Geologic units in Sussex county, Virginia

Bacons Castle Formation (Tertiary) at surface, covers 57 % of this area

Tb1/Tb2 Bacons Castle Formation (upper Pliocene, Coch, 1965). Gray, yellowish-orange, and reddish-brown sand, gravel, silt, and clay; constitutes surficial deposits of high plain extending from Richmond, eastward to the Surry scarp. Unit is subdivided into two members: Tb1, massive to thick-bedded pebble and cobble gravel grading upward into cross-bedded, pebbly sand and sandy and clayey silt, and Tb2, predominantly thin-bedded and laminated clayey silt and silty fine-grained sand. Tb2 is characterized by flaser, wavy, and lenticular bedding and rare to common clay-lined burrows including Ophiomorpha nodosa. Thickness is 0 to 70 feet.

Chesapeake Group (Tertiary) at surface, covers 13 % of this area

May include the following fomations - Chowan River, Yorktown, Eastover, St. Marys, Choptank, and Calvert. Chesapeake Group (upper Pliocene to lower Miocene,Darton, 1891). Fine-to coarse-grained, quartzose sand, silt, and clay; variably shelly and diatomaceous, deposited mainly in shallow, inner- and middle-shelf waters. Ages of units based on studies of foraminiferal, nannofossil, diatom, and moluscan assemblages in Virginia and adjacent states (Andrews, 1988; Gibson, 1983; Gibson and others, 1980; Poag, 1989; Ward and Blackwelder, 1980; Ward and Krafft, 1984). Includes the following formations, from youngest to oldest: Chowan River Formation (upper Pliocene, Blackwelder, 1981). Gray to dusky-blue-green sand, fine- to medium-grained, clayey and silty, commonly very shelly; grades laterally into laminated, silty clay and upward into cross-bedded, biofragmental sand, clayey silt, and silty clay. Discontinuous pebbly to bouldery sand at very irregular base of unit. Mollusks include Glycymeris hummi, Noetia carolinensis, and Carolinapecten eboreus bertiensis. Thickness is 0 to 50 feet. Recognized only in southeasternmost Virginia and North Carolina. Yorktown Formation (lower upper Pliocene to lower Pliocene, Clark and Miller, 1906). Bluish-gray and brownish-yellow sand, fine- to coarse-grained, in part glauconitic and phosphatic, commonly very shelly, interbedded with sandy and silty blue-gray clay. In lower York and James River basins, unit includes cross-bedded shell hash. Mollusks in clude Glycymeris subovata, Chesapecten jeffersonius, Chesapecten madisonius, Mercenaria tridacnoides, Panopea reflexa. Coarse-grained sand and gravel facies of the Yorktown in updip areas is mapped separately as unit psg. Thickness is 0 to 150 feet. Eastover Formation (upper Miocene, Ward and Blackwelder, 1980). Dark-gray to bluish-gray, muddy sand, very fine to fine, micaceous, interbedded with sandy silt and clay. Lower part of unit is dominantly medium- to very-thin-bedded and laminated silt and clay interbedded with very-fine sand, lenticular and wavy bedding common; upper part is mainly very-fine- to fine-grained sand containing abundant clay laminae. Typical mol lusks include Chesapecten middlesexensis, Marvacrassatella surryensis, Glossus fraterna. Thickness is 0 to 270 feet. St. Marys Formation (upper and middle Miocene, Shattuck, 1902). Bluish- to pinkish-gray, muddy, very-fine sand and sandy clay-silt, locally abundantly shelly. Chesapecten santamaria, Buccinofusus parilis, and Ecphora gardnerae are characteristic mollusks. Occurs northeast of Mattaponi River. Thickness is 0 to 40 feet. Choptank Formation (middle Miocene, Shattuck, 1902). Olive-gray sand, fine to very-fine, clayey and silty, shelly, and diatomaceous clay-silt; common y forms fining-upward sequences. Mollusks include Chesapecten nefrens, Mercenaria cuneata, Ecphora meganae. Thickness is 0 to 50 feet. Calvert Formation (middle and lower Miocene, Shattuck, 1902). Commonly consists of 2 to 7 fining-upward sequences. Each sequence includes a light- to dark-olive-gray basal sand, very fine to fine, clayey and silty, very sparsely to abundantly shelly; grades upward to sandy, diatomaceous clay-silt and diatomite. Typical molluscs include Chesapecten coccymelus, Crassatella melinus, Ecphora tricostata. Thickness is 0 to 600 feet.

Alluvium (Quaternary) at surface, covers 12 % of this area

Fine to coarse gravelly sand and sandy gravel, silt, and clay, light- to medium-gray and yellowish-gray. Deposited mainly in channel, point-bar, and flood-plain environments; includes sandy deposits of narrow estuarine beaches, and mud, muddy sand, and peat in swamps and in fresh- and brackish-water marshes bordering tidewater rivers. Grades into colluvium along steeper valley walls at margins of unit. Mostly Holocene but, locally, includes low-lying Pleistocene (?) terrace deposits. As much as 80 feet thick along major streams.

Windsor Formation (Tertiary-Quaternary) at surface, covers 6 % of this area

Windsor Formation (lower Pleistocene or upper Pliocene, Coch, 1968). Gray and yellowish- to reddish-brown sand, gravel, silt, and clay. Constitutes surficial deposits of extensive plain (altitude 85-95 feet.) seaward of Surry scarp and of coeval, fluvial-estuarine terraces west of scarp. Fining upward sequence beneath plain consists of a basal pebbly sand grading upward into cross-bedded, quartzose sand and massive, clayey silt and silty clay; lower and upper parts of sequence were deposited, respectively, in shallow-marine or open-bay and restricted-bay or lagoonal environments. In terraces west of Surry scarp, fluvial-estuarine deposits comprise muddy, coarse, trough cross-bedded sand and gravel grading upward to sandy silt and clay. Thickness is 0 to 40 feet.

Charles City Formation (Quaternary) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Charles City Formation (lower Pleistocene (?), Johnson and Berquist, 1989). Light- to medium-gray and light-to dark yellowish and reddish-brown sand, silt, and clay composing surficial deposits of riverine terraces and coast-parallel plains at altitiudes of 70 to 80 feet. Unit is adjacent to, and inset below, the Windsor Formation and older deposits. Bay or shallow shelf facies of the Charles City (Johnson and Peebles, 1984), present beneath flat to gently seaward-sloping plain in Suffolk area, includes a thin, basal, gravelly sand grading upward into fine- to medium-grained sand and an uppermost clayey and sandy silt; lower and middle parts of unit contain clay-lined, sand-filled burrows. Fluvial-estuarine facies in terrace remnants along major rivers consists of cross-bedded gravelly sand and clayey silt. Thickness is 0 to 55 feet, or more.

Pliocene Sand and Gravel (Tertiary) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Interbedded yellowish-orange to reddish-brown gravelly sand, sandy gravel, and fine to coarse sand, poorly to well-sorted, cross-bedded in part, in cludes lesser amounts of clay and silt in thin to medium beds. Commonly caps drainage divides (altitude 250-170 feet) in western part of Coastal Plain. Lower part of unit, showing flaser and lenticular bedding and containing rare to abundant Ophiomorpha nodosa represents deposition in marginal-marine environments and is, in part, a nearshore equivalent of the more downdip, marine facies of the Yorktown Formation. In the northern part of the Coastal Plain, the more poorly sorted and less cleanly washed upper part of unit, which lacks fossils, comprises fluvial-deltaic sediments that prograded eastward across the shelf during a regressive phase of the Yorktown. To the south, the upper part of unit is massively bedded clayey sand in places containing heavy mineral concentrations that average 8 percent or more; the sands are nearshore, beach and dune origin; interstitial clay was derived, in part, from in-situ weathering of feldspar sand. Thick ness is 0 to 50 feet.

Chuckatuck Formation (Quaternary) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Chuckatuck Formation (middle(?) Pleistocene, Johnson and Berquist, 1989). Light- to medium-gray, yellowish-orange, and red dish-brown sand, silt, and clay and minor amounts of dark-brown and brownish-black peat. Comprises surficial deposits of mid-level coast-parallel plains (altitude 50-60 feet) and equivalent riverine terraces. Eastward, unit is truncated by the Suffolk scarp; westward, along major stream drainages, unit is separated from the younger topographically lower Shirley Formation by the Kingsmill scarp and equivalent estuarine scarps. Fluvial-estuarine facies includes, from bottom to top, (1) channel-fill deposits of poorly sorted, cross-bedded, pebbly and cobbly sand interbedded, locally, with peat and sandy silt rich in organic matter, (2) moderately well-sorted, cross-bedded to planar bedded, fine- to medium-grained sand grading up ward into (3) clayey silt and sandy and silty clay. Bay facies of coastwise plain includes a basal gravelly sand filling shallow paleochannels, a thin but extensive pebbly sand containing heavy mineral laminae and Ophiomorpha burrows, and an upper, relatively thick, medium- to fine-grained silty sand and sandy silt. Thickness is 0 to 26 feet.

Moorings Unit of Oaks and Coch (1973) (Tertiary) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

White, light-gray, and grayish-yellow quartzose sand and gray to grayish-brown clayey silt and silty clay. Constitutes discontinuous linear body along and just west of the Surry scarp; depositional surfaces range in altitiude from 130 feet along slightly higher, ridge-like topography at scarp to about 110 feet west of scarp. Eastern facies of unit is unfossiliferous, massive to cross-laminated, moderately well-sorted, fine sand believed to have been deposited in beach and near-shore environments. Upper part of fine sand facies interfingers westward with massive, bioturbated clay and silt deposited in a lagoon or shallow bay. Thickness is as much as 30 feet.

Mafic and Felsic Volcanic Rocks (Proterozoic) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Heterogeneous layered metavolcanic sequence includes crystal and lithic tuff, dacite porphyry, chert, phyllite, and greenstone metabasalt; greenschist-facies metamorphic mineral assemblages occur in the various lithologies. This unit correlates with the Roanoke Rapids volcanogenic complex of the eastern slate belt in North Carolina (Farrar, 1985a, 1985b; Geologic Map of North Carolina, 1985; Horton and Stoddard, 1986). To the extent that correlation with lithologically similar Carolina slate belt rocks is valid, mafic and felsic metavolcanic rocks (v) are Late Proterozoic to Cambrian in age.

Petersburg Granite (Mississippian) at surface, covers 0.5 % of this area

Light- to dark-gray to pink, fine- to coarse-grained, equigranular to porphyritic, foliated to nonfoliated, ranges from granite to granodiorite in composition; multiple intrusive phases are present. The granite contains xenoliths of biotite gneiss and amphibolite. Mineralogy: quartz + sodic plagioclase + potassium feldspar + biotite ± hornblende; accessory minerals include ilmenite, magnetite, pyrite, zircon, apatite, titanite, muscovite, and fluorite (Goodwin, 1970; Daniels and Onuschak, 1974; Wright and others, 1975). Current mapping restricts the Petersburg Granite to a contiguous unit that crops out in the Cities of Richmond and Petersburg; this roughly corresponds to one of four discrete plutons mapped as Petersburg Granite on the 1963 Geologic Map of Virginia. Samples from within this pluton were dated at 330±8 Ma (U-Pb zircon; Wright, and others, 1975). The northwestern edge of the pluton is mylonitized along the Hylas fault zone (Bobyarchick and Glover, 1979).

Shirley Formation (Quaternary) at surface, covers 0.4 % of this area

Shirley Formation (middle Pleistocene, Johnson and Berquist, 1989). Light- to dark-gray, bluish-gray and brown sand, gravel, silt, clay, and peat. Constitutes surficial deposits of riverine terraces and relict baymouth barriers and bay-floor plains (altitude 35-45 feet) inset below depositional surfaces of the Chuckatuck Formation (Johnson and Peebles, 1984). Upper part of unit is truncated on the east by the Suffolk and Harpersville scarps; locally, lower part occurs east and west of scarps. Fluvial-estuarine facies comprises (1) a lower pebble to boulder sand overlain by (2) fine to coarse sand interbedded with peat and clayey silt rich in organic material, including in-situ tree stumps and leaves and seeds of cypress, oak, and hickory, which grades upward to (3) medium- to thick-bedded, clayey and sandy silt and silty clay. Marginal-matrix facies in lower James River and lowermost Rappahannock River areas is silty, fine-grained sand and sandy silt containing Crassostrea virginica, Mulinia, Noetia, Mercenaria, and other mollusks. Astrangia from lower Rappahannock River area has yielded a uranium-series age of 184,000 ± 20,000 yrs B.P. (Mixon and others, 1982). Thickness is 0 to 80 feet.

Quaternary and Tertiary Deposits (Tertiary-Quaternary) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Quaternary and Tertiary deposits, undifferentiated. Tabb through Windsor Formations and alluvial/tidal prism deposits.

Potomac Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Potomac Formation (Lower and Upper(?) Cretaceous, McGee, 1886). Light-gray to pinkish- and greenish-gray quartzo-feldspathic sand, fine- to coarse-grained, pebbly, poorly sorted, commonly thick-bedded and trough cross-bedded. Sand is interbedded with gray to green, massive to thick-bedded sandy clay and silt, commonly mottled red or reddish-brown. Includes lesser amounts of clay-clast conglomerate and thin-bedded to laminated, carbonaceous clay and silt. In the inner Coastal Plain, unit was deposited mainly in fluvial-deltaic environments, intertongues eastward with thin glauconitic sands of shallow-shelf origin. Spore and pollen assemblages and leaf impressions of ferns and cycads indicate an Early Cretaceous age (Doyle and Robbins, 1977). In some downdip areas, uppermost part of unit may be of earliest Late Cretaceous age. Thickness ranges from a feather-edge at western limit of outcrop to more than 3500 feet in subsurface of outermost Coastal Plain.

Tabb Formation; Sedgefield Member (Quaternary) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area

Sedgefield Member (Johnson, 1976). Pebbly to bouldery, clayey sand and fine to medium, shelly sand that grades upward into sandy and clayey silt; locally channel fill at base of unit includes as much as 50 feet of fine to coarse, cross-bedded sand and clayey silt and peat containing in-situ tree stumps. Sandy bay facies commonly contains Crassostrea biostromes, Mercenaria, Anadara, Polynices, Ensis, and other mollusks. Specimens of the coral Astrangia have yielded estimated uranium-series ages averaging 71,000 ± 7,000 yrs B.P. (Mixon and others, 1982). Unit constitutes surficial deposit to river and coast-parallel plains (altitude 20-30 feet) bounded on landward side by Suffolk and Harpersville scarps. Thickness is 0 to 50 feet.