Geologic units in Lynchburg City, Virginia

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Ashe Formation - Biotite gneiss (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 33 % 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 27 % 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.

Ashe Formation - Moneta Gneiss (Proterozoic Z) at surface, covers 14 % of this area

Moderate-olive-brown to dusky yellowish- green to black-and-white-banded, medium- to fine-grained biotite-hornblende gneiss, with interlayers of light gray, fine-grained quartz-feldspar gneiss, amphibolite, and mica schist. Felsitic crystal tuff breccia, feldspathic conglomerate, and mafic and felsic dikes and sills are recognized within the Moneta, especially along the James River west of Lynchburg. Wang and Glover (1991) recognized two kinds of mafic metavolcanic rocks in this unit, lavas and tuffs. The lavas have well-preserved hyaloclastic textures; metatuffs commonly contain delicate mineral segregation lamination. Mineralogy: (1) quartz + plagioclase + microcline + biotite + muscovite + garnet + magnetite-ilmenite; (2) hornblende + plagioclase + biotite + quartz + magnetite-ilmenite + titanite; (3) hornblende + plagioclase + garnet + biotite + magnetiteilmenite. Geophysical signature: broad, elongate, positive magnetic anomaly. Numerous pegmatite dikes and sills concentrated within the hornblende biotite gneiss were mined for feldspar in the area between Moneta and Forest where the unit was first described by Pegau (1932). In the Lynchburg area the Moneta was mapped as Reusens Migmatite by Brown (1958). It was interpreted to be a Late Precambrian volcanic-sedimentary complex by Conley and Henika (1970) and Wang and Glover (1991). The Moneta is here assigned to the Lynchburg Group because it has an intertonguing re la tion ship with basal conglomeratic Lynchburg rocks and with similar rocks in the base of the Ashe Formation southwest of Lynchburg.

Porphyoblastic Biotite-Plagioclase Augen Gneiss (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 11 % 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).

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

Candler Formation - Phyllite and schist (Cambrian) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Medium- to dark-gray and greenish- gray mica phyllite and sandy laminated schist. Lenses and pods of feldspathic quartzite, metamorphosed quartzarenite, dolomitic marble, and dark-gray to medium-bluish-gray, laminated marble are common in the upper part. Mineralogy: quartz + albite + muscovite + chlorite + magnetite-ilmenite + epidote ± biotite ± chloritoid ± calcite. Chloritoid and magnetite porphyroblasts are common near the Bowens Creek fault. Geophysical signature: Low amplitude, linear magnetic highs are superimposed on a pronounced southeast-sloping magnetic gradient between Alligator Back units northwest of the Candler and a persistant linear magnetic trough localized along the trend of the Bowens Creek fault zone. Microstructural elements in the upper Candler indicate dextral transpression along a continuous shear zone (Bowens Creek fault zone) within the Candler outcrop belt from the Virginia-North Carolina boundary in Patrick County northeastward to at least the north end of Buffalo Ridge on the Amherst-Campbell County line. Conley and Henika (1970) and Gates (1986) hypothesized that the Bowens Creek fault is part of a major strike slip (wrench) system that is part or a continuation of the Brevard fault zone to the southwest . Northeast of the Scottsville Mesozoic basin, the Candler includes laminated metasiltstone (Ccas), ferruginous metatuff, dolomitic marble, and phyllite that are conformable above Catoctin metabasalt (Evans, 1984; Conley, 1989; Rossman, 1991); in Orange County, the Candler includes the True Blue formation of Pavlides (1989, 1990).

Mafic Igneous Complex Undivided (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Metamorphosed stratiform mafic and ultramafic rocks include: greenish-gray, locally layered, coarse-grained metagabbro; dark-greenish-black schistose metabasalt; and, gray to grayish-green talc-chlorite-tremolite schist. Mineralogy: (1) chlorite + epidote + plagioclase + quartz + titanite + ilmenite; (2) chlorite + actinolite + biotite + epidote + titanite + plagioclase + quartz; (3) chlorite + actinolite + talc + dolomite + magnetite-ilmenite; (4) tremolite + chlorite + magnetite-ilmenite; (5) serpentine + talc + chlorite + actinolite ± olivine ± augite. Geophysical signature: strike-elongate positive magnetic anomaly. Metamorphosed mafic and ultramafic complexes are generally sheet-like bodies, concordant near the base of the Alligator Back and Charlottesville Formations. In Nelson County, these rocks are cut by metagabbroic dikes (CZmd) that are likely related to the Catoctin. Hess (1933) reports a stratified association of ultramafic, mafic, and minor silicic lithologies at Schuyler which he attributes to in situ differentiation of a sheet-like concordant intrusion. Glover and others (1989) report a non-tectonized intrusive contact between Charlottesville Formation metasiltstone and ultramafic schist at Schulyer. In contrast, Conley (1985) presents evidence that ultramafic-mafic complexes in Franklin County are tectonicly-emplaced slices of oceanic crust (ophiolites). Tectonic setting and mode of emplacement for these rock assemblages remain enigmatic; correlation of complexes in the southwestern Piedmont with those in the central Blue Ridge may ultimately prove invalid.

Ultramafic Rocks (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers 1 % 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.

Alligator Back Formation - Banded marble (Proterozoic Z-Cambrian) at surface, covers 0.5 % of this area

Light- and dark-gray, laminated fine to medium-grained marble, calcareous gneiss, and schist. Mineralogy: calcite + quartz + biotite + muscovite + plagioclase + pyrite + magnetite-ilmenite. Thick to thin beds of marble are interlayered with graphitic phyllite and mica schist; the lithology grades from impure marble to calcareous metagraywacke depending on per cent age of detrital calcite present. The unit includes the Arch Marble of Brown (1958) and the Archer Creek Formation of Espenshade (1954).

Layered Quartzofeldspathic Augen Gneiss and Flaser Gneiss (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Leucocratic to mesocratic, mesoscopically-layered coarse-grained quartzofeldspathic biotite gneiss contains prominent polycrystalline quartz-feldspar augen within an anastomosing, mica-rich, schistose matrix. Major mineralogy includes quartz, plagioclase, microcline, muscovite, biotite, epidote, titanite, and ilmenite; apatite and zircon are accessory minerals. This unit is gradational into biotite granulite and gneiss (Ygb), and is at least in part derived from that unit by superimposition of cataclastic to mylonitic fabric. Includes in part Stage Road layered gneiss (Sinha and Bartholomew, 1984; U-Pb discordia from 915 Ma to 1860 Ma).