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Soils Study Guide - Geology

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Geology of New Jersey

A. Physiographic provinces
  1. Valley and Ridge – high, steep ridges and relatively flat valley bottoms
  2. Highlands – dominated by a high mountainous plateau
  3. Piedmont – gentle, rolling topography
  4. Coastal Plain – generally flat topography
B. Bedrock Geology
  1. Valley and Ridge – sandstone, shale, limestone, conglomerate
  2. Highlands – granitic-gneiss, shale, limestone, quartzite
  3. Piedmont – red sandstone and shale, basalt
C. Surficial Geology
  1. Residuum – weathered bedrock; found predominately in the Highlands and Piedmont provinces; soil textures dependent on type of rock from which the soil is weathered
  2. Glacial deposits – till and outwash; found in the Valley and Ridge, Highlands, and Piedmont provinces; soil textures dominated by high sand and gravel contents
  3. Lacustrine deposits – glacial lake-bottom sediments; found in all provinces in New Jersey; soil textures have high silt and clay contents
  4. Fluvial deposits – deposited by rivers and streams; found in all provinces in New Jersey; soil textures have high sand and silt contents
  5. Organic deposits – decomposed herbaceous and woody vegetation; found in all New Jersey provinces; soil textures are peat and muck
  6. Aeolian deposits – transported by wind; are not typically deep deposits, but may exist as a thin deposit overlying another type of parent material; found in the Valley and Ridge and Coastal Plain provinces; soil textures dominated by medium and fine sands
  7. Colluvium – transported downslope by gravity; found predominately in the Piedmont province, but some deposits exist in the till areas of the Highlands; soil textures dependent on particle-size of colluviated parent material
  8. Estuarine deposits – deposited by rivers and streams that adjoin seas or oceans, and are subject to daily flooding by tides; found along the coastline of New Jersey; typically have a high organic matter content, with mineral soil textures dominated by silt and clay
  9. Marine deposits – deposited by sedimentation of material from oceans and seas; found in the Coastal Plain province; soil textures dominated by sand, but can also have textures with considerable silt and clay; also a presence of glauconite (greensand) in some of these deposits

A (very) Short Lesson in Geology

There are three basic rock types:

  1. igneous
  2. sedimentary
  3. metamorphic

The relationships of these rock types are described in a concept called the "Rock Cycle".

Relationships of Rock Types

Adapted from: Plummer, Charles C., and David McGeary 1988. Physical Geology, Fourth Edition, p. 41, Figure 2.26. Wm. C. Brown Publishers, Dubuque, Iowa.

Reference: Plummer, Charles C., and David McGeary 1988. Physical Geology, Fourth Edition. Wm. C. Brown Publishers, Dubuque, Iowa.

Rock Types found in New Jersey

A. Igneous

  1. granite
  2. basalt

B. Sedimentary

  1. sandstone
  2. shale
  3. limestone, dolostone (dolomite)
  4. conglomerate

C. Metamorphic

  1. quartzite
  2. slate
  3. gneiss

USGS Rocks and Images webpage

Geologic Time

Graphic of Geologic Time Scale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Geology Links

Surficial geology and bedrock geology maps, and geologic information is available from New Jersey Geological Survey website

 


For more information contact your local Soil Conservation District Office or Richard Belcher, NJ Envirothon Coordinator Phone: (609) - 292-5540,  Fax: (609) - 633-7229.

 

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This page last updated January 30, 2014