The Chesapeake terrane of the U.S. mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain basement is bounded on the northwest by the Salisbury positive gravity and magnetic anomaly and extends to the southeast as far as the Atlantic coast. It underlies the Coastal Plain of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and southern New Jersey. Rubidium/Strontium dating of the Chesapeake terrane basement yields an age of 1.025 ?? 0.036 Ga. This age is typical of Grenville province rocks of the Middle to Late Proterozoic Laurentian continent. The basement lithologies are similar to some exposed Grenville-age rocks of the Appalachians. The TiO2 and Zr/P2O5 composition of the metagabbro from the Chesapeake terrane basement is overlapped by those of the Proterozoic mafic dikes in the New Jersey Highlands. These new findings support the interpretation that Laurentian basement extends southeast as far as the continental shelf in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region. The subcrop of Laurentian crust under the mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain implies unroofing by erosion of the younger Carolina (Avalon) supracrustal terrane. Dextral-transpression fault duplexes may have caused excessive uplift in the Salisbury Embayment area during the Alleghanian orogeny. This extra uplift in the Salisbury area may have caused the subsequent greater subsidence of the Coastal Plain basement in the embayment.
Additional publication details
Grenville age of basement rocks in Cape May NJ well: New evidence for Laurentian crust in U.S. Atlantic Coastal Plain basement Chesapeake terrane