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20 March 2015

Friday fold: flexed turbidites

Spring is almost here! As you get ready for the equinox, enjoy this gentle fold on a Friday: These are turbidites (graywacke and shale) of the late Ordovician Martinsburg Formation, seen in Edinburg Gap, western Massanutten Range, greater Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. Bedding is flexed very slightly here, from moderately-dipping to more steep, and then back to moderate again. Slickensides on the top of some exposed layers indicate the beds shifted …

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7 May 2014

Bedding / cleavage relationships in the Edinburg Formation

Here’s a little scene along Route 340 / 522, north of Front Royal and south of Double Tollgate, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley: The rock here is limestone and shale of the Edinburg Formation, a late Ordovician unit that records the transition from passive margin sedimentation to the increasingly ‘dirty’ clastic influence of the Taconian Orogeny. Have a look: I hope you’ll notice there are layers of two distinct lithologies …

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24 March 2014

Monday migmatite

Here’s a sweet little sample of migmatite (~470 Ma late Ordovician Taconian Orogeny, U/Pb date from zircon), that my students and I spotted last week on the Billy Goat Trail, downstream of Great Falls in Maryland’s metamorphic Piedmont province: Note the white translucent quartz, the orangey (partially kaolinitized and rusty stained) opaque potassium feldspar, and the shreds of biotite torn and tangled between them: I love the fact that I …

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20 March 2014

Montoya Group fossils and faults on the Crazy Cat landslide

Today, I initiate a series of posts based on some of the geology I saw over spring break, in west Texas and southern New Mexico, on the field exchange between Northern Virginia Community College and El Paso Community College that I helped facilitate. We spent our first morning in the field in the Franklin Mountains, due north of El Paso (and, for that matter, Ciudad Juarez). It was unseasonably cold …

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2 May 2013

A coiled nautiloid, namesake of a vintage

Callan and his family visit a Virginia winery that features tasty libations and chunky nautiloid fossils, both products of the same local geology…

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1 May 2013

Graptolites!

Following a tip from a colleague, Callan finds a rich trove of fossil graptolites in Ordovician shales exposed at Mint Spring, Virginia.

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30 April 2013

Strained metaconglomerate in Klingle Valley, DC

Following on yesterday’s post about the kink bands within the strained metagraywacke of the Laurel Formation in DC, let’s take the opportunity today to go to Klingle Valley, site of a different facies within the Laurel Formation: a strained metaconglomerate. Though the exposure isn’t as great as the Purgatory Conglomerate, I think you’ll find plenty to hold your attention in these rocks. Close looks will reveal sericite-after-staurolite pseudomorphs (evidence of …

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29 April 2013

Kink bands in highly strained Laurel Formation, Rock Creek Shear Zone, DC

Last week before GSW, I spent several pollen-choked hours in Rock Creek Park, GigaPanning some of the rocks of the Rock Creek Shear Zone. Here are some exposures in the bed of Broad Branch that show lovely kink banding. In at least one spot, you can see a conjugate pair, so these rocks were (1) sheared out in a ductile shear zone, producing the foliation, and then (2) compressed under …

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21 April 2013

Sleeping Inn with the Martinsburg Formation

Three new GigaPans I shot last Friday east of Staunton, Virginia, at a semi-legendary exposure behind the Sleep Inn at the 250 / 81 intersection. link link link Students: Which way is up? Which criteria did you use to make that determination?

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2 April 2013

GigaPan suite from the South Page Valley Martinsburg Outcrop

Are you into structure? Sedimentology? Stratigraphy? Well, I’ve got some good news for you – I’ve imaged several key outcrops on the newly-discovered (to me) roadcut on South Page Valley Road, showcasing the middle Martinsburg Formation turbidites (and their Alleghanian structural overprint). link link link link link link See if you can find: an anticline a syncline a fault a trace fossil a tool mark a graded bed cleavage refraction …

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