Open-File Report 50 presents and describes a database of geochronological information for coastal deposits of the US Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as for sites from the Pacific coast of South America. This database represents a synthesis of nearly forty years of study conducted by John F. Wehmiller and students in the Department of Geological Sciences, University of Delaware, as well as many collaborating colleagues.
65 mya through today
The geological history of the surficial units of the Millsboro Quadrangle and
Delaware portion of the Whaleysville Quadrangle was the result of deposition of the
Beaverdam Formation during the late Pliocene and its subsequent modification by
erosion and deposition related to sea-level fluctuations during the Pleistocene and late
Pleistocene upland swamp and bog deposition. The geology at the land surface was then
further modified by periglacial activity that produced dune deposits and Carolina Bays in
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 geology of Delaware includes parts of two geologic provinces: the Appalachian Piedmont Province and the Atlantic Coastal Plain Province. The Piedmont occurs in the hilly northernmost part of the state and is composed of crystalline metamorphic and igneous rocks. This chart summarizes the age and distribution of the geologic units that are recognized in the state by the Delaware Geological Survey.
In Delaware, the oldest unit of the Atlantic Coastal Plain is the Potomac Formation. Sediment eroded from the Appalachian Mountains was deposited in rivers and swamps in a tropical climate along the margins of the forming ocean during the latter part of Early Cretaceous time, about 120 million years ago.