Geologic units in Staunton City, Virginia

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Beekmantown Group (Ordovician) at surface, covers 42 % 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.

Edinburg Formation, Lincolnshire and New Market Limestones (Ordovician) at surface, covers 21 % of this area

New Market Limestones (northeast of Roanoke County). Edinburg Formation (Cooper and Cooper, 1946). Limestone and shale. Limestone, dark-gray to black, aphanic, thin-bedded with thin, black shale partings, locally contorted limestone beds, intraformational limestone breccias, and olistoliths interstratified with typical planar bedded limestone (Liberty Hall lithofacies). Limestone, medium- to light-gray, fine- to coarse-grained, nodular with very thin, black shale partings (Lantz Mills lithofacies). Limestone, light-gray, medium- to coarse-grained, thick-bedded (St Luke Limestone Member). Shale, black, graptolites common, basal unit in Augusta, eastern Rockingham, and southern Page counties. Thickness ranges from 400 feet at Strasburg to approximately 100 feet west of Lexington with a maximum of nearly 1500 feet near Harrisonburg. Lincolnshire Limestone (Cooper and Prouty, 1943). Limestone, light- to dark-gray, fine- to coarse-grained, with black chert nodules. Light-gray, coarse-grained limestone probably represents carbonate mounds ( Murat limestone). Upper contact is gradational; the lower contact is disconformable. Thickness ranges from 25 feet west of Front Royal to 280 feet northwest of Lexington (Cooper and Cooper, 1946). New Market Limestone (Cooper and Cooper, 1946). Limestone, medium- to dark-gray, aphanic to fine-grained. The upper portion of the New Market, the major quarry rock of northern Virginia, is massive micrite that weathers to fluted ledges. The lower portion is dolomitic with scattered lenticular, black, pyritic limestone, locally conglomeratic at the base. Upper contact is disconformable and the lower contact is a locally angular unconformity. The thickness ranges from 0 near Staunton to 250 feet west of Edinburg.

Martinsburg and Oranda Formations (Ordovician) at surface, covers 16 % of this area

Martinsburg Formation (Geiger and Keith, 1891). Three lithologic packages are recognized in the Martinsburg (in ascending order): black shale and limestone; sandstone and shale; and sandstone (Rader and Biggs, 1976). The lower unit consists of 200 to 250 feet of black calcareous shale, black aphanic, argillaceous limestone; and thin, light-brown K-bentonites. The bulk of the formation, more than 2800 feet, is composed of olive-green to gray, fine- to medium-grained, lithic sandstone and greenish-gray shale and siltstone. These lithologies occur in base-truncated Bouma cycles. Graded bedding, flute casts, and load casts are common. The upper unit, about 170 feet thick, is brownish-gray, medium- to coarse-grained, quartz sandstone. The lower two-thirds of this sandstone contains near-shore, marine fossils. Oranda Formation (Cooper and Cooper, 1946). Limestone and siltstone. Limestone, medium- to dark-gray, fine-grained, very argillaceous. Siltstone, black to dark-gray; both lithologies silicified where in contact with a K-bentonite. Five K-bentonites identified in the type section (Rader and Read, 1989).

Conococheague Formation (Cambrian-Ordovician) at surface, covers 14 % 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 conglomerate, 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 overlies the Elbrook Formation.

Elbrook Formation (Cambrian) at surface, covers 7 % 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.