Geochemical data from Ordovician and Silurian mafic rocks in the Wilmington Complex in Delaware, the James Run Formation in Cecil County, Maryland, and the Wissahickon Formation in Delaware and Pennsylvania were collected in conjunction with preparation of a new geologic map of the Delaware-Pennsylvania Piedmont. Although concentrations of most elements may have been disrupted by metamorphism, the more stable high field strength elements, including the rare earth elements (REE), are consistent within mapped lithodemic units and are compared to modern basaltic magmas from relatively well known tectonomagmatic environments.
Our results are similar to those for other Appalachian mafic rocks and suggest a suprasubduction zone tectonic setting for the Wilmington Complex and the James Run Formation in Cecil County, Maryland. Thus, the rocks of the Wilmington Complex plus the James Run Formation in Cecil County may be stages in a continuum that records the temporal magmatic evolution of an arc complex.
Radiocarbon dates from 231 geologic samples from the offshore, coastal, and upland regions of Delaware have been compiled along with their corresponding locations and other supporting data. These data now form the Delaware Geological Survey Radiocarbon Database. The dates range from a few hundred years to approximately 40,000 yrs (40 ka) BP (before present). All dates younger than about 18,000 yrs have been calibrated using the method of Stuiver and Reimer (1993). A plot of the dates versus the elevations of the samples shows four distinct groupings: those associated with the rise of sea level during the Holocene, those from the uplands, those in modem stream valleys, and those older than the detectable range of present radiocarbon techniques. A fifth group of samples in the 20-38 ka range and from below present sea level are ambiguous and were previously used as evidence for a mid-Wisconsinan high sea stand (Milliman and Emery, 1968).
The occurrences of earthquakes in northern Delaware and adjacent areas of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey are well documented by both historical and instrumental records. Over 550 earthquakes have been documented within 150 miles of Delaware since 1677. One of the earliest known events occurred in 1737 and was felt in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. The largest known event in Delaware occurred in the Wilmington area in 1871 with an intensity of VII (Modified Mercalli Scale). The second largest event occurred in the Delaware area in 1973 (magnitude 3.8 and maximum Modified Mercalli Intensity of V-VI). The epicenter for this event was placed in or near the Delaware River. Sixty-nine earthquakes have been documented or suspected in Delaware since 1871.