The Delaware Piedmont is but a small part of the Appalachian Mountain system that extends from Georgia to Newfoundland. This mountain system is the result of tectonic activity that took place during the Paleozoic era, between 543 and 245 million years ago. Since that time, the mountains have been continuously eroding, and their deep roots slowly rising in compensation as the overlying rocks are removed. It is surprising to find that although the Delaware Piedmont has passed through the whole series of tectonic events that formed the Appalachians, the mineralogy and structures preserved in Delaware were formed by the early event that occurred between 470 and 440 million years ago, called the Taconic orogeny.
The structure contour map of pre-Mesozoic basement
indicates the structural complexity of the landward margin of
the Baltimore Canyon trough, especially that shown by the
buried rift basins of probable early Mesozoic age. Information
on depth to basement is important in determining the economic
limit of drilling through overlying rocks in the search for oil
Granitic gneiss with swirling leucosomes and irregular biotite-rich restite layers is the dominant lithology and constitutes approximately 75 to 80 percent of the exposed rocks. The remaining 20 to 25 percent comprises hornblende-biotite gneiss, amphibolite with or without pyroxene, and pegmatite. Granitic gneiss is composed of quartz, plagioclase, biotite, and microcline. Minor and accessory minerals are garnet, muscovite, magnetite, ilmenite, sphene, apatite, and zircon. The hornblende gneiss contains plagioclase, quartz, hornblende, and biotite with/without orthopyroxene. Accessory minerals are garnet, muscovite, clinozoisite, perthitic orthoclase, iron-titanium oxides, sphene, and apatite. Amphibolites are composed of subequal amounts of hornblende and plagioclase with minor quartz, biotite, clinopyroxene, and orthopyroxene.
The Delaware Piedmont is underlain by metamorphosed sedimentary and igneous rocks of Middle Proterozoic to Paleozoic age. The rocks have been studied for many years, but because of poor exposure, high-grade metamorphism, and intense deformation, it has been difficult to identify units, understand their stratigraphic relationships to one another, and determine their origin and history; however, northern Delaware occupies a critical position in the central Appalachian Piedmont, and understanding its geology is key to understanding the geology of this region.
The State of Delaware is located within two physiographic provinces, the Appalachian Piedmont and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The Fall Zone divides these two provinces and essentially runs parallel to Delaware Rt. 2, Kirkwood Highway.
This map shows the surficial geology of New Castle County, Delaware at a scale of 1:100,000. Maps at this scale are useful for viewing the general geologic framework on a county-wide basis, determining the geology of watersheds, and recognizing the relationship of geology to regional or county-wide environmental or land-use issues. This map, when combined with the subsurface geologic information, provides a basis for locating water supplies, mapping ground-water recharge areas, and protecting ground and surface water.
This is a map of the crystalline bedrock units in the Piedmont of Delaware and adjacent Pennsylvania. The southern boundary of the mapped area is the updip limit of the Potomac Formation (Woodruff and Thompson, 1972, 1975). Soil, regolith, and surficial deposits of Quaternary age are not shown.
Crystalline bedrock geology of the Wilmington area, Delaware.