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Abstract

This field guide covers a two-day east-to-west transect of the Blue Ridge and Valley and Ridge provinces of northwestern Virginia and eastern West Virginia, in the context of an integrated approach to teaching stratigraphy, structural analysis, and regional tectonics. Holistic, systems-based approaches to these topics incorporate both deductive (stratigraphic, structural, and tectonic theoretical models) and inductive (field observations and data collection) perspectives. Discussions of these pedagogic approaches are integral to this field trip.

Day 1 of the field trip focuses on Mesoproterozoic granitoid basement (associated with the Grenville orogeny) and overlying Neoproterozoic to Early Cambrian cover rocks (Iapetan rifting) of the greater Blue Ridge province. These units collectively form a basement-cored anticlinorium that was thrust over Paleozoic strata of the Valley and Ridge province during Alleghanian contractional tectonics. Day 2 traverses a foreland thrust belt that consists of Cambrian to Ordovician carbonates (Iapetan divergent continental margin), Middle to Upper Ordovician immature clastics (associated with the Taconic orogeny), Silurian to Lower Devonian quartz arenites and carbonates (inter-orogenic tectonic calm), and Upper Devonian to Lower Mississippian clastic rocks (associated with the Acadian orogeny). Alleghanian structural features include the Little North Mountain thrust, Cacapon Mountain anticlinorium, Broad Top synclinorium, and Wills Mountain anticlinorium. Within the road log of this field guide we include both planned and optional stops, so that readers can explore the pedagogic concepts discussed herein in more detail, if desired.

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