Reddish-brown to brown, medium to very coarse, poorly sorted sand to silty quartz sand containing scattered gravel beds. Less than 15 ft thick and underlies a relict terrace flat that has elevations between 170 ft and 180 ft and parallels the present Delaware River. More extensive to the north in Pennsylvania (Owens, 1999; Berg et al., 1980).
Bright green, fine to coarse, shelly, glauconitic (20 to 40% glauconite), quartz sand. Silty and clayey toward the bottom and coarsens upwards. Considered to be a marine deposit (Benson, Jordan, and Spoljaric, 1985). The Piney Point aquifer coincides with the sandier portion of the unit. Ranges up to 250 feet thick in the southern portion of Kent County.
Gray to grayish-brown, clayey silt to silty clay interbedded with gray to light-gray silty to fine to coarse quartz sands. Discontinuous beds of shell are common in the sands and in the clayey silts. Found in the subsurface throughout Kent County. Interpreted to be a marine deposit. Rarely the surficial unit on the uplands in northwestern Kent County where the Columbia or Beaverdam Formations are absent. Outcrops are patchy and are too small to be shown on this map. Three major aquifers are found within the Calvert Formation in Kent County: the Frederica, Federalsburg, and Cheswold, from top to bottom, respectively (McLaughlin and Velez, 2006). Ranges up to 425 feet thick.
Light gray to blue gray, fine to medium, shelly, silty, quartz sand and clayey silt. Discontinuous beds of fine sand and medium to coarse quartz sand are common. Base of the unit is marked by a coarse to granule sand that fines upwards to a medium to fine silty sand. This sand is the Milford aquifer (Ramsey, 1997; McLaughlin and Velez, 2006). In southern Kent County, can be subdivided into upper and lower units. Lower unit consists of the fining-upward sequence from the basal sand to a hard clayey silt to silty clay that ranges in color from grayish brown to bluish gray. Upper unit consists of clean to silty, fine to medium, moderately shelly sands with thin silty clay beds. Rarely found in outcrop in the upper reaches of some of the more deeply incised streams. Outcrops are too small to be shown on this map. Found in the southern half of Kent County. Up to 140 feet thick in the southernmost part of the county.
Bioturbated, dark-greenish-gray silty clay, banded light-gray, white, and red silty clay, and glauconitic, shelly, very fine sandy silt. In the Georgetown Quadrangle, the St. Marys Formation is capped by about 5 to 15 ft of bioturbated, dark-greenish-gray silty clay. A distinct burrowed horizon separates the clay from the underlying banded clay that consists of a 10- to 15-ft thick, compact, color-banded silty clay with scattered white clayey concretions. The banded clay has a sharp contact at its base with underlying glauconitic, very fine, sandy silt. The sandy silt contains shells of the gastropod Turritella. The entire thickness of the St. Marys Formation is less than 100 ft in the Georgetown Quadrangle, thinning from its thickest in the southeast corner to about 50 ft thick in the northwest corner of the map area. Interpreted to be a marine deposit of late Miocene age (McLaughlin et al., 2008).
Subsurface temperatures were measured in instrumented boreholes for about one and one-half years at depths down to 10 feet below land surface at four locations in the State. In New Castle County, temperatures were measured periodically in the field about twice a month at three sites, and, in Sussex County, they were automatically recorded every 15 minutes at one site. The depths of interest are generally in the unsaturated zone and are subject to both daily temperature fluctuations and longer seasonal changes.
This map shows the saturated thickness of the water-table aquifer. This aquifer consists of the deposits of the Columbia Formation and those portions of the Magothy and Englishtown-Mt. Laurel formations, and Rancocas Group that are hydraulically connected with the Columbia deposits (see Groot, Demicco, and Cherry, 1983). For example, large, saturated thicknesses in the zone trending northeast-southwest near Townsend reflect the addition of the sands of the Rancocas Group to the total thickness of the sands of the overlying Columbia Formation.
Sinkholes are depressions in the land surface or holes in the ground caused by subsidence or collapse of surficial material into openings in soluble rock. Sinkholes usually develop in "karst" areas underlain by carbonate rocks. Karst is defined as "terrane with distinctive characteristics of relief and drainage arising primarily from a higher degree of rock solubility in natural waters than is found elsewhere" (Jennings, 1971, p.1). In addition to sinkholes, other features associated with karst are: caves, disappearing streams, and well-developed subsurface drainage systems.
This review summarizes the present knowledge of the subsurface geology and resource potential of southern Delaware and outlines the needs for future studies to gain further understanding of these matters. Because of the present interest in exploring for oil and gas beneath the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf it is most timely that the primary resource considered in this report be the hydrocarbon (petroleum and natural gas) potential of the State. Hydrocarbons occur in commercial quantities only in thick sections of sedimentary rock, therefore, southern Delaware (primarily Sussex County) is the focus of this study because the thickest sedimentary rock section in the State is here. Assessment of the hydrocarbon potential of this area also has bearing on other resources such as groundwater (both fresh water and subsurface brines), underground storage of natural gas, and underground waste disposal.
The Seaford area geologic mapping project (Andres and Ramsey, 1995) was conducted by Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) staff and focused on the Seaford East (SEE) and Delaware portion of the Seaford West (SEW) quadrangles (Fig. 1). Data evaluated in support of mapping from these quadrangles and surrounding areas are documented in this report.
RI37 Stratigraphic Nomenclature of Nonmarine Cretaceous Rocks of Inner Margin of Coastal Plain in Delaware and Adjacent States
Rocks of Cretaceous age deposited in continental and marginal environments, and now found along the inner edge of the northern Atlantic Coastal Plain, have historically been classified as the Potomac Group and the Potomac, Patuxent, Arundel, Patapsco, Raritan, and Magothy formations. Subdivisions of the Raritan and Magothy formations have also been recognized. Lithologic characteristics and spatial relationships of the units indicate that only the Potomac Formation and the Magothy Formation can be differentiated in northern Delaware. The complex nonmarine deposits originated on an aggrading coastal plain. Their projections into the deeper subsurface on- and offshore will be important in future studies. No changes in terminology are recommended, but careful use of stratigraphic nomenclature is urged in order to avoid confusion, especially in hydrologic applications.
This geologic map shows: (1) distribution of geologic units found at the land surface; (2) updip limit (generally the northern extent) of Miocene and Pliocene geologic units found in the subsurface; and (3) locations of major subsurface faults that affected deposition of the Miocene and Pliocene geologic units. The geologic units shown are defined on their dominant lithologies (i.e., sand, silt, clay) and other characteristics such as presence or absence of shells or other fossils and range of colors.
This Bulletin presents the subsurface stratigraphy of the post-Potomac Cretaceous and Tertiary rocks of the Atlantic Coastal Plain of central Delaware, between the Chesapeake and Delaware (C & D) Canal and Dover. Geophysical log correlations supported by biostratigraphic and lithologic data from boreholes in Delaware and nearby New Jersey provide the basis for the report. The stratigraphic framework presented here is important for identifying subsurface stratigraphic units penetrated by the numerous boreholes in this part of Delaware, particularly those rock units that serve as aquifers, because such knowledge allows for better prediction at ground-water movement and availability. Also, accurate stratigraphy is a prerequisite for interpreting the geologic history of the rocks and for the construction of maps that depict the structure and thickness of each unit.
B18 Clay and Clay-Size Mineral Composition of the Cretaceous-Tertiary Section, Test Well Je32-04, Central Delaware
This study complements Delaware Geological Survey Bulletin No. 17 and deals exclusively with clays and clay-size minerals. The cored section at the location of Je32-04 has been subdivided into 25 clay zones on the basis of major changes in trends and degree of crystallinity of clay minerals. The composition of clay minerals varies from zone to zone. These clay minerals have been identified: kaolinite, berthierine, chlorite, illite, smectite, chlorite/smectite, illite/smectite, glauconite/smectite, and glauconite pellets. Other minerals present in the section include: zeolites (clinoptilolite-heulandite), gypsum, and elemental sulfur.
A cored well 1,422 feet (433 meters) deep drilled two miles southeast of Dover is the basis for this integrated study of the lithology and paleontology of the Cretaceous-Tertiary section in central Delaware. The section is subdivided into lithostratigraphic, biostratigraphic, chronostratigraphic, and heavy mineral units. Data and results are presented on a common base in three plates.
B13 Geology, Hydrology, and Geophysics of Columbia Sediments in the Middletown-Odessa Area, 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 – Eocene age). The contact between the Rancocas and Columbia Formations is an erosional unconformity.
Southern New Castle County has a land area of 190 square miles in north-central Delaware. It is predominantly a rural area with a population of about 9,000 people who are engaged chiefly in agriculture. By and large, the residents are dependent upon ground water as a source of potable water. This investigation was made to provide knowledge of the availability and quality of the ground-water supply to aid future development. The climate, surface features, and geology of the area are favorable for the occurrence of ground water. Temperatures are generally mild and precipitation is normally abundant and fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The topography of the area is relatively flat and, hence, the streams have low gradients. The surface is underlain to a considerable depth by highly permeable unconsolidated sediments that range in age from Early Cretaceous to Recent.
Field reconnaissance, geologic mapping, and photogeologic interpretations aided collectively in the identification of 30 potential high-yield well sites in the crystalline rocks of Delaware's western Piedmont. Fracture traces discernable on panchromatic and color infrared photography were identified in the study area. Well locations were selected on individual traces and on fracture trace intersections. Six test wells averaging 468.5 feet in depth were drilled at selected sites. Test analyses indicate that production wells at these sites would have a combined potential estimated at 1.0 to 1.1 million gallons per day of water. A thorough knowledge of the hydrogeologic framework is key to successful ground-water exploration and development. Subsurface fracturing is of prime importance in governing the water-yielding properties in the crystalline rocks. The surface traces of vertical or near-vertical zones of subsurface rock fracture were identified and used as an aid in high-capacity well siting.
Delaware’s oldest rocks are metamorphic crystalline rocks of the central Appalachian Piedmont Physiographic Province. Atlantic Coastal Plain sediments overlie the crystalline rocks of the Piedmont and range in thickness from a feather edge at the Fall Line to approximately 9,000 feet in the southeastern corner of Delaware. Sediments range in age from Early Cretaceous to Holocene.