Silurian Period

438 to 408 mya

Biotite Tonalite

Fine- to medium-grained, equigranular biotite tonalite usually occurring as rounded boulders. Tonalites are leucocratic (15 to 25% modal mafic minerals), light gray to buff on fresh surfaces, and locally contain mafic enclaves with reddish rims, the result of iron hydroxide staining. Possibly intrusive into the Perkins Run Gabbronorite Suite.

Geologic History of the Delaware Piedmont

The Delaware Piedmont is but a small part of the Appalachian Mountain system that extends from Georgia to Newfoundland. This mountain system is the result of tectonic activity that took place during the Paleozoic era, between 543 and 245 million years ago. Since that time, the mountains have been continuously eroding, and their deep roots slowly rising in compensation as the overlying rocks are removed. It is surprising to find that although the Delaware Piedmont has passed through the whole series of tectonic events that formed the Appalachians, the mineralogy and structures preserved in Delaware were formed by the early event that occurred between 470 and 440 million years ago, called the Taconic orogeny.

Perkins Run Gabbronorite Suite

Fine- to coarse-grained gabbronorite and minor diorite with subophitic to ophitic textures, variably foliated or lineated. Plagioclase, orthopyroxene, clinopyroxene, and hornblende are major minerals; biotite and olivine locally present. Olivine typically surrounded by corona structures as described for the Bringhurst Gabbro. Contemporaneous with the Ardentown Granitic Suite.

Ardentown Granitic Suite

Medium- to coarse-grained granitic rocks containing primary orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene; includes quartz norites, quartz monzonorites, opdalites, and charnockites. Feldspar phenocrysts common. Mafic enclaves locally abundant in proximity to gabbronorites.

Bringhurst Gabbro

Coarse- to very coarse-grained gabbronoite with subophitic textures. Primary minerals are plagioclase, olivine, clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene. Olivine, where present, is surrounded by an inner corona of orthopyroxene and an outer corona of pargasitic hornblende, both with spinel symplectites. The gabbronorites locally contain abundant xenoliths of mafic Brandywine Blue Gneiss.

Iron Hill Gabbro

Black to very dark green, coarse- to very coarse-grained, uralitized olivine-hypersthene gabbronorite and pyroxenite with subophitic textures. Primary minerals are calcic plagioclase, orthopyroxene, clinopyroxene, and olivine. Amphibole is secondary, a pale blue-green actinolite. Olivine, when present, is surrounded by coronas similar to those in the Bringhurst Gabbro. The gabbronorite is deeply weathered leaving a layer of iron oxides, limonite, goethite, and hematite, mixed with ferruginous jasper. The jasper contains thin seams lined with drusy quartz. Contacts with the Christianstead Gneiss are covered with sediments of the Coastal Plain.

GM13 Geologic Map of New Castle County, Delaware

This map shows the surficial geology of New Castle County, Delaware at a scale of 1:100,000. Maps at this scale are useful for viewing the general geologic framework on a county-wide basis, determining the geology of watersheds, and recognizing the relationship of geology to regional or county-wide environmental or land-use issues. This map, when combined with the subsurface geologic information, provides a basis for locating water supplies, mapping ground-water recharge areas, and protecting ground and surface water.