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Field Trip Guidebook




Dan River-Danville Basin, North Carolina and Virginia

P. J. W. Gore and P. E. Olsen

The Dan River-Danville basin, approximately 167 km long and from 3 to 15 km wide, is an exceptionally narrow and long basin (Figure 2.1). The basin is bounded on the northwest by a southeast-dipping normal fault system, referred to as the Chatham fault zone, toward which the sedimentary rocks in the basin steeply dip (20°–45°). The fault zone strikes approximately N30E°–N35°E, and dips approximately 44° SE (S.E. Halladay, unpublished manuscript). The southeastern edge of the basin is predominantly an unconformity, but a northwest-dipping normal fault is present locally (S.E. Halladay, unpublished manuscript). The basin straddles the North Carolina-Virginia state line, and the rocks in each state have been described in separate publications. Meyertons (1959, 1963) mapped the rocks in Virginia (Danville basin), and Thayer (1967, 1970) and Thayer et al (1970) mapped the rocks in North Carolina (Dan River basin). Although there is only one basin, a dual system of nomenclature arose, and the basin is referred to as the Dan River-Danville basin (Robbins and Traverse, 1980). The rocks in the basin have been defined as the Dan River Group (Thayer, 1970), but lithostratigraphic nomenclature changes across the state line. Late Triassic (late middle and late Carnian) pollen, spores, and vertebrates have been found in the Cow Branch Formation of the Dan River Group (Olsen et al., 1978, 1982; Robbins and Traverse, 1980; Thayer et al, 1982). The total stratigraphic thickness of sedimentary rocks in the basin is estimated at 1100 m in the narrowest part of the basin, and may be more than 4000 m in the widest part (Henika, 1981).

Citation: Gore, P. J. W., and P. E. Olsen (1989), Dan River-Danville Basin, North Carolina and Virginia, in Tectonic, Depositional, and Pleoecological History of Early Mesozoic Rift Basins, Eastern North America, Field Trip Guideb., vol. T351, edited by P. E. Olsen, R. W. Schlische, and P. J. W. Gore, pp. 35–45, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/FT351p0035.

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