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.
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
The geological history of the surficial units of the Frankford and Delaware
portion of the Selbyville Quadrangles 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. The geology at the
land surface was then further modified by periglacial activity that produced dune deposits
in the map area. Surficial geologic mapping was conducted using field maps at a scale of
The Omar Formation was originally described (Jordan, 1962) as consisting of interbedded, gray to dark gray, quartz sands and silts with bedding ranging from a few inches to more than 10 feet thick. Thin laminae of clay are found within the fine, well-sorted sands. Silt mixed with sand generally contains some plant matter and where dark in color could be considered organic. Sands contain wood fragments, some of which are lignitic.
Rising and highstands of sea level during the middle to late Pleistocene deposited swamp to nearshore sediments along the margins of an ancestral Delaware Bay, Atlantic coastline, and tributaries to an ancestral Chesapeake Bay. These deposits are divided into three lithostratigraphic groups: the Delaware Bay Group, the Assawoman Bay Group (named herein), and the Nanticoke River Group (named herein). The Delaware Bay Group, mapped along the margins of Delaware Bay, is subdivided into the Lynch Heights Formation and the Scotts Corners Formation.
Exploration for sand resources for beach nourishment has led to an increase in the amount of geologic data available from areas offshore Delaware's Atlantic Coast. These data are in the form of cores, core logs, and seismic reflection profiles. In order to provide a geologic context for these offshore data, this cross section has been constructed from well and borehole data along Delaware's Atlantic coastline from Cape Henlopen to Fenwick Island.
The Bethany Beach borehole (Qj32-27) provides a nearly continuous record of the Oligocene to Pleistocene formations of eastern Sussex County, Delaware. This 1470-ft-deep, continuously cored hole penetrated Oligocene, Miocene, and Pleistocene stratigraphic units that contain important water-bearing intervals. The resulting detailed data on lithology, ages, and environments make this site an important reference section for the subsurface geology of the region.