Geologic units in Pulaski county, Virginia

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Elbrook Formation (Cambrian) at surface, covers 20 % of this area

Elbrook Formation (Stose, 1906). Dolostone and limestone with lesser shale and siltstone. Dolostone, medium-to dark-gray, fine- to medium-grained, laminated to thick-bedded. Limestone, dark-gray, fine-grained, thin- to medium-bedded, with algal structures and sharpstone conglomerate. Shale and siltstone, light- to dark-gray, dolomitic, platy weathering, with minor grayish-red or olive-green shales. Interbedded limestone and dolostone dominate the upper part of the formation; dolomitic siltstone and shale and thin- bedded argillaceous limestone dominate the lower part. The formation ranges be tween 1500 and 2900 feet in thickness in the southeasternmost exposures but is incomplete elsewhere due to faulting. The Elbrook of northern Virginia is transitional with the Nolichucky and Honaker Formations (locally the limestone facies of the Nolichucky has been differentiated from the Elbrook by Bartlett and Biggs (1980). It is also approximately equivalent to the rock sequence comprised of the Nolichucky and Maryville Formations, the Rogersville Shale, and the Rutledge Formation. Farther southwest the Conasauga Shale is the Elbrook equivalent. The Elbrook appears to be conformable and gradational with the underlying Waynesboro or Rome Formations. From Washington County to Augusta County much of the Elbrook Formation adjacent to the Pulaski and Staunton faults is a breccia of the "Max Meadows tecontic breccia type" (Cooper and Haff, 1940). These breccias are composed of crushed rock clasts that range from sand size to blocks many feet long, derived almost entirely from the lower part of the Elbrook Formation. The breccia commonly forms low lands characterized by karst features.

Rome Formation (Cambrian) at surface, covers 17 % of this area

Pumpkin Valley Shale and Rome Formation. Pumpkin Valley Shale (Bridge, 1945). Shale, light-greenish-gray to dark-greenish-gray, grayish-brown, and maroon; a few beds of similar colored siltstone; sparse beds of limestone and dolostone. The Pumpkin Valley Shale conformably overlies the Rome Formation. The formation is approximately 350 feet thick. Harris (1964) identified the Pumpkin Valley Shale of Southwest Virginia as a formation within the Conasauga Group; however, because of similar lithologies it is often indistinguishable from the Rome Formation and the two formations commonly are mapped together. Rome Formation (Hayes, 1891). Siltstone, shale, sandstone, dolostone, and limestone. Siltstone and shale, greenish-gray and grayish-red, laminated to thin-bedded. Sandstone, micaceous, locally glauconitic, greenish-gray and reddish-gray, very-fine- to medium-grained, thin-bedded. Dolostone, light- to dark-gray, aphanic to medium-grained, thin-to massive-bedded, with ripple marks and mudcracks. Lime stone, argillaceous, very-light-gray to dark-gray, thin- to medium- bedded. Carbonate rocks range from sparse 1- to 2- feet-thick beds in western Scott County to discontinuous units as much as 50 feet thick which comprise 30 to 40 percent of the formation in western Russell and Washington counties (Evans and Troensegaard, 1991; Bartlett and Webb, 1971). Maximum recorded thickness is 1500 feet in the Clinchport area (Brent, 1963); although this may have included the Pumpkin Valley Shale. A complete thickness has not been determined because the lowermost part of the Rome Formation is normally absent due to faulting.

Erwin and Hampton Formations (Cambrian) at surface, covers 15 % 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.

Conococheague Formation (Cambrian) at surface, covers 13 % of this area

Conococheague Formation (Stose, 1908). Dominantly limestone with significant dolostone and sandstone beds in lower part and locally in upper part. Limestone, medium- to very-dark-gray, fine-grained, thin-bedded with wavy siliceous partings that weather out in relief. Vertically repetitious primary sedimentary features such as sharpstone conglomrate, laminated bedding, and algal structures indicate cyclic sedimentation. Dolostone, medium-gray, fine- to medium-grained, laminated to massive-bedded with primary features similar to those in the limestones. Sandstone, medium-gray, brown weathering, cross-laminated, medium to thin-bedded, forms linear ridges, largely associated with dolostone beds but quartz sand common in most lithologies. Formation is present throughout the Valley of Virginia southeast of the Pulaski and North Mountain faults. It ranges in thickness from about 2200 feet in northern Virginia to 1,700 feet near Abingdon. The Conococheague is approximately equivalent to the Copper Ridge and Chepultepec Formations and conformably over lies the Elbrook Formation.

Price Formation (Mississippian) at surface, covers 10 % of this area

Price Formation (Campbell, 1894). Sandstone, quartzarenite, conglomerate, siltstone, shale, limestone, and coal. Sandstone, feldspathic, slightly micaceous, light-gray to medium-gray, weathers olive-gray to greenish-gray, few grayish-red beds, very-fine- to medium-grained, thin- to thick-bedded, cross-laminated in upper part of formation, locally conglomeratic with quartz pebbles and granules. The lowest part of the Price contains quartz pebble conglomerate and quartzarenite, with marine fossils in basal beds. Formation becomes finer grained to the southwest. Sandstone is dominant in the upper half of formation. Siltstone and silty shale, partly calcareous, locally pyritic and glauconitic, greenish-gray, medium-dark-gray to light-olive-gray, locally black and carbonaceous, laminated to medium-bedded, hard, hackly, fissile to platy, fossiliferous; interbedded with sandstone. Limestone, rare, argillaceous, arenaceous, very- thin beds, as much as six inches thick, in interbedded siltstones and shales (Bartlett, 1974, p. 83-84). Coal in upper part of formation (Bartholomew and Brown, 1992; Bartlett, 1974; Cooper, 1944). The Price is a westward thinning clastic wedge (Bartlett, 1974, p. 170) that is equivalent to part of the Grainger Formation in the southwesternmost part of Virginia. It overlies the Chemung Formation from southwestern Washington County to the north east and the Brallier Formation or the Chattanooga Shale to the southwest. Base is conformable, placed at the base of a conglomerate northeast of Lee County (Bartlett, 1974). Thickness is variable; it is 250 feet thick in Lee County, 185 feet thick (Henika, 1988) in Scott County and as much as 1800 feet thick (Campbell and others, 1925) in Montgomery County.

Brallier Formation (Devonian) at surface, covers 7 % of this area

Brallier Formation (Butts, 1918). Shale, sandstone, and siltstone. Shale, partly silty, micaceous, greenish-gray, gray ish-brown and medium- to dark-gray, black, weathers light-olive-gray with light-yellow, brown and purple tints; black shale in thin beds and laminae, sparsely fossiliferous. Sandstone, micaceous, medium-light-gray, very-fine- to fine-grained, thin- to thick-bedded, and light-brown siltstone interbedded with shale. Locally siltstone is in very-thin, nodular, ferruginous lenses (Bartlett, 1974). Lower contact transitional; base at lowest siltstone bed above relatively nonsilty dark-gray shale. Equivalent to part of the Chattanooga Shale. Formation thins southwestward; it ranges from 940 feet in thickness in southwestern Washington County (Bartlett and Webb, 1971) to more than 2200 feet in Augusta County (Rader, 1967).

Chemung Formation (redefined as Foreknobs Formation) (Devonian) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Chemung Formation (Hall, 1839). Redefined as the Foreknobs Formation (Dennison, 1970). Sandstone and shale, dark-gray and greenish-gray, fine-grained, thin- to thick-bedded, lithic sandstone and interbedded greenish gray, fissile, clay shale. Minor quartz-pebble conglomerate, thin red sandstone, and locally, fossil shell beds. Very thin or absent in southwestern Virginia; thickens to about 2500 feet northeastward in Frederick County. Gradational contact with underlying Brallier Formation and equivalent to part of the Chattanooga Shale to the southwest. Redefined and described as part of the Greenland Gap Group by Dennison (1970).

Silurian Formations Undivided (Silurian) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Some landslides with intact stratigraphic units in Giles County area. Includes: Dsu, Skrt, Sm. (Shrc?)

Maccrady Shale (Mississippian) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Maccrady Shale (Stose, 1913). Shale, siltstone, minor limestone, and sandstone. Shale and siltstone, light-grayish red, few light-greenish-gray beds, silty, very-thin- to medium bedded, indistinctly bedded, interbedded. Collapse breccia in middle of formation, with anhydrite (?) locally in western Tazewell County (Windolph, 1987). Limestone, dolomitic, light-yel lowish-brown and bluish-gray in Washington and Tazewell counties. Sandstone, light- to medium-gray, fine to coarse-grained, locally cross-bedded. Maccrady sparsely fossiliferous including a fish-bone bed (Bartlett, 1974, p. 101). Contains salt, anhydrite, and economic deposits of gypsum where the formation is thickest and folded and faulted in Smyth County (Sharpe, 1984; Stose, 1913). Basal beds locally interfinger with and are gradational with underlying Price Formation and lie on progressively older units of the Price west of a line from north astern Tazewell County through central Washington County (Bartlett, 1974, p. 99). Maccrady thins northwestward, but locally thins southwestward (Warne, 1990). It wedges out at the southwest corner of Virginia (Englund, 1979); in northern and western Washington and northwestern Smyth counties the Maccrady is less than 50 feet thick (Averitt, 1941; Warne, 1990), but it is as much as 2000 feet thick to the northeast in Smyth County (Sharpe, 1984), and at least 1000 feet thick in a partial section in Montgomery County (Bartholomew and Lowry, 1979).

Shady Dolomite (Cambrian) at surface, covers 2 % 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).

Lower Ordovician and Upper Cambrian Formations Undivided (Cambrian-Ordovician) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Includes Pinesburg Station Dolomite, Rockdale Run Formation, Beekmantown Formation, Stonehenge Limestone, and Conococheague Formation. Refer to descriptions under Ob and O[co/[co.

Millboro Shale, Huntersville Chert, and Rocky Gap Sandstone (Devonian) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Millboro Shale, Huntersville Chert, and Rocky Gap Sandstone. Millboro Shale. Refer to previous description under Dmn. Huntersville Chert (Price, 1929). Chert, white, thin-bedded, iron-stained, blocky, fossiliferous with cherty, glauconitic sandstone and greenish-gray shale. The Huntersville Chert ranges from 10 to 60 feet in thickness (Bartlett and Webb, 1971). Butts (1940, p. 303) states, "The Onondaga [Huntersville Chert] persists to Mendota, Washington County, but 10 miles farther southwest it is absent in a fully exposed section". The Huntersville correlates with the Needmore Formation to the northeast and the upper part of the Wildcat Valley Sandstone in Lee County. Rocky Gap Sandstone (Swartz, 1929): Sandstone, medium- to light-gray, weathers dark-yellowish-orange, coarse-grained, scattered, thin, quartz-pebble conglomerate beds, arenaceous chert in upper ten feet, calcite cement, friable when weathered. Thickness ranges from 0 near McCall Gap, Washington County to about 85 feet in Bland and Giles counties. Equivalent in part to the Wildcat Valley Sandstone of Lee County and the Ridgeley (Oriskany) Sandstone and Helderberg Group north of Craig County. The lower contact is disconformable. The upper contact with the Huntersville Chert appears to be conformable.

Moccasin or Bays Formation through Blackford Formation (Ordovician) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Moccasin Formation, Bays Formation, Unit C, Unit B, and Unit A. Moccasin Formation (Campbell, 1894). Mudstone, shale, imestone, and sandstone. Mudstone and shale, dusky-red to dark-reddish-brown, calcareous, ripple-marks, and mud cracks common. Limestone, light-olive-gray, weathers very-light gray, aphanic with "birds-eyes", locally fossiliferous. The limestone generally is the middle member of the Moccasin southwest of Giles County. In eastern Giles County and northeastward a thin medium-grained, gray sandstone occurs near the base of the Moccasin. The thickness ranges from 0 in northern Alleghany County to about 600 feet in Scott County. Bays Formation (Keith, 1895). Siltstone, sandstone, mudstone, and limestone. Siltstone, grayish-red, olive- to light-olive-gray, locally calcareous, sandy in part. Sandstone, light-gray to yellowish-gray, fine- to very-coarse-grained, locally conglomeratic, calcareous. Mudstone, grayish-red, olive- to light-olive-gray, mudcracks common. Limestone, grayish-red to light-olive-gray, aphanic. Five distinct K-bentonites reported by Hergenroder (1966). Contacts are conformable except perhaps in Botetourt, Roanoke, and Montgomery counties. Thickness ranges from 105 feet north of Wytheville to 890 feet near Daleville in Botetourt County. From Scott and Washington counties to Highland County and northwest of the Pulaski and North Mountain faults, a multitude of stratigraphic names have been applied to the rocks between the Bays or Moccasin (above) and the Beekmantown or Knox (below). The lack of detailed geologic mapping, except in Scott and Giles counties, the restricted area of the two major stratigraphic studies (Cooper and Prouty, 1943; Kay, 1956), and the general disagreement as to mappability and correlation of units makes it impossible to apply specific stratigraphic nomenclature at this time. Therefore, the rocks are described as three packages of lithologies (from youngest to oldest): Unit C, Unit B, and Unit A. Unit C. Limestone, medium- to dark-gray, aphanic to fine-grained with thin, medium- to coarse-grained beds, argillaceous, nodular to planar-bedded, locally very fossiliferous. The following names have been applied to Unit C: Witten, Bowen, Wardell, Gratton, Benbolt, Chatham Hill, Wassum, Rich Valley, Athens, Ottesee, Liberty Hall, Fetzer, and Giesler. Unit B. Limestone, light- to dark-gray, aphanic to coarsegrained, black and gray chert nodules, carbonate mound buildups. This unit is characterized by grainstone with interbedded micrite and chert. The overlying Unit C is very argillaceous and lacks chert. The following names have been applied to Unit B: Wardell, Gratton, Benbolt, Lincolnshire, Big Valley, McGlone, McGraw, Five Oaks, Peery, Ward Cove, Rockdell, Rye Cove, Effna, Whitesburg, Holston, Pearisburg, and Tumbez. Unit A. Dolostone, light- to medium-gray, fine-grained, locally conglomeratic, cherty. Limestone, medium- to dark gray, fine-grained, locally cherty. Shale, light-gray to dusky red. A basal chert-dolomite conglomerate with clasts as much as cobble size is locally present on the unconformity surface. The following names have been applied to Unit A: Blackford, Elway, Tumbez, Lurich (lower part), and "basal clastics".

Juniata, Reedsville, Trenton, and Eggleston Formations (Ordovician) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Juniata Formation (Darton and Taff, 1896). Siltstone, shale, sandstone, and limestone. Siltstone, shale, and sandstone, locally calcareous, grayish-red, locally fossiliferous; with some interbeds of greenish-gray shale, quartzarenite, and argillaceous limestone. Cycles consisting of a basal, crossbedded quartzarenite with a channeled lower contact; a middle unit of interbedded mudstone and burrowed sandstone; and an upper bioturbated mudstone are commonly present north of New River (Diecchio, 1985). The Juniata Formation ranges from less than 200 to more than 800 feet in thickness. In southwestern Virginia the red, unfossiliferous, and argillaceous Juniata Formation is present in the southeastern belts. It is equivalent to the gray, fossiliferous, and limy Sequatchie Formation of western belts (Thompson, 1970; Dennison and Boucot, 1974). Even though the beds along Clinch Mountain, in Scott County, contain minor amounts of carbonate rock (Harris and Miller, 1958) the majority is grayish- red siltstone, which is typical of the Juniata Formation. Reedsville Shale. Refer to description under Ou. Trenton Limestone. Refer to description under Ou. Eggleston Formation. Refer to description under Ou.

Lower Devonian and Silurian Formations Undivided (Silurian-Devonian) at surface, covers 0.6 % of this area

Some landslides with intact stratigraphic units in Craig County area. Includes: Dsu, Skrt, Sm. (Shrc?)

Elk Park Plutonic Group - Biotite augen gneiss (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 0.2 % 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).

Ashe Formation - Mica schist or phyllite (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 0.2 % 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.

Millboro Shale and Needmore Formation (Devonian) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area

Millboro Shale (Cooper, 1939; Butts, 1940). Shale, black, fissile, pyritic, with septarian concretions locally, gradational with underlying Needmore Shale; present southwest of Shenandoah County except in southwesternmost Virginia; thickness is as much as 1000 feet in north-central western Virginia. Laterally equivalent to the Marcellus Shale and Mahantango Formation to the north east and the lower part of the Chattanooga Shale to the southwest. It is gradational with the underlying Needmore Formation. Needmore Formation. Refer to description under Dmrn.

Ashe Formation - Biotite gneiss (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers < 0.1 % 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.