Geologic units in Newport News City, Virginia

Shirley Formation (Quaternary) at surface, covers 69 % 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.

Tabb Formation; Poquoson Member (Quaternary) at surface, covers 11 % of this area

Poquoson Member (Johnson, 1976). Medium to coarse, pebbly sand grades upward into clayey fine sand and silt, light- to medium-gray; underlies ridge and swale topography (altitude ranges from sea level to 11 feet) along the margin of Chesapeake Bay and in the lower and middle parts of Coastal Plain rivers. Thickness is 0 to 15 feet.

Tabb Formation; Lynnhaven Member (Quaternary) at surface, covers 8 % of this area

Lynnhaven Member (Johnson, 1976). Pebbly and cobbly, fine to coarse gray sand grades upward into clayey and silty fine sand and sandy silt; locally, at base of unit, medium to coarse cross-bedded sand and clayey silt containing abundant plant material fill channels cut into underlying stratigraphic units. Unit is surficial deposit of broad swale that is traceable southward from Norfolk; extensive low lands bounded on landward side by river-, bay-, and ocean-facing scarps having toe altitudes of 15 to 18 feet. Thickness is 0 to 20 feet.

Chuckatuck Formation (Quaternary) at surface, covers 4 % 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.

Tabb Formation; Sedgefield Member (Quaternary) at surface, covers 3 % 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.

Windsor Formation (Tertiary-Quaternary) at surface, covers 3 % 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.

Alluvium (Quaternary) at surface, covers 1 % 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.