Geologic mapping in south-central Virginia demonstrates that the stratigraphy and structure of the Carolina slate belt extend northward across a steep thermal gradient into upper amphibolite-facies correlative gneiss and schist. The Neoproterozoic greenschist-facies Hyco, Aaron, and Virgilina Formations were traced northward from their type localities near Virgilina, Virginia, along a simple, upright, northeast-trending isoclinal syncline. This syncline is called the Dryburg syncline and is a northern extension of the more complex Virgilina synclinorium. Progressively higher-grade equivalents of the Hyco and Aaron Formations were mapped northward along the axial trace of the refolded and westwardly-overturned Dryburg syncline through the Keysville and Green Bay 7.5-minute quadrangles, and across the northern end of the Carolina slate belt as interpreted on previous geologic maps. Hyco rocks, including felsic metatuff, metawacke, and amphibolite, become gneisses upgrade with areas of local anatexis and the segregation of granitic melt into leucosomes with biotite selvages. Phyllite of the Aaron Formation becomes garnet-bearing mica schist. Aaron Formation rocks disconformably overlie the primarily felsic volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks of the Hyco Formation as evidenced by repeated truncation of internal contacts within the Hyco on both limbs of the Dryburg syncline at the Aaron-Hyco contact. East-northeast-trending isograds, defined successively by the first appearance of garnet, then kyanite ?? staurolite in sufficiently aluminous rocks, are superposed on the stratigraphic units and synclinal structure at moderate to high angles to strike. The textural distinction between gneisses and identifiable sedimentary structures occurs near the kyanite ?? staurolite-in isograd. Development of the steep thermal gradient and regional penetrative fabric is interpreted to result from emplacement of the Goochland terrane adjacent to the northern end of the slate belt during Alleghanian orogenesis. This mapping study indicates that the Carolina slate belt does not terminate on the north against through-going faults or rest on higher-grade basement as previously suggested.
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Northward extension of Carolina slate belt stratigraphy and structure, South-Central Virginia: Results from geologic mapping