The 'yellow gravels' referred to by R. D. Salisbury in 1898 and the 'Trenton gravel,' as defined by H. C. Lewis in 1880, were investigated along the inner edge of the New Jersey Coastal Plain in southern New Jersey and in the northern Delmarva Peninsula.
The highest level deposits, the Beacon Hill gravel, are found on only the highest hills in the New Jersey Coastal Plain. Their distribution suggests deposition from north to south across the plain. After deposition of the Beacon Hill, probably in middle or late Miocene time, a narrow valley was formed paralleling the inner edge of the New Jersey Coastal Plain between Raritan Bay and Camden. South of Camden, the valley broadened, covering much of southern New Jersey. The deposits in this valley are largely the Bridgeton Formation as we have redefined it. A second narrow valley was entrenched through the Bridgeton between Trenton and Salem, N.J. This valley broadens and covers much of the northern Delmarva Peninsula west of the Delaware River. The fill in the valley is largely the Pensauken Formation, as we have redefined it in our report. Collectively, the Beacon Hill, the Bridgeton, and the Pensauken were originally the 'yellow gravels' of Salisbury. These deposits are all fluviatile in origin and were largely formed as a series of step like downcutting channels.
The Delaware Valley between Trenton and the lower Delaware Bay region is occupied by the 'Trenton gravel,' which is below the average level of the 'yellow gravels.' Two units recognized throughout the area and informally named the Spring Lake beds and the Van Sciver Lake beds are lithologically distinct from the 'yellow gravel' formations. The lithologies of the Spring Lake beds and the Van Sciver Lake beds are much more heterogeneous than those of the older formations. These two units, particularly, contain much greater amounts of silt and clay, often in thick beds. The depositional environments associated with the two units include fluviatile, estuarine, and marginal marine. Both these units are interpreted to be late Pleistocene (Sangamonian) in age.
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USGS Numbered Series
Upper Cenozoic sediments of the lower Delaware Valley and the northern Delmarva Peninsula, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland