Geologic units in Roanoke City, Virginia

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Rome Formation (Cambrian) at surface, covers 68 % of this area

Pumpkin Valley Shale and Rome Formation. Pumpkin Valley Shale (Bridge, 1945). Shale, light-greenish-gray to dark-greenish-gray, grayish-brown, and maroon; a few beds of similar colored siltstone; sparse beds of limestone and dolostone. The Pumpkin Valley Shale conformably overlies the Rome Formation. The formation is approximately 350 feet thick. Harris (1964) identified the Pumpkin Valley Shale of Southwest Virginia as a formation within the Conasauga Group; however, because of similar lithologies it is often indistinguishable from the Rome Formation and the two formations commonly are mapped together. Rome Formation (Hayes, 1891). Siltstone, shale, sandstone, dolostone, and limestone. Siltstone and shale, greenish-gray and grayish-red, laminated to thin-bedded. Sandstone, micaceous, locally glauconitic, greenish-gray and reddish-gray, very-fine- to medium-grained, thin-bedded. Dolostone, light- to dark-gray, aphanic to medium-grained, thin-to massive-bedded, with ripple marks and mudcracks. Lime stone, argillaceous, very-light-gray to dark-gray, thin- to medium- bedded. Carbonate rocks range from sparse 1- to 2- feet-thick beds in western Scott County to discontinuous units as much as 50 feet thick which comprise 30 to 40 percent of the formation in western Russell and Washington counties (Evans and Troensegaard, 1991; Bartlett and Webb, 1971). Maximum recorded thickness is 1500 feet in the Clinchport area (Brent, 1963); although this may have included the Pumpkin Valley Shale. A complete thickness has not been determined because the lowermost part of the Rome Formation is normally absent due to faulting.

Elbrook Formation (Cambrian) at surface, covers 17 % 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.

Shady Dolomite (Cambrian) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Shady Dolomite (Keith, 1903). Dolostone with minor limestone and shale divided into three members: Ivanhoe (upper) Member; Austinville (middle) Member, and Patterson (lower) Member. Ivanhoe Member, dark-gray, fine-grained limestone and minor interbedded black shale; 100 to 500 feeet thick. Austinville Member, very-light-gray to cream colored, fine- to medium-grained, crystalline or saccharoidal, massive-bedded dolostone with several sequences of interbedded limestone, very-dark-gray dolostone or mottled dolostone and shale; 1000 feet thick. Patterson Member, medium- to dark-gray, fine-grained, thin-bedded dolostone or limestone with siliceous partings and intraformational brec ia beds; 800 feet thick. The Shady Dolomite is gradational with the underlying Erwin Formation and the upper two members grade southeastward into shaly dolostone with biohermal mounds, intraformational limestone or dolostone breccias, oolitic limestone, and arenaceous limestone and dolostone. This upper,southeastern facies, is in part equivalent to beds in the lower Rome Formation (Pfi el and Read, 1980). The Shady is very poorly exposed except near New River in Wythe and Smyth counties where it is at least 2100 feet thick and where major lead and zinc deposits were mined from the upper members (Currier, 1935).

Moccasin or Bays Formation through Blackford Formation (Ordovician) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Moccasin Formation, Bays Formation, Unit C, Unit B, and Unit A. Moccasin Formation (Campbell, 1894). Mudstone, shale, imestone, and sandstone. Mudstone and shale, dusky-red to dark-reddish-brown, calcareous, ripple-marks, and mud cracks common. Limestone, light-olive-gray, weathers very-light gray, aphanic with "birds-eyes", locally fossiliferous. The limestone generally is the middle member of the Moccasin southwest of Giles County. In eastern Giles County and northeastward a thin medium-grained, gray sandstone occurs near the base of the Moccasin. The thickness ranges from 0 in northern Alleghany County to about 600 feet in Scott County. Bays Formation (Keith, 1895). Siltstone, sandstone, mudstone, and limestone. Siltstone, grayish-red, olive- to light-olive-gray, locally calcareous, sandy in part. Sandstone, light-gray to yellowish-gray, fine- to very-coarse-grained, locally conglomeratic, calcareous. Mudstone, grayish-red, olive- to light-olive-gray, mudcracks common. Limestone, grayish-red to light-olive-gray, aphanic. Five distinct K-bentonites reported by Hergenroder (1966). Contacts are conformable except perhaps in Botetourt, Roanoke, and Montgomery counties. Thickness ranges from 105 feet north of Wytheville to 890 feet near Daleville in Botetourt County. From Scott and Washington counties to Highland County and northwest of the Pulaski and North Mountain faults, a multitude of stratigraphic names have been applied to the rocks between the Bays or Moccasin (above) and the Beekmantown or Knox (below). The lack of detailed geologic mapping, except in Scott and Giles counties, the restricted area of the two major stratigraphic studies (Cooper and Prouty, 1943; Kay, 1956), and the general disagreement as to mappability and correlation of units makes it impossible to apply specific stratigraphic nomenclature at this time. Therefore, the rocks are described as three packages of lithologies (from youngest to oldest): Unit C, Unit B, and Unit A. Unit C. Limestone, medium- to dark-gray, aphanic to fine-grained with thin, medium- to coarse-grained beds, argillaceous, nodular to planar-bedded, locally very fossiliferous. The following names have been applied to Unit C: Witten, Bowen, Wardell, Gratton, Benbolt, Chatham Hill, Wassum, Rich Valley, Athens, Ottesee, Liberty Hall, Fetzer, and Giesler. Unit B. Limestone, light- to dark-gray, aphanic to coarsegrained, black and gray chert nodules, carbonate mound buildups. This unit is characterized by grainstone with interbedded micrite and chert. The overlying Unit C is very argillaceous and lacks chert. The following names have been applied to Unit B: Wardell, Gratton, Benbolt, Lincolnshire, Big Valley, McGlone, McGraw, Five Oaks, Peery, Ward Cove, Rockdell, Rye Cove, Effna, Whitesburg, Holston, Pearisburg, and Tumbez. Unit A. Dolostone, light- to medium-gray, fine-grained, locally conglomeratic, cherty. Limestone, medium- to dark gray, fine-grained, locally cherty. Shale, light-gray to dusky red. A basal chert-dolomite conglomerate with clasts as much as cobble size is locally present on the unconformity surface. The following names have been applied to Unit A: Blackford, Elway, Tumbez, Lurich (lower part), and "basal clastics".

Conococheague Formation (Cambrian) at surface, covers 3 % 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 conglomrate, 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 over lies the Elbrook Formation.

Chilhowee Group (Cambrian) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Chilhowee Group (Keith, 1903). The Chilhowee Group includes the Antietam, Harpers, and Weverton Formations in the northeastern portion of the Blue Ridge Province and the Erwin, Hampton, and Unicoi Formations in the southwestern portion of the Blue Ridge Province. Antietam Formation (Williams and Clark, 1893). Quartzite, medium-gray to pale-yellowish-white, fine- to medium grained, locally with very minor quartz-pebble conglomerate, cross-laminated, medium- to very-thick-bedded, very resistant, forms prominent cliffs and ledges, contains a few thin interbeds of light-gray phyllite, has calcareous quartz sandstone at the top that is transitional with the overlying Tomstown Dolomite, and many beds contain Skolithos linearras. It is laterally equivalent to the Erwin Formation to the southwest. The formation interfingers with the underlying Harpers Formation and ranges in thickness from less than 500 feet in Clarke County to nearly 1000 feet in Rockingham County (Gathright and Nystrom, 1974; Gathright, 1976). Harpers Formation (Keith, 1894). Metasandstone, metasiltstone, and phyllite. Metasandstone, dark-greenish gray to brownish-gray, fine-grained, sericitic, thin- to medium-planar bedded, locally bioturbated, Skolithos-bearing litharenite; dark-gray, fine-grained, cross-laminated, thickbedded, laterally extensive bodies of quartzite; and very-dark gray, medium- to coarse-grained, thick-bedded, ferruginous, very resistant, quartzitic sandstone. These beds were extensively mined for iron ore north of Roanoke (Henika, 1981). Metasiltstone, dark-greenish-gray, thin, even bedded, sericitic, and locally bioturbated. Phyllite, medium- to light-greenish gray, bronze weathering, laminated, sericitic. The Harpers is laterally equivalent to the Hampton Formation to the southwest and they are so similar that the names have been used interchaneably in the northern Blue Ridge (Gathright, 1976; Brown and Spencer, 1981). The Harpers conformably overlies the Weverton or Unicoi Formations, thickens northeastward from about 1500 feet north of Roanoke to about 2500 feet in Clarke County. The thicker sections are dominated by phyllite and metasiltstone and the thinner sections by metasandstone and quartzite. Weverton Formation (Williams and Clark, 1893). Quartzite, metasandstone, and phyllite. Quartzite, medium- to very dark-gray, weathers light-gray, fine- to coarse-grained, well rounded quartz-pebble conglomerate beds locally, medium- to thick-bedded, cross-bedded, very resistant, with interbedded metasandstone, dark-greenish- gray, feldspathic, thick-bedded, with ferruginous cement in some beds. Phyllite, light- to dark-greenish-gray or dark-reddish-gray, laminated, sericitic, with coarse sand grains and quartz-pebble conglomerate in a few thin beds, generally in lower part. Formation ranges in thickness from more than 600 feet in Clarke County to less than 200 feet in Augusta County (Gathright and Nystrom, 1974; Gathright and others, 1977). The Weverton is lithologically very similar to strata in the upper portion of the Unicoi Formation to the south to which it may be equivalent. The Weverton appears to unconformably overlie the Catoctin and Swift Run Formations and the Blue Ridge basement complex and is present northeast of Augusta County.

Layered Porphyrobliastic Pyroxene Granulite (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Leucocratic to mesocratic, segregation-layered quartzofeld-spathic granulite contains prominent potassium feldspar porphyroblasts; major mineralogy, quartz, plagioclase, K- feldspar, orthopyroxene or clinopyroxene, and magnetite-ilmenite; hornblende, reddish-brown biotite, and garnet are widespread minor constituents. Accessory minerals include apatite and zircon. Segregation layering is defined by millimeter- to centimeter scale quartz-feldspar- and pyoxene-rich domains; migmatitic leucosomes of alkali feldspar and blue quartz are common. This rock-type is considered to be pre-Grenville-age country rock, although no radiometric data is available.

Beekmantown Group (Ordovician) at surface, covers 0.7 % 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.

Juniata, Reedsville, Trenton, and Eggleston Formations (Ordovician) at surface, covers 0.5 % of this area

Juniata Formation (Darton and Taff, 1896). Siltstone, shale, sandstone, and limestone. Siltstone, shale, and sandstone, locally calcareous, grayish-red, locally fossiliferous; with some interbeds of greenish-gray shale, quartzarenite, and argillaceous limestone. Cycles consisting of a basal, crossbedded quartzarenite with a channeled lower contact; a middle unit of interbedded mudstone and burrowed sandstone; and an upper bioturbated mudstone are commonly present north of New River (Diecchio, 1985). The Juniata Formation ranges from less than 200 to more than 800 feet in thickness. In southwestern Virginia the red, unfossiliferous, and argillaceous Juniata Formation is present in the southeastern belts. It is equivalent to the gray, fossiliferous, and limy Sequatchie Formation of western belts (Thompson, 1970; Dennison and Boucot, 1974). Even though the beds along Clinch Mountain, in Scott County, contain minor amounts of carbonate rock (Harris and Miller, 1958) the majority is grayish- red siltstone, which is typical of the Juniata Formation. Reedsville Shale. Refer to description under Ou. Trenton Limestone. Refer to description under Ou. Eggleston Formation. Refer to description under Ou.

Charnockite (Proterozoic Y) at surface, covers 0.5 % of this area

Includes dusky-green, mesocratic, coarse- to very-coarse-grained, equigranular to porphyritic, massive to vaguely foliated pyroxene-bearing granite to granodiorite; contains clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene, intermediate-composition plagioclase, potassium feldspar, and blue quartz. Reddish-brown biotite, hornblende, and poikilitic garnet are present locally; accessory minerals include apatite, magnetite-ilmenite, rutile, and zircon. Geophysical signature: charnockite pods in the southeastern Blue Ridge produce a moderate positive magnetic anomaly relative to adjacent biotite gneisses, resulting in spotty magnetic highs. This unit includes a host of plutons that are grouped on the basis of lithology, but are not necessarily consanguineous. These include Pedlar charnockite, dated at 1075 Ma (U-Pb zircon, Sinha and Bartholomew, 1984) and Roses Mill charnockite (Herz and Force, 1987), dated at 1027±101 Ma (Sm-Nd, Pettingill and others, 1984).

Millboro Shale and Needmore Formation (Devonian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % 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.