Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Paleontology of the upper Eocene to quaternary postimpact section in the USGS-NASA Langley core, Hampton, Virginia

January 11, 2005

The USGS-NASA Langley corehole was drilled in 2000 in Hampton, Va. The core serves as a benchmark for the study of calcareous nannofossils, dinoflagellates, diatoms and silico flagellates, mollusks, ostracodes, planktonic foraminifera and bolboformids, and vertebrate remains in the upper Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, and Pliocene sediments in southeastern Virginia. These sediments were deposited after the comet or asteroid impact that produced the Chesapeake Bay impact structure.

The Chickahominy Formation was deposited rapidly in outer neritic to upper bathyal marine environments during the last 2 million years of the late Eocene. The Drummonds Corner beds are newly recognized in the Langley core. These beds appear to represent shallower water or more nearshore deposition than the underlying Chickahominy deposits. Paleontology indicates an age in the later part of the early Oligocene, with a sharp floral and faunal break between the Drummonds Corner beds and the underlying Chickahominy Formation. Late Oligocene sedimentation is represented by the Old Church Formation.

The record of early and middle Miocene deposition in the Langley core is incomplete. The Calvert Formation records brief episodes of deposition in three members, which are separated by unconformities and are called the informal Newport News beds, the Plum Point Member, and the Calvert Beach Member.

A second episode of rapid deposition at the Langley site is preserved as the upper Miocene St. Marys and Eastover Formations. The Eastover is overlain unconformably by the Yorktown Formation, which is both late early and early late Pliocene. The highest unit, the Tabb Formation (Pleistocene), was not studied paleontologically.

Continued movement along faults and fractures of the crater and nearby region may have enhanced the contributions of older material into the various units filling the Chesapeake Bay impact crater, as suggested by the conspicuous reworking of microfossils in many of the samples from the upper Eocene and younger units in the USGS-NASA Langley core.

Publication Year 2005
Title Paleontology of the upper Eocene to quaternary postimpact section in the USGS-NASA Langley core, Hampton, Virginia
DOI 10.3133/pp1688H
Authors Lucy E. Edwards, John A. Barron, David Bukry, Laurel M. Bybell, Thomas M. Cronin, C. Wylie Poag, Robert E. Weems, G. Lynn Wingard
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Professional Paper
Series Number 1688
Index ID pp1688H
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center; Volcano Science Center; Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center; Florence Bascom Geoscience Center