Age and tectonic significance of diamictites at the Devonian–Mississippian transition in the central Appalachian Basin
Published:February 26, 2020
Frank R. Ettensohn, D. Clay Seckinger, Cortland F. Eble, Geoff Clayton, Jun Li, Gustavo A. Martins, Bailee N. Hodelka, Edward L. Lo, Felicia R. Harris, Noushin Taghizadeh, 2020. "Age and tectonic significance of diamictites at the Devonian–Mississippian transition in the central Appalachian Basin", Geology Field Trips in and around the U.S. Capital, Christopher S. Swezey, Mark W. Carter
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This trip explores three different occurrences of a diamictite-bearing unit in the transition between Upper Devonian redbeds of the Hampshire Formation (alluvial and fluvial deposits) and Mississippian sandstones and mudstones of the Price/Pocono Formations (deltaic deposits). Palynology indicates that all the diamictites examined are in the LE and LN miospore biozones, and are therefore of Late Devonian, but not latest Devonian, age. Their occurrence in these biozones indicates correlation with the Cleveland Member of the Ohio Shale, Oswayo Member of the Price Formation, and Finzel tongue of the Rockwell Formation in the central Appalachian Basin and with a large dropstone (the Robinson boulder) in the Cleveland Member of the Ohio Shale in northeastern Kentucky. Although several lines of evidence already support a glaciogenic origin for the diamictites, the coeval occurrence of the dropstone in open-marine strata provides even more convincing evidence of a glacial origin. The diamictites are all coeval and occur as parts of a shallow-marine incursion that ended Hampshire/Catskill alluvial-plain accumulation in most areas; however, at least locally, alluvial redbed accumulation continued after diamictite deposition ended. The diamictites are parts of nearshore, marginal-marine strata that accumulated during the Cleveland-Oswayo-Finzel transgression, which is related to global eustasy and to foreland deformational loading during the late Acadian orogeny. Detrital zircon data from clasts in a diamictite at Stop 3 (Bismarck, West Virginia) indicate likely Inner Piedmont, Ordovician plutonic sources and suggest major Acadian uplift of Inner Piedmont sources during convergence of the exotic Carolina terrane with the New York and Virginia promontories. Hence, the Acadian orogeny not only generated high mountain source areas capable of supporting glaciation in a subtropical setting, but also through deformational foreland loading, abetted regional subsidence and the incursion of shallow seas that allowed mountain glaciers access to the open sea.
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Geology Field Trips in and around the U.S. Capital
Prepared in conjunction with the GSA Southeastern and Northeastern Sections Joint Meeting in Reston, Virginia, the four field trips in this guide explore various locations in Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. The physiographic provinces include the Piedmont, the Blue Ridge, the Valley and Ridge, and the Allegheny Plateau of the Appalachian Basin. The sites exhibit a wide range of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks, as well as rocks with a wide range of geologic ages from the Mesoproterozoic to the Paleozoic. One of the trips is to a well-known cave system in West Virginia. We hope that this guidebook provides new motivation for geologists to examine rocks in situ and to discuss ideas with colleagues in the field.