Magothy Formation

Sand, quartz, fine- to coarse-grained, locally gravelly (especially at the base), white; weathers yellow brown or orange brown, interbedded with thin-bedded clay or dark-gray clay-silt mainly at the top of the formation. Muscovite and feldspar are minor sand constituents. Large wood fragments occur in many clay layers. Clay weathers to gray brown or white. Formation characterized by local vertical and lateral facies changes. The Magothy is best exposed and thickest (about 80 m (262 ft)) in the Raritan Bay area. The outcrop belt is widest in the north and narrows to the southwest. The formation is about 25 m (82 ft) thick or less in the southern sheet. The formation is poorly exposed because of its sandy nature and its widespread cover by younger sediments. The old geologic map of New Jersey (Lewis and Kmmel, 1910-1912, revised 1950) showed the Magothy to consist of only one lithology (Cliffwood beds at Cliffwood Beach, Monmouth County). Subsequent pollen studies of the Magothy and the underlying Raritan Formation showed most of the Raritan to be the same age as the Magothy. Wolfe and Pakiser (1971) redefined and considerably expanded the Magothy. Kmmel and Knapp (1904) had already recognized that the Magothy, as used here, contained a large number of lithologies. At the time of their study, the Magothy was extensively mined for clay and sand and was well exposed. Their subdivisions had economic designations (for example, Amboy stoneware clay). Barksdale and others (1943) later gave geographic names to these subdivisions, discussed individually below. The lower contact of the Magothy in the Delaware River valley is difficult to place because the lower part of the Magothy is lithically similar to the underlying Potomac Formation. The contact is placed at the base of the lowest dark-gray clay in the Magothy. The best faunas from the Magothy were obtained from siderite concretions and slabs in and near Cliffwood Beach representing only the top of the formation. These faunas were discussed in detail by Weller (1904, 1907) and supplemented by Sohl (in Owens and others, 1977). The presence of Ostrea cretacea in the Cliffwood Beach fauna suggests that the upper part of the Magothy is late Santonian in age. Wolfe and Pakiser (1971) and Christopher (1979, 1982) discussed the microfloral assemblage in the Magothy. Christopher subdivided the Magothy into three zones: Complexipollis exigua-Santalacites minor (oldest), Pseudoplicapollis longiannulata-Plicapollis incisa (middle), and Pseudoplicapollis cuneata-Semioculopollis verrucosa (youngest). The oldest zone, originally considered to be as old as Turonian, was subsequently considered to be post-Coniacian Christopher, 1982). The middle and upper zones are also probably Santonian. Christopher (1979) followed the nomenclature for the subdivisions elaborated upon earlier. The Cliffwood and Morgan beds, and, presumably the upper thin-bedded sequence, would include the youngest pollen zone; the Amboy Stoneware Clay Member and perhaps the uppermost part of the Old Bridge Sand Member, the middle pollen zone; and the lower part of the Old Bridge Sand Member and South Amboy Fire Clay Member, the oldest pollen zone. The Magothy is considered herein to be of Santonian age. Cliffwood beds - Typically very sandy, horizontally bedded to crossbedded, mainly small-scale trough crossbeds. Thin layers of dark, fine, carbonaceous matter are interbedded with sand. Carbonaceous units are conspicuously micaceous; the sand is less so. Sand is typically fine to medium grained and locally burrowed. Burrows include the small-diameter Ophiomorpha nodosa and some that are not clay lined. Slabs of dark-reddish-brown siderite were common at the base of the bluff at Cliffwood Beach before the outcrop was covered. Some of these slabs had many fossil molds, typically a large number of pelecypods. Lower in the section, between high and low tide level, there is a pale-gray clay-silt about 1.5 m (5 ft) thick with many small reddish-brown siderite concretions. These concretions have many fossils that were described in detail by Weller (1904). The Cliffwood beds are about 7.5 m (25 ft) thick in outcrop. Equivalents of the Cliffwood beds are exposed near the Delaware River between Trenton and Florence, Burlington County. These beds are mainly sand, as are those at Cliffwood Beach, but they tend to have more crossbedding than the typical Cliffwood strata and no burrows or marine fossils. In addition, beds of quartz gravel are present in the Cliffwood near Riverside, Burlington County. Morgan beds - Occur only in the northern part of the central sheet. They consist of interbedded, thin, dark-colored clay and fine-grained, light-colored, micaceous sand. Clay is locally more abundant in the Morgan than in the Cliffwood beds. Sand ranges from massive to locally crossbedded and locally has fine organic matter. This unit is exposed only in the South Amboy quadrangle where it is as much as 12 m (39 ft) thick. It grades downward into underlying clay. Amboy Stoneware Clay Member - Crops out only in the South Amboy quadrangle in the central sheet and is mainly dark-gray, white-weathering, interbedded clay and silt to fine-grained quartz sand. Clay has abundant, fine, carbonaceous matter and fine mica flakes. Small cylindrical burrows are abundant in this unit. Locally, the clay is interbedded with sand and contains large pieces of lignitized, bored (Teredolites) logs. Large slabs of pyrite-cemented sand are associated with the woody beds. Amber occurs in some of the wood. Unit is approximately 7.5 m (25 ft) thick, but pinches out along strike. The Amboy Stoneware is disconformable on the underlying sand. Old Bridge Sand Member - Predominantly a light-colored sand, extensively crossbedded and locally interbedded with dark-gray laminae; clay is highly carbonaceous, woody, in discontinuous beds, especially near the base. The scale of crossbedding varies from small to large. Locally, small burrows are present. Unit is as much as 12 m (39 ft) thick and rests disconformably on the underlying unit. South Amboy Fire Clay Member - Basal member of the Magothy Formation. Unit resembles the Amboy Stoneware Clay Member, particularly in its lensing character. Unit is best exposed in the central sheet in the South Amboy quadrangle and in the Delaware River valley at the base of the bluffs at Florence. The South Amboy is a dark, massive to finely laminated clay, locally oxidized to white or red. Unit fills large channels and has local concentrations of large, pyrite-encrusted, lignitized logs. Some of the clay is slumped, suggesting post-depositional undercutting during channel migration. The clay is interbedded with fine- to medium-grained, crossbedded sand. The basal contact with the underlying Raritan is well exposed in the Sayre and Fisher Pit in Sayreville, Middlesex County, where the contact is marked by a deeply weathered gravel zone.
State New Jersey
Name Magothy Formation
Geologic age Upper Cretaceous, middle and lower Santonian
Lithologic constituents
Unconsolidated > Coarse-detrital > Sand (Bed)sand, quartz, fine- to coarse-grained, locally gravelly (especially at the base), white; weathers yellow brown or orange brown; muscovite and feldspar are minor sand constituents.
Unconsolidated > Fine-detrital > Silt (Bed)interbedded with thin-bedded clay or dark-gray clay-silt mainly at the top of the formation
Unconsolidated > Coarse-detrital > Gravel (Bed)locally gravelly (especially at the base)
Unconsolidated > Fine-detrital > Clay (Bed)interbedded with thin-bedded clay or dark-gray clay-silt mainly at the top of the formation; Large wood fragments occur in many clay layers. Clay weathers to gray brown or white.

Dalton, R.F., Herman, G.C., Monteverde, D.H., Pristas, R.S., Sugarman, P.J., and Volkert, R.A., 1999, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Bedrock Geology and Topographic Base Maps of New Jersey: New Jersey Geological Survey CD Series CD 00-1; ARC/INFO (v. 7.1), scale 1:100,000.

Owens, James P., Sugarman, Peter J., Sohl, Norman F., Parker, Ronald A., Houghton, Hugh F., Volkert, Richard A., Drake, Avery A., Jr., and Orndorff, Randall C., 1998, Bedrock Geologic Map of Central and Southern New Jersey: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigations Series Map I-2540-B, 8 cross sections, 4 sheets, each size 58x41, scale 1:100,000.

Christopher, R.A., 1982, The occurrence of the Complexiopollis-Atlantipollis Zone (palynomorphs) in the Eagle Ford Group (Upper Cretaceous) of Texas: Journal of Paleontology, v. 56, p. 525-541.

Christopher, R.A., 1979, Normapolles and triporate pollen assemblages from the Raritan and Magothy Formations (Upper Cretaceous) of New Jersey: Palynology, v. 3, p. 73-122.

Lewis, J.V., and Kmmel, H.B., 1910-1912 (revised 1950), Geologic map of New Jersey: New Jersey Geological Survey, scale 1:250,000.

Wolfe, J.A., and Pakiser, H.M., 1971, Stratigraphic interpretations of some Cretaceous microfossil floras of the Middle Atlantic States: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 750-B, p. B35-B47.

Kmmel, H.B., and Knapp, G.N., 1904, The stratigraphy of the New Jersey clays, in Ries, Heinrich, and Kmmel, H.B., The clays and clay industry of New Jersey: New Jersey Geological Survey, Final Report of the State Geologist, v. 6, p. 117-209

Barksdale, H.C., Johnson, M.E., Schaefer, E.J., Baker, R.C., and DeBuchananne, G.D., 1943, The groundwater supplies of Middlesex County, New Jersey: New Jersey State Water Policy Commission Special Report 8, 160 p.

Weller, Stuart, 1904, The classification of the Upper Cretaceous formations and faunas of New Jersey: New Jersey Geological Survey Annual Report 1904, p. 145-159.

Weller, Stuart, 1907, A report on the Cretaceous paleontology of New Jersey based upon the stratigraphic studies of George N. Knapp: New Jersey Geological Survey Paleontology Service, v. 4, 1107 p.

Owens, J.P., Sohl, N.F., and Minard, J.P., 1977, A field guide to Cretaceous and lower Tertiary beds of the Raritan and Salisbury embayments, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland: Washington, D.C., American Association of Petroleum Geologists and Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, 113 p.

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Counties Burlington - Camden - Gloucester - Mercer - Middlesex - Monmouth - Salem - Somerset