Terrace Correlation from Pedology along the Maury River, Virginia

Bala Dodoye-Alali

Department of Geology, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA 99362

Many fluvial terraces are found along the rivers in the Valley and Ridge province of the Appalachian Mountains. The purpose of this study is to try to correlate the terraces along the Maury River, which runs south through the Lexington, Virginia area. A soil chronosequence was established to show how the terrace soils change with elevation (or time) at one location. Other terraces at different locations were also examined to see if there is variability along the river. Even though soils cannot be used to get an exact age of a landform, they may be used for relative dating of terraces. XRD, textural, and other data shows that there is an increase in hue, B horizon thickness, and relative clay amounts as soil age increases. As a terrace gets older and higher above the river, it should have more of these characteristics than a lower terrace. Because of variability (i.e. grain size, lithology, compaction of sediment), each soil weathers differently. Two terraces that were assumed to be older because of their reddish hue and relative clay content, were actually lower in elevation than younger looking terraces. These differences could be due to change in parent material characteristics. It may or may not be possible to easily correlate terraces along the Maury River. Because I used only nine terrace segments, data from more sites may help future researchers gain a better understanding of soil development, terrace formation, and correlation along the Maury River.


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