Accreted forearc, continental, and oceanic rocks of Maryland’s Eastern Piedmont: The Potomac terrane, Baltimore terrane, and Baltimore Mafic Complex
Published:February 26, 2020
Rebecca Kavage Adams, William Junkin, David K. Brezinski, 2020. "Accreted forearc, continental, and oceanic rocks of Maryland’s Eastern Piedmont: The Potomac terrane, Baltimore terrane, and Baltimore Mafic Complex", Geology Field Trips in and around the U.S. Capital, Christopher S. Swezey, Mark W. Carter
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The Baltimore terrane, the Baltimore Mafic Complex (BMC), and the Potomac terrane are telescoped tectonostratigraphic packages of metasedimentary and meta-igneous rocks that record the geologic history of eastern Maryland from 1.2 Ga to 300 Ma. These terranes provide insight into the understanding of the rifting of Rodinia and the initial amalgamation of eastern Laurentia. The oldest of these rocks are exposed as gneiss domes in the Baltimore terrane, with gneissic Grenvillian crust overlain by a metasedimentary cover succession believed to have been deposited during Rodinian rifting and the formation of the Iapetus ocean. These rocks are interpreted to be analogous to the Blue Ridge sequence in western Maryland. Late Cambrian ultramafites and amphibolites of the BMC discordantly overlie the Baltimore terrane to the east and north, and may represent ophiolitic oceanic crust obducted over eastern Laurentia continental rocks as an island-arc collisional event during the Taconian orogeny. To the west, a thick assemblage of schist, graywacke, metadiamictite, and ultramafic bodies comprises the Potomac terrane, a polygenetic mélange that may have formed in an accretionary wedge during Taconian subduction and collision with the Laurentian continental margin. The Pleasant Grove fault zone marks the Taconian suture of these accreted terranes to Laurentian rocks of the central Maryland Piedmont, and preserves evidence of dextral transpression during the Alleghenian orogeny in the Late Pennsylvanian.
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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.