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.
The microflora of the Bethany formation and the lower part of the Beaverdam Formation is characterized by a Quercus-Carya assemblage, very few non-arboreal pollen, and Pterocarya and Sciadopitys as exotic constituents. This assemblage has much in common with that of the Brandywine Formation of Maryland and the Eastover Formation of Virginia which are of late Miocene or early Pliocene age. The environment of deposition of the Bethany was probably deltaic, and that of the lower Beaverdam fluviatile.
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.
The Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) at the University of Delaware released a report that provides new insights into the underground geology and hydrology of southeastern Sussex County, Delaware. The report, "Stratigraphy and Correlation of the Oligocene to Pleistocene Section at Bethany Beach, Delaware," summarizes the results of geological investigations conducted on a 1,470-foot-deep research borehole drilled at Bethany Beach, Del.