower part of Pondville to Mississippian. Further study may reveal even older Paleozoic sediments in Narragansett basin (Goldsmith, 1991).
- Roxbury Conglomerate (Proterozoic Z to earliest Paleozoic) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area
Roxbury Conglomerate - Melaphyre in the Roxbury Conglomerate. Brighton Melaphyre lies within Brookline Member and consists of mafic volcanic rocks (quartz keratophyre, keratophyre, and spilite). Roxbury clearly lies nonconformably on Dedham Granite near Hull, MA; can be traced continuously over Mattapan Volcanic Complex. Age is Proterozoic Z and possibly Early Cambrian (Goldsmith, 1991).
- Porphyritic granite (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 3 % of this area
Porphyritic granite - Gray to gray-green, seriate to porphyritic biotite granite containing clots and streaks of biotite, epidote, and sphene. Mafic inclusions common. Gneissic in New Bedford area. Intrudes Zgs.
- Granite of the Fall River pluton (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 4 % of this area
Granite of the Fall River pluton - Light-gray, medium-grained, biotite granite, in part mafic-poor. Gneissic in New Bedford area. Includes Bulgarmarsh Granite (Proterozoic Z). Intrudes Zgs. Fall River pluton of the MA State map (Zen and others, 1983) is here referred to as the Fall River Granite. According to the authors, the change in name is meant to indicate the heterogeneous nature of the granite and the fact that it may consist of more than a single pluton. Included in this unit is the Bulgarmarsh Granite of Fall River and a mass of alaskitic gneiss shown on the State map south of Fall River. No type section is designated. Geologic map shows the Fall River present in the New Bedford area of MA and RI and bounded on the west by the Narragansett Bay Group. The Fall River was dated by Zartman and Naylor (1984) at about 600 Ma (U-Th-Pb zircon) (Murray and others, 1990).
- Westwood Granite (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 0.4 % of this area
Westwood Granite - Light-gray to pinkish-gray, fine- to medium-grained granite. Intrudes Zdgr. Proterozoic Z Westwood Granite forms small lenses of light-colored granite intruding Proterozoic Z Dedham Granite and older rocks. Occurs within Dedham batholith. Some rocks resembling Westwood, such as those exposed in Plymouth quarries near Weymouth, have been mapped as part of Dedham Granite on MA State Geologic Map (Zen and others, 1983). Extensive intrusion breccias occur at contacts of Westwood with older mafic rocks. Contacts with Dedham are commonly abrupt; dikes of Westwood cut Dedham and rare inclusions of Dedham are found within Westwood (Chute, 1966). No reports of cobbles of Westwood within Roxbury Conglomerate; therefore, it is possible that Westwood is intrusive equivalent of Mattapan Complex that underlies Roxbury and that Westwood was not exposed to erosion at time of deposition of Roxbury. Also may be an intrusive equivalent of Lynn Volcanic Complex. A somewhat questionable Rb/Sr whole-rock age of 579 +/-28 Ma (Fairbairn and others, 1967) obtained from Westwood indicates it may be younger than Dedham and may be about same age as Mattapan (Wones and Goldsmith, 1991).