The purpose of this report is to provide information on the mining industry of Delaware as an essential component of a growing economy. The industry, particularly in sand and gravel mining, must deal with uneven regulation, land use competition, and environmental pressures. It is hoped that the information gathered here will assist planning and regulatory agencies as well as an interested general public in evaluating the role of the extractive mineral industry.
The Columbia sediments of Delaware cover almost all of the surface of the Coastal Plain portion of the State. A major unconformity separates these predominantly sandy materials from the underlying rocks of the Coastal Plain. As it includes the materials closest to the surface in most places, the Columbia has great practical importance in Delaware.
Southern New Castle County is dependent on ground water for nearly all of its water supply. The area has been undergoing development from predominately agricultural land use to urban/suburban land use (Delaware Water Supply Coordinating Council [WSCC], 2006). With this development comes a need to more accurately predict the availability of ground water to reduce the potential of overusing the resource. This report has 3 plates listed as separate files.
This map shows the saturated thickness of the Columbia Formation. The Columbia Formation covers most of the Coastal Plain of Delaware. Because it consists primarily of coarse sand, it is important to the hydrology of the area. It is an important groundwater reservoir and in most places water must pass through it to reach deeper units. The water budget of the Columbia Formation also influences runoff and baseflow components of streamflow.
The Columbia (Pleistocene) deposits of Delaware form a regional water-table aquifer, which supplies about half the ground water pumped in the State. The aquifer is composed principally of sands which occur as channel fillings in northern Delaware and as a broad sheet across central and southern Delaware. The saturated thickness of the aquifer ranges from a few feet in many parts of northern Delaware to more than 180 feet in southern Delaware.
Columbia sediments in the Middletown-Odessa area are composed of boulders, gravels, sands, silts and clays. These sediments are exposed in four gravel pits where their structures and textures were studied. Subsurface geology was interpreted on the basis of the well-log data from 40 holes drilled in the area of study. Columbia sediments were laid upon a surface made up of the greensands of the Rancocas Formation (Paleocene â Eocene age). The contact between the Rancocas and Columbia Formations is an erosional unconformity.
The Columbia deposits of Delaware form a sheet of sand with a maximum thickness of approximately 150 feet which covers most of the Coastal Plain portion of the State. The dispersal pattern, deduced from foreset dip directions of cross-bedding, indicates that the sediment entered the study area from the northeast, i.e., from the direction of the valley of the Delaware River between Wilmington and Trenton, and spread south and southeast over Delaware.
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.
Analyses of drillers' and geophysical logs, cuttings, and 29 core samples from well Nc13-3 near Greenwood, Sussex County, Delaware indicate that the 1500-foot section penetrated by the drill can be divided into seven rock-stratigraphic units: Matawan Formation, Monmouth Formation, unit A, Piney Point Formation, Chesapeake Group (undifferentiated), Staytonville unit, and the Columbia Formation. The rock units are identified on the basis of texture, mineralogy, color, and interpretation of electric and gamma-ray logs.
The ground-water recharge potential map of Kent County, Delaware, is a compilation of 1:24,000-scale maps of the water-transmitting properties of sediments in the interval between land surface and 20 ft below land surface. Water-transmitting properties are a key factor in determining the amount of water that recharges Delawareâs aquifers and the susceptibility of aquifers used as sources of water supply to contamination from near-surface pollutant sources.