Quaternary Landscape Evolution

ACTIVE PROJECTS

Cretaceous Deltas and Quaternary Dunes – Geology of the Patrick, S.C. (1:24,000) Quadrangle.  MS project – Brad Fitzwater.  A joint project with Dr. Chris Swezey (USGS) funded by the USGS EDMAP program.   Mapping indicates the Cretaceous Middendorf Formation is over 100 m thick and consists of multiple fining-upwards sequences of fluvial gravels-sand-muds.  Drapped atop the interfluves of the incised watersheds carved into the Middendorf, the Quaternary Pinehurst Formation consists of eolian sheets and dunes that often contain buried soils.  Multiple terrace surfaces that flank the largest stream valleys appear to be Quaternary deposits, too.

Outcrop of sandy facies of the Middendorf Fm showing a large fluvial channel

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Fossil conifer wood (pine?) from Middendorf Fm; note iron-cemented cell margins (yellow)

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Exposure of  2 eolian sand units in the Pinehurst Fm with younger tan unit resting on buried soil dark brown) on top of older eolian sand

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Greenstone Clast Weathering in Debris Fans, Madison County, Virginia.  A joint project with Dr. Scott Eaton (James Madison U).  Quaternary debris fan complexes in valleys carved into the eastern side of the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia commonly contain Catoctin greenstone cobbles with differing thickness of weathering rinds. Fan surfaces across the Generals Fan have been dated using several techniques.  By tying greenstone rind thicknesses to those dates, we hope to develop a calibrated tools that we can use to estimate the ages of other fans within the region that contain greenstone clasts.

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