Geologic units in Amherst county, Virginia

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Porphyoblastic Biotite-Plagioclase Augen Gneiss (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 19 % of this area

Mesocratic, medium- to coarse-grained, biotite-rich quartzofeldspathic gneiss con tains prominent subhedral to euhedral monocrystalline feldspar augen. The ratio plagioclase: potassium feldspar may be as high as 10:1; color index ranges from 30 to 50. Apatite, epidote, muscovite, ilmenite, and titanite are ubiquitous accessories. Plagioclase contains abundant prismatic epidote and white mica; ilmenite is rimmed with masses of anhedral titanite; subhedral hornblende and subhedral to euhedral almandine-grossular garnet occur locally. In the vicinity of adjacent charnockite, anhedral actinolitic amphibole pseudomorphs after pyroxene or rims thoroughly uralitized relict pyroxene. Rock fabric is gradational from granofels to mylonite gneiss. Geophysical signature: negative magnetic signature relative to adjacent charnockite. In northern Virginia, this unit strongly resembles prophyroblastic granite gneiss (Ybp); however, the augen in Ybp are more commonly polycrystalline aggregates rather than single-crystal porphyroblasts. This unit is widespread in the central and southeastern Blue Ridge, encompassing a number of lithologically similar metaplutonic entities: the "biotitic facies"of the Roses Mill and Turkey Mountain ferrodiorites of Herz and Force (1987), the Archer Mountain quartz monzonite of Bartholomew and others (1981), biotite granofels and augen gneiss of Evans (1984, 1991), biotite augen gneiss of Conley (1989), and augen-bearing gneiss of Lukert and Halladay (1980), and Lukert and Nuckols (1976). Historically, most workers have interpreted these rocks as Grenville-age plutons in which the present-day biotite-rich mineral assemblage is a primary igneous assemblage that crystallized from a melt (for example, Bartholomew and others, 1981). Herz and Force (1987) and Evans (1991) presented evidence that these biotite gneisses were derived from charnockite plutons by retrograde hydration reactions. Pettingill and others (1984) reported ages of 1009±26 Ma (Rb-Sr whole-rock) and 1004±36 Ma (Sm-Nd whole-rock) for ferrodiorite to quartzmonzonite in the Roseland district. Where this unit has been mapped in the Upperville quadrangle (A.E. Nelson, unpublished data), U-Pb zircon data suggest a crystallization age of 1055±2 Ma (Aleinikoff and others, 1993).

Mylonite, Mylonite Gneiss, and Cataclastic Rocks (Proterozoic - Paleozoic ?) at surface, covers 12 % of this area

Mylonite. Includes protomylonite, mylonite, ultramylonite, and cataclastic rocks. Lithology highly variable, depending on the nature of the parent rock, and on intensive parameters and history of deformation. In most mapped belts of mylonite and cataclastic rock (my), tectonized rocks anastomose around lenses of less-deformed or undeformed rock. In the Blue Ridge, some of these lenses are large enough to show at 1:500,000 scale. In many places mylonitic and cataclastic rocks are gradational into less deformed or undeformed adjacent rocks, and location of contacts between tectonized rocks (my) and adjacent units is approximate or arbitrary. These boundaries are indicated on the map by color-color joins with superimposed shear pattern. Most mapped belts of mylonite represent fault zones with multiple movement histories. In the Blue Ridge, Paleozoic age contractional deformation fabrics are superimposed on Late Precambrian extensional fabrics (Simpson and Kalaghan, 1989; Bailey and Simpson, 1993). Many Piedmont mylonite zones contain dextral-transpressional kinematic indicators that formed during Late Paleozoic collision al tectonics (Bobyarchick and Glover, 1979; Gates and others, 1986). Paleozoic and older faults were reactivated in many places to form extensional faults during the Mesozoic (Bobyarchick and Glover, 1979).

Alligator Back Formation - Feldspathic metagraywacke (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers 11 % of this area

Heterogeneous assemblage of rock-types includes medium- to light-gray, laminated quartzofeldspathic to calcareous gneiss with thin mica schist partings; white and gray, fine- to coarse-grained, generally laminated marble; gray to greenish-gray fine-grained graphitic mica schist and quartzite; light-gray, medium- to fine-grained mica schist; massive quartzite and micaceous blue quartz granule metasandstone; and, dark-greenish-black actinolite schist. Mineralogy: (1) quartz + potassium feldspar + pla ioclase + biotite + muscovite + calcite + epidote + titanite + magnetite- ilmenite; (2) quartz + muscovite + chlorite + graphite + titanite + ilmenite; (3) quartz + albite + muscovite + biotite + titanite + ilmenite; (4) quartz + mus co vite + garnet + kyanite; (5) chlorite + tremolite + magnetite-ilmenite; (6) chlorite + actinolite-tremolite + talc + dolomite + magnetite-ilmenite; (7) quartz + albite + actinolite + biotite + epidote + magnetite. Units here mapped as Alligator Back Formation were previously mapped as the Evington Group (Espenshade, 1954; Brown, 1958; Redden, 1963; Gates, 1986; Patterson, 1987) and considered to be younger than the Lynchburg Group. Regional mapping by Henika (1991) and Scheible (1975) indicates that rocks assigned to Alligator Back Formation by Rankin and others (1973) are continuous with the upper part of the Lynchburg Group in the type section along the James River at Lynchburg (Jonas, 1927) and that the Alligator Back consistently dips southeast beneath the overlying Candler Formation from the Virginia-North Carolina border to the James River at Lynchburg. Sedimentary and structural facing criteria indicate that rock units immediately southeast of the Candler Formation in an outcrop belt from Stapleton on the James River, southwest to Leesville Dam on the Roanoke River, are older than the Candler (Henika, 1992). Although previously mapped as upper Evington Group (Espenshade, 1954; Brown, 1958; Redden, 1963; Patterson, 1987), these rocks are herein correlated with the Alligator Back Formation (upper Lynchburg Group), having been uplifted against the Candler Formation to the northwest along the Bowens Creek fault (Henika, 1992). Rocks in the same outcrop belt along strike to the southwest of the Leesville Reservoir were previously correlated with the Alligator Back Formation by Conley (1985). The sequence of lithologic units within the Alligator Back Formation southeast of the Bowens Creek fault is the same as that proposed by Brown (1951; 1958), and Espenshade (1954) for the formations in the Evington Group, that are structurally above the Candler Formation. The sequence is based on the detailed structural and stratigraphic relationships first established by Brown (1958) in the Lynchburg 15-minute quadrangle.

Charnockite (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 8 % of this area

Includes dusky-green, mesocratic, coarse- to very-coarse-grained, equigranular to porphyritic, massive to vaguely foliated pyroxene-bearing granite to granodiorite; contains clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene, intermediate-composition plagioclase, potassium feldspar, and blue quartz. Reddish-brown biotite, hornblende, and poikilitic garnet are present locally; accessory minerals include apatite, magnetite-ilmenite, rutile, and zircon. Geophysical signature: charnockite pods in the southeastern Blue Ridge produce a moderate positive magnetic anomaly relative to adjacent biotite gneisses, resulting in spotty magnetic highs. This unit includes a host of plutons that are grouped on the basis of lithology, but are not necessarily consanguineous. These include Pedlar charnockite, dated at 1075 Ma (U-Pb zircon, Sinha and Bartholomew, 1984) and Roses Mill charnockite (Herz and Force, 1987), dated at 1027±101 Ma (Sm-Nd, Pettingill and others, 1984).

Layered Pyroxene Granulite (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 8 % of this area

Medium- to dark greenish-gray, fine- to medium-grained, segregation-layered quartzofeldspathic granulite. Major minerals are quartz, plagioclase, potassium feldspar (includes assemblages with one alkali feldspar), orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene, and magnetite-ilmenite; garnet, hornblende, and reddish-brown biotite are widespread minor constituents. Apatite and zircon are accessory minerals. Color index ranges from 15 to 35. Quartz and feldspars are granoblastic; ferromagnesian minerals define dark layers on the order of 1 to 3 mm thick, giving the rock a characteristic pinstriped appearance. Migmatitic leucosomes locally cut segregation layering. Geophysical signature: positive magnetic anomalies relative to adjacent biotite granulite and layered gneiss (Ygb). This unit pre-dates charnockite, alkali feldspar leucogranite, and other plutonic rocks on basis of cross-cutting relations, and is generally considered pre-Grenville-age country rock that was metamorphosed under granulite-facies metamorphic conditions and intruded by plutonic rocks during the Grenville orogeny. The unit includes Lady Slipper granulite gneiss (1130 Ma, U-Pb zircon, Sinha and Bartholomew, 1984), and Nellysford and Hills Mountain granulite gneisses of Bartholomew and others (1981).

Ashe Formation - Biotite gneiss (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 7 % of this area

Medium- to light-gray, massive, conglomeratic biotite schist and gneiss, with feldspar, quartz, and granitic clasts; grades upwards into medium- to fine-grained, salt-and-pepper-textured two-mica plagioclase gneiss with very-light-gray mica schist interbeds. Quartzite, impure marble, calcareous gneiss and amphibolite occur locally. Some dark-gray to black, pyrite-bearing mica schist occurs at tops of thick, fining-upwards graded sequences. Mineralogy: (1) quartz + plagioclase + potassium feldspar + biotite + muscovite + chlorite + epidote + ilmenite; (2) quartz + plagioclase + biotite + muscovite + epidote-allanite + garnet + titanite + ilmenite; (3) quartz + calcite + plagioclase + biotite + muscovite + epidote + ilmenite + titanite; chlorite occurs as a secondary mineral. Unit is unconformable on Grenville basement and cut by Late Precambrian mafic and felsic dikes.

Chilhowee Group (Cambrian) at surface, covers 7 % of this area

Chilhowee Group (Keith, 1903). The Chilhowee Group includes the Antietam, Harpers, and Weverton Formations in the northeastern portion of the Blue Ridge Province and the Erwin, Hampton, and Unicoi Formations in the southwestern portion of the Blue Ridge Province. Antietam Formation (Williams and Clark, 1893). Quartzite, medium-gray to pale-yellowish-white, fine- to medium grained, locally with very minor quartz-pebble conglomerate, cross-laminated, medium- to very-thick-bedded, very resistant, forms prominent cliffs and ledges, contains a few thin interbeds of light-gray phyllite, has calcareous quartz sandstone at the top that is transitional with the overlying Tomstown Dolomite, and many beds contain Skolithos linearras. It is laterally equivalent to the Erwin Formation to the southwest. The formation interfingers with the underlying Harpers Formation and ranges in thickness from less than 500 feet in Clarke County to nearly 1000 feet in Rockingham County (Gathright and Nystrom, 1974; Gathright, 1976). Harpers Formation (Keith, 1894). Metasandstone, metasiltstone, and phyllite. Metasandstone, dark-greenish gray to brownish-gray, fine-grained, sericitic, thin- to medium-planar bedded, locally bioturbated, Skolithos-bearing litharenite; dark-gray, fine-grained, cross-laminated, thickbedded, laterally extensive bodies of quartzite; and very-dark gray, medium- to coarse-grained, thick-bedded, ferruginous, very resistant, quartzitic sandstone. These beds were extensively mined for iron ore north of Roanoke (Henika, 1981). Metasiltstone, dark-greenish-gray, thin, even bedded, sericitic, and locally bioturbated. Phyllite, medium- to light-greenish gray, bronze weathering, laminated, sericitic. The Harpers is laterally equivalent to the Hampton Formation to the southwest and they are so similar that the names have been used interchaneably in the northern Blue Ridge (Gathright, 1976; Brown and Spencer, 1981). The Harpers conformably overlies the Weverton or Unicoi Formations, thickens northeastward from about 1500 feet north of Roanoke to about 2500 feet in Clarke County. The thicker sections are dominated by phyllite and metasiltstone and the thinner sections by metasandstone and quartzite. Weverton Formation (Williams and Clark, 1893). Quartzite, metasandstone, and phyllite. Quartzite, medium- to very dark-gray, weathers light-gray, fine- to coarse-grained, well rounded quartz-pebble conglomerate beds locally, medium- to thick-bedded, cross-bedded, very resistant, with interbedded metasandstone, dark-greenish- gray, feldspathic, thick-bedded, with ferruginous cement in some beds. Phyllite, light- to dark-greenish-gray or dark-reddish-gray, laminated, sericitic, with coarse sand grains and quartz-pebble conglomerate in a few thin beds, generally in lower part. Formation ranges in thickness from more than 600 feet in Clarke County to less than 200 feet in Augusta County (Gathright and Nystrom, 1974; Gathright and others, 1977). The Weverton is lithologically very similar to strata in the upper portion of the Unicoi Formation to the south to which it may be equivalent. The Weverton appears to unconformably overlie the Catoctin and Swift Run Formations and the Blue Ridge basement complex and is present northeast of Augusta County.

Porphyritic Leucocharnockite (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Leucocratic, very coarse-grained, porphyritic pyroxene-bearing granite with euhedral Potassium feldspar megacrysts, interstitial plagioclase and blue quartz; clinopyroxene and/or orthopyroxene are thoroughly uralitized; hornblende, titaniferous biotite, and garnet may be present; accessory minerals include magnetite ilmenite, apatite, and zircon. Rocks within this map unit were dated at 1075 Ma (UPb zircon; Sinha and Bartholomew, 1984), and 1021±36 Ma (Sm-Nd whole rock; Pettingill and others, 1984).

Layered Quartzofeldspathic Augen Gneiss and Flaser Gneiss (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Leucocratic to mesocratic, mesoscopically-layered coarse-grained quartzofeldspathic biotite gneiss contains prominent polycrystalline quartz-feldspar augen within an anastomosing, mica-rich, schistose matrix. Major mineralogy includes quartz, plagioclase, microcline, muscovite, biotite, epidote, titanite, and ilmenite; apatite and zircon are accessory minerals. This unit is gradational into biotite granulite and gneiss (Ygb), and is at least in part derived from that unit by superimposition of cataclastic to mylonitic fabric. Includes in part Stage Road layered gneiss (Sinha and Bartholomew, 1984; U-Pb discordia from 915 Ma to 1860 Ma).

Layered Biotite Granulite and Gneiss (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Leucocratic to mesocratic, segregation-layered quartzofeldspathic granulite and gneiss contain quartz, plagioclase (albite), microcline (includes assemblages with one alkali feldspar), biotite, ilmenite, and titanite; garnet and horn blende are commonly present. Accessory minerals include apatite and zircon. Epidote and white mica are ubiquitous secondary minerals. Relict pyroxene, largely replaced by actinolitic amphibole, occurs locally. Segregation layering is defined by alternating quartzofeldspathic and biotite-rich domains on the order of a few millimeters to centimeters thick. Quartz and feldspar are granoblastic; biotite defines a penetrative schistosity that crosscuts segregation layering. Migmatitic leucosomes composed of alkali feldspar and blue quartz cut segregation layering, and locally define attenuated isoclinal folds. This unit surrounds pods of layered pyroxene granulite (Ypg), and is cut by Grenville-age metaplutonic rocks including porphyroblastic biotite-plagioclase augen gneiss (Ybg) and alkali feldspar granite (Yal). The unit has been correlated with Flint Hill Gneiss (Yfh) (Evans, 1991), and may correlate with Stage Road layered gneiss of Sinha and Bartholomew (1984). These gneisses have been interpreted as derived from layered pyroxene granulite (Ypg) by retrograde hydration reactions (Evans, 1991).

Ashe Formation - Moneta Gneiss (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Moderate-olive-brown to dusky yellowish- green to black-and-white-banded, medium- to fine-grained biotite-hornblende gneiss, with interlayers of light gray, fine-grained quartz-feldspar gneiss, amphibolite, and mica schist. Felsitic crystal tuff breccia, feldspathic conglomerate, and mafic and felsic dikes and sills are recognized within the Moneta, especially along the James River west of Lynchburg. Wang and Glover (1991) recognized two kinds of mafic metavolcanic rocks in this unit, lavas and tuffs. The lavas have well-preserved hyaloclastic textures; metatuffs commonly contain delicate mineral segregation lamination. Mineralogy: (1) quartz + plagioclase + microcline + biotite + muscovite + garnet + magnetite-ilmenite; (2) hornblende + plagioclase + biotite + quartz + magnetite-ilmenite + titanite; (3) hornblende + plagioclase + garnet + biotite + magnetiteilmenite. Geophysical signature: broad, elongate, positive magnetic anomaly. Numerous pegmatite dikes and sills concentrated within the hornblende biotite gneiss were mined for feldspar in the area between Moneta and Forest where the unit was first described by Pegau (1932). In the Lynchburg area the Moneta was mapped as Reusens Migmatite by Brown (1958). It was interpreted to be a Late Precambrian volcanic-sedimentary complex by Conley and Henika (1970) and Wang and Glover (1991). The Moneta is here assigned to the Lynchburg Group because it has an intertonguing re la tion ship with basal conglomeratic Lynchburg rocks and with similar rocks in the base of the Ashe Formation southwest of Lynchburg.

Candler Formation - Phyllite and schist (Cambrian) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Medium- to dark-gray and greenish- gray mica phyllite and sandy laminated schist. Lenses and pods of feldspathic quartzite, metamorphosed quartzarenite, dolomitic marble, and dark-gray to medium-bluish-gray, laminated marble are common in the upper part. Mineralogy: quartz + albite + muscovite + chlorite + magnetite-ilmenite + epidote ± biotite ± chloritoid ± calcite. Chloritoid and magnetite porphyroblasts are common near the Bowens Creek fault. Geophysical signature: Low amplitude, linear magnetic highs are superimposed on a pronounced southeast-sloping magnetic gradient between Alligator Back units northwest of the Candler and a persistant linear magnetic trough localized along the trend of the Bowens Creek fault zone. Microstructural elements in the upper Candler indicate dextral transpression along a continuous shear zone (Bowens Creek fault zone) within the Candler outcrop belt from the Virginia-North Carolina boundary in Patrick County northeastward to at least the north end of Buffalo Ridge on the Amherst-Campbell County line. Conley and Henika (1970) and Gates (1986) hypothesized that the Bowens Creek fault is part of a major strike slip (wrench) system that is part or a continuation of the Brevard fault zone to the southwest . Northeast of the Scottsville Mesozoic basin, the Candler includes laminated metasiltstone (Ccas), ferruginous metatuff, dolomitic marble, and phyllite that are conformable above Catoctin metabasalt (Evans, 1984; Conley, 1989; Rossman, 1991); in Orange County, the Candler includes the True Blue formation of Pavlides (1989, 1990).

Charnockite Gneiss (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Leucocratic to mesocratic, coarse grained, porphyritic, pyroxene-bearing granite gneiss; well-developed shear foliation is superimposed on segregation layering defined by quartz-feldspar and mafic-rich domains; includes mylonitic augen gneiss.

Alligator Back Formation - Actinolite schist (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Dark-grayish-green chlorite-actinolite schist metabasalt. Mineralogy: actinolite + epidote + chlorite ± biotite + albite + quartz + magnetite-ilmenite. Geophysical signature: linear, positive magnetic anomaly. Schist commonly contains recognizable flow structures, deformed and mineralized pillow basalts, pyroclastic breccia, pink and white marble, and laminated metatuff. Massive to thin beds are interlayered with metamorphosed sedimentary and mafic to ultramafic rocks. This unit was previously mapped as the Catoctin Formation or the Slippery Creek Greenstone in the Lynchburg quadrangle (Brown 1958).

Border Gneiss (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Border gneiss (Hillhouse, 1960). Pyroxene- and locally graphite-, sulfide-, and garnet-bearing quartzofeldspathic granulite and gneiss; includes platy leucocratic charnockite and charnockite gneiss; surrounds and is intruded by Roseland Anorthosite. Border gneiss is equivalent to banded granulite of Herz and Force (1987), and has been interpreted as in part a paragneiss derived from pre-Grenville-age sedimentary-volcanic rocks (Bartholomew and Lewis, 1984; Herz and Force, 1987).

Roseland Anorthosite (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 0.7 % of this area

Roseland anorthosite (Ross, 1941; Herz and Force, 1987). White alkalic anorthosite contains andesine antiperthite megacrysts, blue quartz, and lesser orthopyroxene and rutile; cataclastic fabric is pervasive; dated at 1045 Ma (Sm-Nd whole-rock; Pettingill and others, 1984).

Biotite-Muscovite Leucogranite Gneiss (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 0.6 % of this area

Leucocratic, coarse- to very-coarse-grained granite gneiss contains subhedral to euhedral Potassium feldspar megacrysts, and interstitial quartz and plagioclase; muscovite, biotite, epidote, titanite, and magnetite-ilmenite make up 5 to 15 percent of the mode; hornblende and garnet are locally present. Plagioclase is largely replaced by felty masses of epidote, muscovite, and titanite; clusters of reen-brown, biotite laths contain subhedral to euhedral epidote prisms; magnetite-ilmenite is rimmed by anhedral masses of titanite. The rock contains a penetrative schistosty defined by biotite and muscovite.

Alligator Back Formation - Banded marble (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers 0.6 % of this area

Light- and dark-gray, laminated fine to medium-grained marble, calcareous gneiss, and schist. Mineralogy: calcite + quartz + biotite + muscovite + plagioclase + pyrite + magnetite-ilmenite. Thick to thin beds of marble are interlayered with graphitic phyllite and mica schist; the lithology grades from impure marble to calcareous metagraywacke depending on per cent age of detrital calcite present. The unit includes the Arch Marble of Brown (1958) and the Archer Creek Formation of Espenshade (1954).

Leucocharnockite (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 0.6 % of this area

Leucocratic, coarse-grained to megacrystic pyroxene-bearing granite, porphyritic in part with euhedral potassium feldspar phenocrysts, interstitial plagioclase and quartz; ferromagnesian minerals include orthopyroxene, clinopyroxene, magnetite-ilmenite; hornblende, red-brown biotite, and garnet may be present. Accessory minerals include zircon, monozite, and apatite. Pyroxene is thoroughly uralitized.

Catoctin Formation - Metabasalt (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers 0.6 % of this area

Grayish-green to dark-yellowish-green, fine-grained, schistose chlorite- and actinolite-bearing metabasalt, commonly associated with epidosite segregations. Mineralogy: chlorite + actinolite + albite + epidote + titanite ± quartz + magnetite. Relict clinopyroxene is common; biotite porphyroblasts occur locally in southeastern outcrop belts. Geophysical signature: The Catoctin as a whole has a strong positive magnetic signature. However, between Warrenton and Culpeper the lowest part of the Catoctin, which consists of low-titanium metabasalt and low-titanium metabasalt breccia, is non-magnetic, and displays a strong negative anomaly. Metabasalt (CZc) is by far the most widespread unit comprising 3000 feet or more of section (Gathright and others, 1977). Primary volcanic features are well preserved in many places. In the north west ern outcrop belt, these include vesicles and amygdules, sedimentary dikes, flow-top breccia, and columnar joints (Reed, 1955; Gathright, 1976; Bartholomew, 1977); relict pillow structures have been reported in Catoctin greenstones east of Buena Vista (Spencer and others, 1989). In the southeastern outcrop belt, amygdaloidal metabasalts are common, as are volcanoclastic rocks interbedded with basaltic fl ows (Rossman, 1991). Fragmental zones occur locally between individual lava fl ows; map-scale hyaloclastite pillow breccias occur at three strati raphic levels within the southeastern outcrop belt (CZcb, CZhb, CZlb; Espenshade, 1986; Kline and others, 1990).

Mobley Mountain Granite (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 0.5 % of this area

Mobley Mountain granite (Brock and others, 1987; Herz and Force, 1987). Leucocratic to mesocratic, medium-grained, equigranular, epidote-, florencite-, garnet-, and fluorite-bearing muscovite-biotite granite; faintly foliated. Salt and- pepper appearance is characteristic; aplite and pegmatite dikes cut the pluton and surrounding country rock. Dated at 652±22 Ma (Rb-Sr whole rock; Brock and others, 1987).

Mafic Igneous Complex Undivided (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers 0.5 % of this area

Metamorphosed stratiform mafic and ultramafic rocks include: greenish-gray, locally layered, coarse-grained metagabbro; dark-greenish-black schistose metabasalt; and, gray to grayish-green talc-chlorite-tremolite schist. Mineralogy: (1) chlorite + epidote + plagioclase + quartz + titanite + ilmenite; (2) chlorite + actinolite + biotite + epidote + titanite + plagioclase + quartz; (3) chlorite + actinolite + talc + dolomite + magnetite-ilmenite; (4) tremolite + chlorite + magnetite-ilmenite; (5) serpentine + talc + chlorite + actinolite ± olivine ± augite. Geophysical signature: strike-elongate positive magnetic anomaly. Metamorphosed mafic and ultramafic complexes are generally sheet-like bodies, concordant near the base of the Alligator Back and Charlottesville Formations. In Nelson County, these rocks are cut by metagabbroic dikes (CZmd) that are likely related to the Catoctin. Hess (1933) reports a stratified association of ultramafic, mafic, and minor silicic lithologies at Schuyler which he attributes to in situ differentiation of a sheet-like concordant intrusion. Glover and others (1989) report a non-tectonized intrusive contact between Charlottesville Formation metasiltstone and ultramafic schist at Schulyer. In contrast, Conley (1985) presents evidence that ultramafic-mafic complexes in Franklin County are tectonicly-emplaced slices of oceanic crust (ophiolites). Tectonic setting and mode of emplacement for these rock assemblages remain enigmatic; correlation of complexes in the southwestern Piedmont with those in the central Blue Ridge may ultimately prove invalid.

Layered Porphyrobliastic Pyroxene Granulite (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 0.5 % of this area

Leucocratic to mesocratic, segregation-layered quartzofeld-spathic granulite contains prominent potassium feldspar porphyroblasts; major mineralogy, quartz, plagioclase, K- feldspar, orthopyroxene or clinopyroxene, and magnetite-ilmenite; hornblende, reddish-brown biotite, and garnet are widespread minor constituents. Accessory minerals include apatite and zircon. Segregation layering is defined by millimeter- to centimeter scale quartz-feldspar- and pyoxene-rich domains; migmatitic leucosomes of alkali feldspar and blue quartz are common. This rock-type is considered to be pre-Grenville-age country rock, although no radiometric data is available.

Leucocratic Granulite and Gneiss (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 0.4 % of this area

Leucocratic, fine- to medium-grained layered gneiss contains predominantly alkali feldspar and blue quartz; ferromagnesian minerals including pyroxene, ilmenite, horn blende, reddish-brown biotite, or garnet constitute less than one percent of the mode. Quartz and feldspar are granoblastic; gneissic fabric is defined by discontinuous quartz-rich domains.

Alkali Feldspar Leucogranite (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Leucocratic, coarse grained to megacrystic, equigranular to porphyritic granite contains white alkali feldspar phenocrysts and interstitial blue quartz, with accessory biotite, pyroxene, and garnet; primary flow-banding is locally delineated by aligned feldspar phenocrysts. Geophysical signature: positive radiometric anomaly. This lithology occurs as dikes and discrete plutons, comprises migmatitic leucosomes within early or pre-Grenville age layered gneisses, and occurs as xenoliths with in some Grenville-age plutonic rocks. This is a lithologic unit that likely includes rocks spanning a range of ages.

Ultramafic Rocks (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Grayish-green to light-gray talc chlorite-actinolite or talc-tremolite schist. Mineralogy: (1) chlorite + actinolite + talc + dolomite + ilmenite + magnetite; (2) serpentine (antigorite) + talc + chlorite ± olivine ± augite; (3) tremolite + cummingtonite + chlorite + talc + magnetite-ilmenite ± quartz. Geophysical signature: elongate positive magnetic anomaly. Elongate, lenticular bodies generally trend parallel to schistosity of enclosing rocks and are concordant at variable stratigraphic levels within the Lynchburg Group.

Biotite-Hornblende Granodiorite (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Mesocratic, medium- to coarse-grained, equigranular, massive to vaguely foliated granodiorite contains poikilitic green-brown hornblende, subhedral in part; lesser reddish-brown biotite, and accessory apatite, magnetite-ilmenite, and zircon; color index 30 to 40.

Lynchburg Group - Metagraywacke (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Metagraywacke, quartzose schist, and conglomerate. Graded bedding, cut-and-fill structures, and incomplete Bouma cycles are characteristic; conglomeratic lenses occur throughout the unit. Geophysical signature: Positive magnetic and positive radiometric anomalies. Metagraywacke is interpreted to have been deposited in a series of coalescing submarine fans, with conglomerate deposited in submarine distributary channels developed on the fans (Conley, 1989). The unit as mapped includes in part the Rockfish conglomerate formation, and the Lynchburg gneiss formation (restricted) of Nelson (1962), and is equivalent to Ashe Formation metagraywacke (Zam), on strike to the southwest. The unit has been mapped on a lithologic basis in outliers to the west of the main strike-belt, including parts of the Mechums River formation strike-belt of Gooch (1958) and Nelson (1962).

Biotite Granodiorite and Biotite Granite (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Leucocratic to mesocratic, medium-grained, equigranular, vaguely foliated, epidote-, garnet-, fluorite- and/or allanite-bearing, two-feldspar muscovite-biotite granodiorite to granite; salt-and-pepper appearance is characteristic; associated aplite and pegmatite dikes common. Geophysical signature: weak positive radiometric anomaly. The plutons of this suite are widespread in the southeastern portion of the basement complex, and are correlated with Rockfish River, Mobley Mountain, Striped Rock plutons, and with Robertson River Igneous Suite.

Metagabbro (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Dusky-green to black, medium- to coarse-grained, massive to vaguely-foliated amphibolite. Mineralogy: (1) actinolite + chlorite + albite + epidote + quartz + magnetite ± titanite; (2) hornblende + pla gio clase + epidote + magnetite + quartz ± titanite. Geophysical signature: strong positive magnetic anomaly. Metagabbro occurs as dikes that cut Grenville basement and the Lynchburg Group, and as sills occurring primarily in the Charlottesville and Alligator Back Formations in association with ultramafiic rocks. Cross cutting relations imply that these rocks are related to the Catoctin in time. Reed and Morgan (1971) demonstrated on the basis of geochemistry that metadiabase dikes cutting Grenville basement in northern Virginia are feeders to the Catoctin. Metagabbroic dikes in the central Virginia Blue Ridge could represent a deeper level of Catoctin feeder system, although that hypothesis has not been substantiated by field or geochemical study.