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Sixteen Page Summary History of the Geological Evolution of Virginia

Jump Ahead to Specific Stages
A - The Grenville
B - Early Paleozoic Rifting
C - Opening of the Proto-Atlantic (Iapetan) Ocean
D - Early Divergent Continental Margin
E - The Lower Paleozoic Divergent Continental Margin And the Chopawamsic Volcanic Arc
F - The Chopawamsic and Arvonia Volcanic Arcs
G - The Knox Unconformity, and the Arvonia Volcanic Arc and Other Terranes
H - The Ordovician Taconic Orogeny and Queeston Clastic Wedge
I - Orogenic Calm in the Central Appalachian Basin
J - The Devonian Acadian Orogeny and Catskill Clastic Wedge
J-2 - The Mississippian Orogenic Calm
K - The Late Paleozoic Alleghenian Orogeny
L - Rifting of Pangaea: Initiation of the Atlantic Ocean
M - The Mesozoic and Cenozoic Divergent Continental Margin
M-2 - Rejuvenation
M-3 - The Future

   Return to Geologic History Home Page for Virginia.

   Return to Virginia Geology Home Page.
     This 16 page history, although longer than the one page or two page histories, is still more or less a summary outline of the events. It is meant to be understood by someone with introductory geologic background; that is, basic familiarity with igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, structural geology (folds and faults), and plate tectonic theory, although we hope that someone without this background could still read the history and get a glimps of Virginia's fascinating history. To that end, numerous links are included to either descriptions or illustrations of many basic terms and concepts. These links may be annoying to someone more knowledgable, but we hope you will put up with them for the sake of the less versed.
     Each of the 16 pages also has further links that delve into more detailed and technical histories for those interested. Also in this history we try to reconstruct what Virginia may have been like, what the environments were like, what the climate was, during each of the stages.
     Theoretically the simplest model for Virginia's geologic history is the Wilson cycle, the opening and closing of an ocean basin. This cycle is implicit in the pages to follow, but the cycle is not dealt with directly. To get a quick review go to a single page summary of the Wilson cycle. For a more thorough discussion go to this link.

    The 16 pages are accessible individually through the links to the left, or if you start with Cross Section A you can move ahead from link to link in the history. Each step in the history is a separate html page. Hints for printing the pages are below. Each page also has links that will take you to other pages for maps, cross sections, and fuller descriptions of some of the evidence or interpretations.
    If you go to the individual pages to the left, you can access this home page by clicking the "back" button. If you are jumping from page to page in the history, a link at the top of each html page will bring you back here.
    In adition, some of the individual 16 pages can be reached via links through the Virginia One Page History and Two Page History

VIEWING: The pages are created to be viewed on a 600x800 monitor (go to little monitor symbol in lower right and click to select 600x800).

PRINTING: Each table will print at 600 dpi (dots per inch) centered from left to right if you set the left page margins to 0.0 (go to File: Page Setup: Margins).

   Return to Geologic History Home Page for Virginia.
   Return to Virginia Geology Home Page.

Last Update: 9/13/00

Steve J. Baedke home