A billion years of deformation in the central Appalachians: Orogenic processes and products
Steven J. Whitmeyer, Christopher M. Bailey, David B. Spears, 2015. "A billion years of deformation in the central Appalachians: Orogenic processes and products", Tripping from the Fall Line: Field Excursions for the GSA Annual Meeting, Baltimore, 2015, David K. Brezinski, Jeffrey P. Halka, Richard A. Ortt, Jr.
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The central Appalachians form a classic orogen whose structural architecture developed during episodes of contractional, extensional, and transpressional deformation from the Proterozoic to the Mesozoic. These episodes include components of the Grenville orogenic cycle, the eastern breakup of Rodinia, Appalachian orogenic cycles, the breakup of Pangea, and the opening of the Atlantic Ocean basin. This field trip examines an array of rocks deformed via both ductile and brittle processes from the deep crust to the near-surface environment, and from the Mesoproterozoic to the present day.
The trip commences in suspect terranes of the eastern Piedmont in central Virginia, and traverses northwestward across the Appalachian orogen through the thick-skinned Blue Ridge basement terrane, and into the thin-skinned fold-and-thrust belt of the Valley and Ridge geologic province. The traverse covers a range of deformation styles that developed over a vast span of geologic time: from high-grade metamorphic rocks deformed deep within the orogenic hinterland, to sedimentary rocks of the foreland that were folded, faulted, and cleaved in the late Paleozoic, to brittle extensional structures that overprint many of these rocks. Stops include: the damage zone of a major Mesozoic normal fault, composite fabrics in gneiss domes, transpressional mylonites that accommodated orogen-parallel elongation, contractional high-strain zones, and overpressured breccia zones in the Blue Ridge, as well as folds, thrusts, and back thrusts of the Alleghanian foreland.
Figures & Tables
Prepared in conjunction with the 2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, this volume contains guides to field trips in this historic region. Emanating from the Fall Line city of Baltimore, these trips reflect the diversity of geological features in the mid-Atlantic region including the Piedmont, Appalachian Mountains, and Coastal Plain, and the importance of geology on the development and construction of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Trips to the core of the Appalachian orogen concern themselves with the tectonic and metamorphic history, early Paleozoic carbonate platform development, Devonian paleoclimate, and coal-mine fire hazards. Excursions to the Coastal Plain examine various aspects of Cenozoic stratigraphy, structure, barrier island formation, and wetland and ecosystem development. A variety of trips also explore urban geology, including building and monument stones of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., urban hydrogeology, and Civil War battlefield geology.
- Blue Ridge Province
- Central Appalachians
- field trips
- high-grade metamorphism
- North America
- road log
- United States
- Valley and Ridge Province