Abstract

In classifying the lower Middle Ordovician of the Shenandoah Valley, the formation names Stones River, Mosheim, Lenoir, Holston, Whitesburg, and Athens have been used without adequate evidence. Detailed study shows that the so-called Athens and Whitesburg, as developed near Harrisonburg, are laterally continuous with the greater part of the Chambersburg limestone, which is supposed to be younger than the Athens. The newly discovered relations of these formations affect the classification of the Middle Ordovician in much of the northern Appalachian region. The present study has been high-lighted by the discovery that Cryptophragmus antiquatus, widely regarded as a valid guide to the lower Black River, ranges through several hundred feet of beds, possibly as high as lower Trenton. In the Shenandoah Valley, this fossil is most abundant near the top of the Chambersburg, which is supposed to be late Black River or early Trenton.

In the proposed reclassification, the lower Middle Ordovician is divided into six time-stratigraphic units, in ascending order: the New Market limestone, Whistle Creek limestone, Lincolnshire limestone, Edinburg formation, Oranda formation, and Collierstown limestone. The Edinburg embraces two equivalent facies: one of cobbly limestone (Lantz Mills facies) which is mainly developed in the northern and western parts of the Shenandoah Valley; and a relatively thicker body of black limestone and shale (Liberty Hall facies) which is typically developed in the Harrison-burg-Staunton area. In the western part of Shenandoah County, the topmost division of the Edinburg formation is composed of light-gray calcilutite and calcarenite, named the St. Luke limestone member. The rusty-brown granular limestones just below Butts' Athens in the Harrisonburg-Staunton-Lexington area are here named the Botetourt limestone member of the Edinburg formation.

At least part of the New Market limestone is linked with a part of the New York Chazy and type Lenoir, but the Lincolnshire seems to be post-Chazy. All the succeeding beds, comprising the greater part of the lower Middle Ordovician succession, are Black River or Trenton.

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