Geologic units in Shenandoah county, Virginia

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Beekmantown Group (Ordovician) at surface, covers 18 % of this area

Includes the Pinesburg Station Dolomite, the Rockdale Run Formation, and the Stonehenge Limestone (northern Virginia only) or the Beekmantown Formation and Stonehenge Limestone (central and southwestern Virginia). Pinesburg Station Dolomite (Sando, 1956). Dolostone, dark- to light-gray, fine- to medium-grained, medium- to thick bedded with minor nodular white chert. It ranges from 0 to 400 feet in thickness and is equivalent to beds in the upper Beekmantown Formation. Present only in Clarke and Frederick counties and is conformable with the underlying Rockdale Run Formation and unconformable with the overlying New Market or Lincolnshire Limestones. Rockdale Run Formation (Sando, 1958). Dominantly limestone and dolomitic limestone, lesser dolostone with minor chert throughout. Limestone, light- to medium-gray, fine-grained generally, but coarse, bioclastic limestone locally, medium- to thick-bedded. Dolostone, light-gray, fine- to medium- grained, thick-bedded with "butcher block" weathering and minor nodular or bedded chert in both limestone and dolostone. Unconformably overlain by the New Market Limestone where the Pinesburg Station Dolomite is absent. It is laterally equivalent to the Beekmantown Formation and conformably overlies the Stonehenge Limestone. The formation is about 2700 feet thick. Beekmantown Formation (Clarke and Schuchert, 1899). Dominantly dolostone and chert-bearing dolostone with lesser limestone. Dolostone, light- to very-dark-gray, fine- to coarse grained, mottled light- and dark-gray, with crystalline beds locally contains nodular, dark-brown or black chert and thick, hill forming, lenticular chert beds in lower part. Limestone, very-light- to medium-gray, fine-grained, medium- to thick bedded, locally dolomitic and locally fossiliferous. The formation is present from Page and Shenandoah counties southwestward in the easternmost exposures of the Lower Ordovician rocks. It and the underlying Stonehenge Limestone, are equivalent to the Mas cot and Kingsport Dolomites of the upper part of the Knox Group. It is unconformably overlain by Middle Ordovician limestones and conformably overlies the Stonehenge Limestone. Erosion, related to the unconformity at the top of the Beekmantown Group and Knox Group, has produced erosional breccias, local topographic relief, and paleokarst topography as well as significant regional thinning of the rock units. The Beekmantown Group thins from about 3000 feet in Page County to less than 700 feet in Washington County, largely because of post-Beekmantown erosion. Stonehenge Limestone (Sando, 1956). Limestone with interbedded dolostone in north western Virginia. Limestone, dark-gray, fine-grained, laminated to massive, with black nodular chert. Dolostone, light-gray, fine-to very-coarse-grained, as thin- to medium-interbeds or as coarse- grained, massive, reefoidal bodies. Reefoidal bodies are restricted to the middle portion of the formation. The formation conformably overlies the Conococheague Formation and thins northwestward from 400 or 500 feet in the southeasternmost exposures (Page County) to a few tens of feet in the north western exposures (western Rockingham County) and is not recognizable or included in the lower Beekmantown or upper Conococheague in much of southwestern or western Virginia. It is equivalent to the lower part of the Kingsport Dolomite.

Martinsburg and Oranda Formations (Ordovician) at surface, covers 17 % of this area

Martinsburg Formation (Geiger and Keith, 1891). Three lithologic packages are recognized in the Martinsburg (in ascending order): black shale and limestone; sandstone and shale; and sandstone (Rader and Biggs, 1976). The lower unit consists of 200 to 250 feet of black calcareous shale, black aphanic, argillaceous limestone; and thin, light-brown K-bentonites. The bulk of the formation, more than 2800 feet, is composed of olive-green to gray, fine- to medium-grained, lithic sandstone and greenish-gray shale and siltstone. These lithologies occur in base-truncated Bouma cycles. Graded bedding, flute casts, and load casts are common. The upper unit, about 170 feet thick, is brownish-gray, medium- to coarse-grained, quartz sandstone. The lower two-thirds of this sandstone contains near-shore, marine fossils. Oranda Formation (Cooper and Cooper, 1946). Limestone and siltstone. Limestone, medium- to dark-gray, fine-grained, very argillaceous. Siltstone, black to dark-gray; both lithologies silicified where in contact with a K-bentonite. Five K-bentonites identified in the type section (Rader and Read, 1989).

Conococheague Formation (Cambrian-Ordovician) at surface, covers 11 % 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 conglomerate, 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 overlies the Elbrook Formation.

Ridgeley Sandstone, Helderberg and Cayugan Groups (Silurian-Devonian) at surface, covers 11 % of this area

Ridgeley Sandstone and Helderberg and Cayuga Groups. Ridgeley Sand stone (Swartz, 1913). Sandstone, gray, fine-to coarse-grained, locally conglomeratic, weathers yellowish- to dark-yellowish-brown, friable, calcareous, and fossiliferous. Thickness ranges up to 150 feet but is highly variable locally; occurs in western Virginia north of Craig County. Same as the Oriskany Sandstone of Butts (1933), and is continuous with the Rocky Gap Sandstone to the southwest. It grades downward into the Licking Creek Limestone and has been extensively mined for iron ore (Lesure, 1957). Helderberg Group: Licking Creek Limestone (Swartz, 1929). Upper member is light-gray, coarse-grained, arenaceous limestone; lower member is medium-to dark-gray, fine-grained, chert bearing limestone. Thickness ranges from 0 to150 feet and is present northeastward from Craig County; same as the Becraft (upper member) and New Scotland (lower member) of Butts (1940). It conformably over lies the Heal ng Springs Sandstone where the sandstone is present. It was extensively mined for iron with the Ridgeley Sandstone. Healing Springs Sandstone (Swartz, 1929). Sandstone, light-gray, medium- to coarse-grained, cross-laminated, and calcareous with local lenses of chert. Present in Alleghany, Bath, and Augusta Counties where it is generally less than 20 feet thick and conformably overlies the New Creek Lime stone. It appears to be a northeast extending tongue of Rocky Gap Sandstone. New Creek Limestone (Bowen, 1967; Coeymans Limestone of earlier reports). Limestone, light- to-medium gray with pink calcite crystals, very-coarse-grained, crinoidal, with lenses of quartz sandstone locally in the lower part. Occurs as local reefoidal buildups northeast of Alleghany County. Keyser Formation (Swartz, 1913). Limestone, sandstone, and shale. Limestone (upper), medium- to dark-gray, fine- to medium-grained, nodular, scattered, small chert nodules, biohermal, fossiliferous. Limestone (lower), medium- to dark-gray, fine- to coarse-grained, medium- to thick-bedded, very nodular, shaly, with thin (1- to 3-inch thick) crinoidal layers. Sandstone, medium-light-gray, medium-grained, calcareous, cross-bedded. Shale, medium-gray, calcareous. Upper and lower boundaries are conformable north of Clifton Forge. Thickness ranges from 250 feet in Highland County to 50 feet in Augusta County. In Highland and Bath counties the upper and lower limestones are separated by a calcareous shale unit (Big Mountain Shale Member). To the south and southeast the shale is replaced by sandstone (Clifton Forge Sandstone Member). From Craig County southwestward, the Keyser becomes all sandstone and is equivalent to the lower portion of the Rocky Gap Sandstone. Southwest of Newcastle the lower contact is disconformable. For mapping purposes the Keyser is considered to be part of the Helderberg Group. Cayuga Group: Tonoloway Limestone (Ulrich, 1911). Limestone, very-dark-gray, fine-grained, thin-bedded to laminated, with some arenaceous beds; celestite locally occurs in vugs and as veins. Thickness ranges from a few feet in southwestern Virginia to more than 500 feet in Highland County. It is conformable with the underlying Wills Creek Formation and equivalent to the Hancock Formation of Southwest Virginia. Wills Creek Formation (Uhler, 1905). Limestone, medium-to dark-gray, fine-grained, arenaceous, thin-bedded, with calcareous shale and mudstone, and thin, quartzose sandstone beds. Occurs only in western Virginia where the thickness ranges from 0 to more than 400 feet. It conformably over lies the Bloomsburg Formation and is laterally equivalent to the upper part of the Keefer Sandstone to the east and southwest of Craig County where the typical Wills Creek lithology is absent. Bloomsburg Formation (White, 1893): Sandstone, reddish-gray, fine-grained, thick-bedded with red mudstone interbeds. Thickness ranges from 35 to 400 feet between Frederick County and the northern Massanutten Mountains respectively. It grades into the Wills Creek Formation to the southwest, and is probably equivalent, in part, to the Keefer Sandstone southwest of Craig and Botetourt counties. McKenzie Formation (Stose and Swartz, 1912): Shale, medium-gray, yellowish weathering and interbedded sandstone, medium-gray, medium-grained, friable, thin-bedded and calcareous. Thickens northeastward from a few feet in Bath County to about 200 feet in Frederick County. It is probably equivalent in part to the Keefer Sandstone to the southwest and southeast and appears to be conformable with the Keefer Sandstone in northwestern Virginia.

Edinburg Formation, Lincolnshire and New Market Limestones (Ordovician) at surface, covers 7 % of this area

New Market Limestones (northeast of Roanoke County). Edinburg Formation (Cooper and Cooper, 1946). Limestone and shale. Limestone, dark-gray to black, aphanic, thin-bedded with thin, black shale partings, locally contorted limestone beds, intraformational limestone breccias, and olistoliths interstratified with typical planar bedded limestone (Liberty Hall lithofacies). Limestone, medium- to light-gray, fine- to coarse-grained, nodular with very thin, black shale partings (Lantz Mills lithofacies). Limestone, light-gray, medium- to coarse-grained, thick-bedded (St Luke Limestone Member). Shale, black, graptolites common, basal unit in Augusta, eastern Rockingham, and southern Page counties. Thickness ranges from 400 feet at Strasburg to approximately 100 feet west of Lexington with a maximum of nearly 1500 feet near Harrisonburg. Lincolnshire Limestone (Cooper and Prouty, 1943). Limestone, light- to dark-gray, fine- to coarse-grained, with black chert nodules. Light-gray, coarse-grained limestone probably represents carbonate mounds ( Murat limestone). Upper contact is gradational; the lower contact is disconformable. Thickness ranges from 25 feet west of Front Royal to 280 feet northwest of Lexington (Cooper and Cooper, 1946). New Market Limestone (Cooper and Cooper, 1946). Limestone, medium- to dark-gray, aphanic to fine-grained. The upper portion of the New Market, the major quarry rock of northern Virginia, is massive micrite that weathers to fluted ledges. The lower portion is dolomitic with scattered lenticular, black, pyritic limestone, locally conglomeratic at the base. Upper contact is disconformable and the lower contact is a locally angular unconformity. The thickness ranges from 0 near Staunton to 250 feet west of Edinburg.

Keefer, Rose Hill, and Tuscarora Formations (Silurian) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Keefer Sandstone (Ulrich, 1911). Sandstone, light-gray, fine-grained, cross-laminated, medium-bedded, very resistant. Thins northward and southwestward from a maximum of over 300 feet in Craig and western Botetourt counties. To the north it appears to interfinger with the Wills Creek and McKenzie Formations. The Keefer is equivalent to the upper portion of the Massanutten Sandstone. (The Keefer Sandstone, as used in this report, includes all of the quartzarenites with minor Skolithus-bearing red sand stone and minor calcite cemented quartzarenite in the interval above the Rose Hill Formation and below the Tonoloway Limestone in Botetourt, Rockbridge, and Augusta counties between Eagle Rock and Augusta Springs (Lampiris, 1976). Rose Hill Formation (Swartz, 1923). Sandstone, dark grayish-red, fine- to coarse-grained, poorly-sorted, argillaceous; hematite cemented, quartz sandstone interbedded with red or yellowish-green clay shale and greenish-gray, fine-grained sandstone. It is largely siltstone and shale with minor sandstone and thin limonitic iron ore beds in Southwest Virginia. Conformable with the underlying Tuscarora Formation, the Rose Hill Formation ranges up to 500 feet in thickness in northern and western Virginia but pinches-out in southwest ern Botetourt and Roanoke counties where the Keefer and Tuscarora For ma tions merge. It is present with other Silurian rocks everywhere except in the Massanutten Mountains or where an unconformity exists in exposures east of Walker Mountain. Tuscarora Formation (Darton and Taff, 1896). Quartzite, quartzarenite, and minor shale. Quartzite, light-gray with few nearly white, porcelaneous beds, fine- to medium-grained, with quartz-pebble conglomerate locally near base, quartz cemented, thick-bedded, and cross-bedded, resistant, cliff- and ledge-former, generally not more than 75 feet thick, comprises entire unit in many areas or is upper member where unconformably overlying a lower quartzarenite and shale member. Quartzarenite, light-yellowish-brown or medium-gray, fine-grained, thin-bedded, ranges in thickness from 0 to 175feet. Shale, light- to medium-brownish-gray, arenaceous, thin interbeds in quartzarenite. Conformably overlies the Juniata Formation in central western Virginia. Where lower member is absent the upper member unconformably overlies the Juniata, Oswego, Martinsburg, or Reedsville Formations or may be conformable with the Juniata Formation in northern Virginia. In southwestern Virginia grayish-red, fine-grained, ferruginous sandstone with lenses of coarse-grained, quartz sandstone and quartz-pebble conglomerate are included in the upper part of the formation. The Tuscarora is equivalent to the Clinch Formation and to the lower part of the Massanutten Sandstone.

Mahantango Formation (Devonian) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Mahantango Formation (Willard, 1935). Shale, siltstone, and sandstone. Shale, gray, pale-green, and black, weathers silvery gray, silty with minor interbedded siltstones; lower contact gradational with underlying Marcellus Shale. Siltstone, greenish-gray with interbedded shale. Sandstone, greenish-gray to grayish-brown, fine-grained, fossiliferous. Spheroidal weathering common in all lithologies. Thickness ranges from 0 in southwestern Shenandoah County (Butts, 1940) to approximately 1100 feet in Frederick County (Butts and Edmundson, 1966). Southwest of Shenandoah County the Mahantango Formation is indistinguishable from the underlying Marcellus Shale. They are combined and mapped as a single unit, the Millboro Shale, from southern Shenandoah County to Southwest Virginia (Rader, 1982).

Massanutten Sandstone (Silurian) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Massanutten Sandstone (Geiger and Keith, 1891).Quartzite and sandstone, very-light-gray, fine-grained, well-sorted, locally conglomeratic, thick-bedded and crossbedded, very resistant with minor shale partings in upper part. Thickness ranges from 600 to nearly 1200 feet. Present only in the Massanutten Mountains, the sandstone unconformably overlies the Martinsburg Formation and is a lateral equivalent to the Tuscarora, and Rose Hill Formations, and Keefer Sandstone (Perry, 1977).

Juniata, Oswego, Martinsburg (Reedsville and Dolly Ridge), and Eggleston Formations (Ordovician) at surface, covers 4 % of this area

Juniata Formation. Refer to description under Ous. Oswego Formation (Prosser, 1890). Sandstone, greenish gray, fine- to coarse-grained, conglomeratic with chert, quartz, and lithic pebbles. Minor interbeds of olive-gray shale with thin sandstone layers. Conformable with underlying Reedsville Shale. Present northeast of Bath and Augusta counties but thins in all directions from a maximum thickness of 500 feet in western Rockingham County (Diecchio, 1985). Reedsville Shale. Refer to description under Ou. Dolly Ridge Formation (Perry, 1972). Limestone, medium-gray, fine-grained, thin-bedded, argillaceous, with interbedded olive-gray, calcareous claystone, silty argillaceous limestone, gray shale and thin K-bentonite beds. Thickness about 400 feet in Bath and Highland counties; laterally equivalent to the Trenton Limestone and part of the lower Martinsburg Formation of previous reports in western Virginia. It is gradational with the underlying Eggleston Formation. Eggleston Formation. Refer to description under Ou. Martinsburg Formation. Refer to Om (Martinsburg and Oranda Formations) for description. The Martinsburg is only present with this map unit (Oun) in northern Rockingham County where it occupies the Reedsville Shale - Dolly Ridge Formation interval.

Marcellus Shale and Needmore Formation (Devonian) at surface, covers 4 % of this area

Marcellus Shale (Hall, 1839; Butts and Edmundson, 1966). Shale, dark-gray to black, more or less fissile, pyritic. Thickness estimated to be 500 feet in Frederick County and 350 to 400 feet in the Massanutten synclinorium (Rader and Biggs, 1976). Needmore Formation (Willard, 1939). Shale, dark or greenish gray, with thin beds or nodules of black, argillaceous limestone and the Tioga metabentonite beds (Dennison and Textoris, 1970), generally present with the Millboro or Marcellus Shale and is disconformable with the underlying Ridgeley Sand tone. Thickness ranges from 0 to 160 feet and is replaced to the southwest by the Huntersville Chert.

Chemung Formation (redefined as Foreknobs Formation) (Devonian) at surface, covers 4 % 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).

Brallier Formation (Devonian) at surface, covers 3 % 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).

Elbrook Formation (Cambrian) at surface, covers 2 % 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.

Millboro Shale and Needmore Formation (Devonian) at surface, covers 2 % 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.

Hampshire Formation (Devonian) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Wildcat Valley Sandstone (Miller, Harris, and Roen, 1964). Sandstone, limestone, and shale. Sandstone, locally calcareous, locally quartzose, light-gray, grayish-orange, and dark-yellowish-brown, very-fine- to coarse-grained, thin- to massive-bedded, fossiliferous, friable, locally glauconitic; with chert nodules and beds. Locally dark-reddish-brown ironstone replaces sandstone. Limestone, gray, pinkish-gray, and light-brownish-gray, coarse-grained, thick- to massive bedded, sandy, locally present. Shale, yellowish-green to gray, locally present. Where the Wildcat Valley Sandstone is present it uncomformably overlies the Silurian Hancock Formation. The Wildcat Valley Sandstone is absent through out most of Lee County (Englund, 1964; Harris, 1965; Miller and Roen, 1973) but reaches a maximum of 60 feet in thickness to the northeast (Lower Devonian sandstone of Harris and Miller, 1963).

Lower Devonian, Silurian and Upper Ordovician Formations Undivided (Ordovician-Devonian) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Some landslides with intact stratigraphic units in Giles County. Includes: Skrt, Sm, Oun, Ous, Ou, Om. (Shrc, Okpl?)

Tuscarora Sandstone (Silurian) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Medium- to thick-bedded, white to gray or pinkish sandstone, fine to coarse, quartzitic, ridge-forming. Equivalent to the Clinch Sandstone of Tennessee.

Lower Devonian and Silurian Formations Undivided (Silurian-Devonian) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area

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

Silurian and Upper Ordovician Formations Undivided (Ordovician-Silurian) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area

Includes: Skrt, Sm, Oun, Ous, Ou, Om. (Shrc and Okpl?)

Juniata and Oswego Formations (Ordovician) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

The Juniata is a thin-bedded, blocky, red sandstone and shale. In places it is underlain by the thick-bedded, gray Oswego Sandstone.

Upper and Middle Ordovician Formations Undivided (Ordovician) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Includes: Oun, Ous, Ou, Om, Okpl, Oeln, Oml, Ols.

Martinsburg Formation (Ordovician) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Predominantly gray to dark shale, yellowish in the upper portion. Contains scattered thin limestone and sandstone interbeds, particularly in the lower portion. The upper portion constitutes the Reedsville Shale.