Geologic units in Carroll county, Virginia

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Ashe Formation - Biotite gneiss (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 51 % 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.

Alligator Back Formation - Feldspathic metagraywacke (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers 30 % 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.

Erwin and Hampton Formations (Cambrian) at surface, covers 6 % of this area

Erwin Formation (Keith, 1903,1907). Quartzite, sandstone, and shale. Quartzite, light-gray to white, medium- to fine-grained, thick-bedded, cross-laminated, quartz cemented, and very resistant. Sandstone, ferruginous, dark-gray to bluish- black, medium- to coarse-grained, locally conglomeratic, and with various amounts of hematite cement, in medium- to thick-beds. Shale, silty and sandy, drab-greenish-gray, thin- to medium-bedded, non-resistant, comprises much of the formation but is poorly exposed. The Erwin is less than 1000 feet thick and is equivalent to the Antietam Formation and possibly the upper part of the Harpers Formation in northern Virginia. Hampton Formation (Keith, 1903). Shale, sandstone, and quartzite. Shale, dark-gray or dark-greenish-gray, fissile, very argillaceous, silty laminae common, with interbeds of siltstone and fine-grained, lithic sandstone. Sandstone, feldspathic, greenish-gray, vitreous, medium- to coarse-grained, pebbly, cross-laminated. Quartzite, white to light-brown, vitreous, fine-grained, medium- to thin-bedded, resistant, restricted to the upper part of the formation. The Hampton is largely equivalent to the Harpers Formation to the northeast and ranges in thickness from more than 1500 feet to about 1200 feet with the thinner sequence in the northwesternmost exposures.

Ashe Formation - Amphibolite (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Dark-greenish-gray to black, coarse to fine-grained amphibolite, hornblende gneiss, and schist, with interlayered biotite-muscovite gneiss and mica schist. Coarse garnetiferous amphibolite, pink and white marble, and pyrite-chalcopyrite-calcite veins are common near the top of the Ashe. Mineralogy: (1) quartz + actinolite + epidote + chlorite; (2) quartz + hornblende + plagioclase + epidote + garnet + magnetite. Geophysical signature: amphibolite, and hornblende gneiss and schist give positive linear magnetic anomalies. Relict amygdaloidal textures and hyaloclastic (pillow) structures indicate massive to thick-bedded amphibolite and hornblende gneiss were derived from basaltic flows or shallow sills. Some thin-bedded hornblende gneiss and schist units that commonly contain interbedded micaceous and feldspathic layers may be derived from volcaniclastic sedimentary rocks.

Ashe Formation - Mica schist or phyllite (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 4 % of this area

Medium- to dark-gray, medium- to fine-grained mica schist, phyllite, and slate. Mineralogy: (1) quartz + muscovite + magnetite; (2) quartz + muscovite + chlorite + stilpnomelane; (3) quartz + plagioclase + biotite + garnet + magnetite; (4) quartz + biotite + stau ro lite + garnet + magnetite; (5) quartz + biotite + kyanite + garnet + staurolite; chlorite occurs as a secondary mineral. Geophysical signature: isolated magnetic peaks resulting from concentrations of magnetite in the wider belts of mica schist. Although these rocks have been grouped as a single unit following Espenshade and others (1975), mapping in Floyd County (Dietrich, 1959) suggests that the unit includes rocks stratigraphically at the base of the Ashe as well as rocks stratigraphically above the Ashe, coeval in part with the Alligator Back Formation.

Unicoi Formation (Cambrian) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Unicoi Formation (Keith, 1903,1907). Sandstone and quartzite with phyllite, tuffaceous phyllite, conglomerate, and minor basalt. Sandstone, lithic or feldspathic, pinkish-gray to dark-greenish-gray, fine- to coarse-grained, angular, poorly sorted, locally conglomeratic. Quartzite, largely in upper part of the unit, white, pale-green, or gray, vitreous, medium- to coarse-grained, locally feldspathic, medium- to very-thick bedded, very resistant to weathering and erosion. Phyllite, reddish-, purplish-, or greenish-gray, as thin, sparse interbeds throughout, with purple tuffaceous phyllites in lower part. Conglomerate, fine- to coarse-polymictic-pebble conglomerate, medium- to thick-bedded, with lithic clasts and quartz pebbles. Basalt, very-dark-grayish-green, aphanitic, locally amygdaloidal; in one to three beds a few feet thick in the lower part only. Upper part has more quartzite and contains phyllite beds similar to the overlying Hampton Formation. Lower part is very feldspathic, contains most of the conglomerate beds and all of the volcanic rocks. The Unicoi is present from Augusta County to Tennessee and is laterally equivalent, at least in part, to the Weverton Formation to the northeast (King and Ferguson, 1960; Brown and Spencer, 1981; Rankin, 1993). The formation unconformably overlies the rocks of the Blue Ridge basement complex and possibly the Catoctin Formation in western Amherst County and is disconformable with the underlying Konnarock Formation in Grayson County. The upper unit is generally 600 to 1000 feet thick and the lower unit ranges from less than 100 feet to more than 1500 feet.

Elk Park Plutonic Group - Biotite augen gneiss (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Elk Park Plutonic Group (Yep, Yec; Rankin and others, 1972; 1973) Includes augen gneiss and porphyritic gneiss (Yep), and equigranular quartz monzonite, quartz monzonite flaser gneiss, and quartz monzonite gneiss (Yec). Rocks range in composition from diorite to quartz monzonite; most are quartz monzonite in which the primary dark mineral is biotite, with or without hornblende; epidote and titanite are common accessory minerals. Porphyritic rocks contain microcline phenocrysts. Augen gneiss was probably derived from porphyritic plutonic rocks by shearing. This unit includes in part the Little River Gneiss of Dietrich (1959) and Cranberry Gneiss (Rankin and others, 1972; 1973). U-Pb zircon data from the Cranberry has been interpreted to signify ages of 1050 Ma (Davis and others, 1962) and 1080 Ma (Rankin and others, 1969).

Alligator Back Formation - Actinolite schist (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers 0.7 % 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).

Shady Dolomite (Cambrian) at surface, covers 0.6 % of this area

Shady Dolomite (Keith, 1903). Dolostone with minor limestone and shale divided into three members: Ivanhoe (upper) Member; Austinville (middle) Member, and Patterson (lower) Member. Ivanhoe Member, dark-gray, fine-grained limestone and minor interbedded black shale; 100 to 500 feeet thick. Austinville Member, very-light-gray to cream colored, fine- to medium-grained, crystalline or saccharoidal, massive-bedded dolostone with several sequences of interbedded limestone, very-dark-gray dolostone or mottled dolostone and shale; 1000 feet thick. Patterson Member, medium- to dark-gray, fine-grained, thin-bedded dolostone or limestone with siliceous partings and intraformational brec ia beds; 800 feet thick. The Shady Dolomite is gradational with the underlying Erwin Formation and the upper two members grade southeastward into shaly dolostone with biohermal mounds, intraformational limestone or dolostone breccias, oolitic limestone, and arenaceous limestone and dolostone. This upper,southeastern facies, is in part equivalent to beds in the lower Rome Formation (Pfi el and Read, 1980). The Shady is very poorly exposed except near New River in Wythe and Smyth counties where it is at least 2100 feet thick and where major lead and zinc deposits were mined from the upper members (Currier, 1935).

Alligator Back Formation; Gneiss (Late Proterozoic) at surface, covers 0.3 % of this area

Finely laminated to thin layered; locally contains massive gneiss and micaceous granule conglomerate; includes schist, phyllite, and amphibolite.

Ultramafic Rocks (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers 0.3 % 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.

Porphyoblastic Biotite-Plagioclase Augen Gneiss (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers < 0.1 % 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).

Elk Park Plutonic Group - Biotite quartz monzonite (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Elk Park Plutonic Group (Yep, Yec; Rankin and others, 1972; 1973) Includes augen gneiss and porphyritic gneiss (Yep), and equigranular quartz monzonite, quartz monzonite flaser gneiss, and quartz monzonite gneiss (Yec). Rocks range in composition from diorite to quartz monzonite; most are quartz monzonite in which the primary dark mineral is biotite, with or without hornblende; epidote and titanite are common accessory minerals. Porphyritic rocks contain microcline phenocrysts. Augen gneiss was probably derived from porphyritic plutonic rocks by shearing. This unit includes in part the Little River Gneiss of Dietrich (1959) and Cranberry Gneiss (Rankin and others, 1972; 1973). U-Pb zircon data from the Cranberry has been interpreted to signify ages of 1050 Ma (Davis and others, 1962) and 1080 Ma (Rankin and others, 1969).