William "Sandy" Schenck lead a field trip through the Delaware Piedmont for the A.I. duPont High School Earth Science Class. The trip made use of the Wilmington-Western Railroad and everyone rode the railroad's "Doodle Bug." Activities included up close examinations of rock and mineral features and even "Panning for Garnets" at Brandywine Springs Park.
The Setters Formation is located in southeast Avondale, PA. Huge slabs of rock have been exposed by a gravel company that has been removing the hillside quarrying for quartzite to sell as building stone and grinding pelitic rock into gravel and stone. These slabs have a foliation with a strike of 45 degrees East of North and a southeastern dip off of the Avondale Anticline. They also display quartzite, schist, and pods of pegmatite, containing large garnets (1-2 in. diameter) and schorl tourmaline, that appear to be “sweated out of schist.” A dramatic contrast in rich type-shelf facies reflects beach sand and bogs or inlets.
In Delaware, predominantly an impure quartzite and garnet-sillimanite-biotite-microcline schist. Major minerals include microcline, quartz, and biotite with minor plagioclase, and garnet. Muscovite and sillimanite vary with metamorphic grade. Accessory minerals are iron-titanium oxides, zircon, sphene, and apatite. Microcline is an essential constituent of the quartzites and schists and serves to distinguish the Setters rocks from the plagioclase-rich schists and gneisses of the Wissahickon Formation.
This report accompanies a new map that revises the original bedrock geologic maps of the Delaware Piedmont compiled by Woodruff and Thompson and published by the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) in 1972 and 1975. Combined detailed mapping, petrography, geochemistry, and U-Pb geochronology have allowed us to redefine two rock units and formally recognize eleven new units. A section of the Pennsylvania Piedmont is included on the new map to show the entire extent of the Mill Creek Nappe and the Arden Plutonic Supersuite.
The Setters Formation, identified on the southeast side of Pleasant Hill valley in well Cb13-16, contains the prograde mineral assemblages (1) microcline, biotite, and sillimanite +/- garnet, and (2) microcline, biotite, sillimanite, and muscovite +/- garnet. These pelitic assemblages allow us to infer peak metamorphic conditions between 620Â° and 680Â°C and 4 to 6 kilobars pressure, if PH20/Pfluid is > 0.5. There is some evidence in the drill cuttings to indicate that partial melting accompanied the formation of sillimanite, thus constraining peak temperature to > 640Â°C.
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.
All the rock units in Delaware’s Piedmont are highly deformed. Deformational features, such as folds, faults, and/or joints, are present in almost every outcrop.
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.
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.
The State of Delaware is located within two physiographic provinces, the Appalachian Piedmont and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The Fall Zone divides these two provinces and essentially runs parallel to Delaware Rt. 2, Kirkwood Highway.