Geologic units in Alexandria City, Virginia

Potomac Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 59 % 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.

Shirley Formation (Quaternary) at surface, covers 26 % 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.

Pliocene Sand and Gravel (Tertiary) at surface, covers 6 % 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.

Alluvium (Quaternary) at surface, covers 4 % 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.

Bacons Castle Formation (Tertiary) at surface, covers 4 % 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.

Occoquan Granite (Cambrian-Ordovician) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Occoquan granite (Lonsdale, 1927; Drake and Froelich, 1986). Light-gray, medium- to coarse-grained, muscovite-biotite monzogranite and lesser granodiorite and tonalite. In many places the rock has a strong quartz-rod lineation, and locally, two foliations. The Occoquan has been dated at about 560 Ma (U-Pb zircon; Seiders and others, 1975), 494±14 Ma (Rb-Sr whole-rock; Mose and Nagel, 1982), and 479±9 Ma (U-Pb single-crystal zircon; J.N. Aleinikoff, written communication, 1993).

Artificial Fill (Quaternary) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Areas filled for construction and waste disposal