12 September 2014

Friday fold: Quartz vein in Catoctin Formation, Point of Rocks, Maryland

Posted by Callan Bentley

I took this image in 2005, when I was working up a geologic history of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. It’s a vein of quartz, gracefully folded within the Catoctin Formation. The exposure is along the railroad tracks at Point of Rocks, Maryland, easternmost extent of the Blue Ridge province on the north shore of the Potomac River. The Culpeper Basin begins about 100 meters to the east of this site.


Note that the Catoctin (a former basalt) has been metamorphosed to greenschist here, with a pronounced foliation. Here’s a Photoshop-highlighted and annotated view of the same fold:


It is typical when folding and foliation form at the same time due to the same consistent tectonic differential stress that the foliation should be parallel to the axial plane of the folds. We saw the same parallelism in completely different rocks in the Canadian Rockies a few weeks ago. You know what they call that? Uniformitarianism!