Share

First State Geology Newsletter Signup

First State Geology has been the newsletter of DGS for over 25 years.

Click here to signup!

Site content related to keyword: "Wilmington Complex"

Geochemical Data of Mafic Rocks in Delaware Piedmont, PA and MD

Geochemical Data of Mafic Rocks in Delaware Piedmont, PA and MD

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.

Outcrop Bd44-b: Bringhurst Gabbro boulders in Shellpot Creek

Rock Outcrop Bd44-b: Bringhurst Gabbro boulders in Shellpot Creek

Found in the creek bed and flood plain, the large boulders in Shellpot Creek are excellent examples of Bringhurst Gabbro. The gabbro is very coarse-grained with crystals up to 2" long; however, variations in the grain size exist over a scale of a few inches. While observing this rock closely, one can occasionally find grains of orthopyroxene (possibly bronzite) up to 4" long. Some of the boulders have grains of olivine surrounded by double coronas of orthopyroxene, spinel, and hornblende.

Geologic History of the Delaware Piedmont

Fig A. Cross section of eastern North America as it may have looked 543 million years ago, active volcano is offshore.

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.

RI60 Geochemistry of the Mafic Rocks, Delaware Piedmont and Adjacent Pennsylvania and Maryland: Confirmation of Arc Affinity

RI60 Geochemistry of the Mafic Rocks, Delaware Piedmont and Adjacent Pennsylvania and Maryland: Confirmation of Arc Affinity

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.

Exploring the Wilmington Blue Rocks: A GeoAdventure in the Delaware Piedmont

Blue Rocks at Greenway

The Wilmington blue rock, Delaware's most famous rock, underlies both the city of Wilmington and the rolling upland north and east of the city. It is best exposed along the banks of the Brandywine Creek from south of Rockland to the Market Street Bridge. Along this section the Brandywine has carved a deep gorge in the blue rock. The water fall along this four mile gorge is approximately 120', and in the 17th and 18th centuries provided water power for one of the greatest industrial developments in the American colonies. The field trip stops described below are chosen as good examples of blue rock along the Brandywine Creek, and to illustrate how the geology has influenced the development of this area. It is not necessary to visit every stop to become familiar with the blue rocks, you may choose to visit only a few.

Piedmont Rock Units

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 Delaware Piedmont by the Delaware Geological Survey.

What are GeoAdventures?

The Wilmington Western Railroad follows the Red Clay Valley through the Delaware Piedmont cutting through many of the Piedmont rock units.

GeoAdventures are designed to allow the reader to learn about a particular geologic point of interest in Delaware’s Piedmont province and then take a short field trip to that area. Want to know more about the Wilmington blue rock or Brandywine blue granite? Take the Wilmington Blue Rock GeoAdventure and go see just what the blue rock looks like.

Overview of the Piedmont

The Piedmont is defined by hard crystalline rocks north of the fall zone.

The Appalachian Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain are physiographic provinces that are separated by the fall zone. The fall zone (also called the Fall Line) is the contact where the hard crystalline rocks of the Piedmont dip under and disappear beneath the sediments of the Coastal Plain. The landscape and rock types shown in northern Delaware are classical examples of the larger geologic features that dominate the geology of eastern North America.

GM13 Geologic Map of New Castle County, Delaware

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. Geologic maps are also used to identify geologic hazards, such as sinkholes and flood-prone areas, to identify sand and gravel resources, and for supporting state, county, and local land-use and planning decisions.

Map Scale: 
100,000
This page tagged with: