Open-File Report 50 presents and describes a database of geochronological information for coastal deposits of the US Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as for sites from the Pacific coast of South America. This database represents a synthesis of nearly forty years of study conducted by John F. Wehmiller and students in the Department of Geological Sciences, University of Delaware, as well as many collaborating colleagues.
The composition, thickness, and geophysical log signature of the Bethany Formation vary with location and depth. In general, the Bethany Formation is a sequence of clayey and silty beds with discontinuous lenses of sand (Andres, 1986; Ramsey, 2003). The most common lithologies are silty, clayey fine sand; sandy, silty clay; clayey, sandy silt; fine to medium sand; sandy, clayey silt, and medium to coarse sand with granule and pebble layers. Thin gravel layers occur most frequently in updip areas and are rarer in downdip areas. Sands are typically quartzose. Lignite, plant remains, and mica are common, grains of glauconite are rare. In the Lewes area, Ramsey (2003) describes the Bethany Formation as consisting of gray, olive gray, bluish-gray clay to clayey silt interbedded with fine to very coarse sand. Lignitic and gravelly beds are common.
The geologic history of the surficial geologic units of the Georgetown Quadrangle is primarily that of deposition of the Beaverdam Formation and its subsequent modification by erosion and deposition of younger stratigraphic units. The age of the Beaverdam Formation is uncertain due to the lack of age-definitive fossils within the unit. Stratigraphic relationships in Delaware indicate that it is no older than late Miocene and no younger than early Pleistocene.
The following table displays the correlation of hydrologic units to geologic units recognized by the Delaware Geological Survey in the Atlantic Coastal Plain.
Exploration for sand resources for beach nourishment has led to an increase in the amount of geologic data available from areas offshore Delaware's Atlantic Coast. These data are in the form of cores, core logs, and seismic reflection profiles. In order to provide a geologic context for these offshore data, this cross section has been constructed from well and borehole data along Delaware's Atlantic coastline from Cape Henlopen to Fenwick Island.
The Bethany Beach borehole (Qj32-27) provides a nearly continuous record of the Oligocene to Pleistocene formations of eastern Sussex County, Delaware. This 1470-ft-deep, continuously cored hole penetrated Oligocene, Miocene, and Pleistocene stratigraphic units that contain important water-bearing intervals. The resulting detailed data on lithology, ages, and environments make this site an important reference section for the subsurface geology of the region.
Heterogeneous unit ranging from very coarse sand with pebbles to silty clay. Predominant lithologies at land surface are white to mottled light-gray and reddish-brown, silty to clayey, fine to coarse sand. Laminae and beds of very coarse sand with pebbles to gravel are common. Laminae and beds of bluish-gray to light-gray silty clay are also common. In a few places near land surface, but more commonly in the subsurface, beds ranging from 2 to 20-ft thick of finely laminated, very fine sand and silty clay are present. The sands of the Beaverdam Formation commonly have a white silt matrix that gives drill cuttings a milky appearance (Ramsey, 2001, 2007). This white silt matrix is the most distinguishing characteristic of the unit and readily differentiates the Beaverdam Formation from the adjacent clean sands of the Turtle Branch Formation. Interpreted to be a fluvial to estuarine deposit of late Pliocene age on the basis of pollen assemblages and regional stratigraphic relationships (Andres and Ramsey, 1995, 1996; Groot and Jordan, 1999; Groot et al., 1990). Ranges from 50 to 120 ft thick in the Georgetown Quadrangle.
If you think you may have found a Delaware dinosaur or any unusual fossil, the scientists at the Delaware Geological Survey at the University of Delaware, Newark campus would like to see it. It could provide important information on the geologic history of the First State.