Petrography, structure, age, and thermal history of granitic coastal plain basement in the Chesapeake Bay impact structure, USGS-NASA Langley core, Hampton, Virginia
The USGS-NASA Langley corehole at Hampton, Va., was drilled in 2000 and was the first corehole to reach coastal plain basement in the late Eocene Chesapeake Bay impact structure. The Langley core provided samples of granite that had been concealed by 626.3 meters (2,054.7 feet) of preimpact, synimpact, and postimpact sediments. The granite, here named the Langley Granite, is pale red, medium grained, massive, and homogeneous in composition and fabric. It has a peraluminous composition (alumina saturation index 1.1) and a seriate-inequigranular, hypidiomorphic, isotropic fabric. A pervasive secondary mineral assemblage of chlorite + albite + clinozoisite is consistent with either deuteric alteration or lower greenschist-facies metamorphism. Chlorite, the principal mafic mineral, occurs as tabular masses that suggest pseudomorphous replacement of biotite. The top of the granite is weathered but not saprolitized and is nonconformably overlain by Lower Cretaceous clastic sediments. A SHRIMP 206Pb/238U weighted average zircon age of 612±10 Ma (2σ) indicates Neoproterozoic crystallization of the Langley Granite. The 40Ar/39Ar ages of microcline and plagioclase are consistent with regional cooling and uplift after the late Paleozoic Alleghanian orogeny. Zircon and apatite fission-track cooling ages of 375±44 Ma and 184±32 Ma (2σ), respectively, indicate no discernible impact-related thermal disturbance at the Langley corehole location in the annular trough of the structure about 19 kilometers (12 miles) outside the margin of the central crater. Modeling the apatite fission-track data places upper limits on the impact-related heating at this location. For an impact-related thermal disturbance equivalent to a modeled thermal spike having a duration of 1 to 0.1 million years, temperatures in this part of the impact structure could not have been higher than about 100°C-120°C. Most fractures, faults, and veins in the Langley Granite contain lower greenschist-facies minerals and are inferred to predate the impact. No shock-metamorphosed minerals or other features clearly attributable to the impact were found in the granite. Studies of the granite provide a glimpse into the nature of crystalline terranes beneath the Atlantic Coastal Plain and Chesapeake Bay and provide limits on the geographic extent of impact-generated shock and thermal effects.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Petrography, structure, age, and thermal history of granitic coastal plain basement in the Chesapeake Bay impact structure, USGS-NASA Langley core, Hampton, Virginia|
|Series title||Geological Survey Professional Paper (United States)|
|Publisher||U.S. Geological Survey|
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