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Bedrock geologic map of the Worcester South quadrangle, Worcester County, Massachusetts

September 29, 2015

The bedrock geology of the 7.5-minute Worcester South quadrangle, Massachusetts, consists of deformed Neoproterozoic to Paleozoic crystalline metamorphic and intrusive igneous rocks in three fault-bounded terranes (zones), including the Avalon, Nashoba, and Merrimack zones (Zen and others, 1983). This quadrangle spans the easternmost occurrence of Ganderian margin arc-related rocks (Nashoba zone) in the southern New England part of the northern Appalachians, and coincides with the trailing edge of Ganderia (Merrimack and Nashoba zones) where it structurally overlies Avalonia (Hibbard and others, 2006; Pollock and others, 2012; van Staal and others, 2009, 2012).

Neoproterozoic intrusive rocks and minor metasedimentary rocks crop out in the Avalon zone and structurally underlie the rocks of the Nashoba zone along the Bluddy Bluff fault. Due to poor exposure, the position of the Bloody Bluff fault is not well-constrained and its location is partly extrapolated from mapping in adjacent areas (Barosh, 2005; Walsh and others, 2011a). Cambrian intrusive rocks and Cambrian to Silurian metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks crop out in the Nashoba zone, and are overlain by largely Silurian metasedimentary rocks of the Merrimack zone along the Clinton-Newbury fault. Ordovician to Permian(?) plutonic rocks intrude the Merrimack and Nashoba zone rocks. Paleozoic metamorphism in the Merrimack and Nashoba zones peaked during Salinic, Acadian, and Neoacadian orogenesis from the Silurian to Mississippian (Wintsch and others, 2007; Stroud and others, 2009; Walsh and others, 2011a; Hepburn and others, 2014). Metamorphism in the Avalon zone peaked during Alleghanian orogenesis in the Mississippian to Permian (Wintsch and others, 1992, 1993, 2001; Attenoukon, 2008). Evidence for garnet-grade extensional Alleghanian mylonitization showing normal motion along the Clinton-Newbury fault occurred after presumed original terrane juxtaposition by left-lateral Acadian thrusting (Goldstein, 1994). Subsequent post-peak metamorphic deformation produced outcrop-scale open folds and weak cleavage, local faults, veins, shear bands, and pegmatite dikes. Locally, along re-activated ductile faults such as the Bloody Bluff fault and along the Wekepeke fault, late Paleozoic to Mesozoic mainly brittle normal fault motion led to the current configuration of fault-bounded lithotectonic terranes (Goldstein, 1982, 1994, 1998; Goldstein and Hepburn, 1999; Goldsmith, 1991; Attenoukon, 2008; Wintsch and others, 2012). The youngest deformation includes kink bands, brittle faults, and joints.

The bedrock geology was mapped to study the tectonic history of the area and to provide a framework for ongoing hydrogeologic characterization of the fractured bedrock of Massachusetts. This report presents mapping by Gregory J. Walsh and Arthur J. Merschat from 2008 to 2010. The report consists of a map and GIS database, both of which are available for download at 10.3133/sim3345. The database includes contacts of bedrock geologic units, faults, outcrop locations, structural information, and photographs.

Publication Year 2015
Title Bedrock geologic map of the Worcester South quadrangle, Worcester County, Massachusetts
DOI 10.3133/sim3345
Authors Gregory J. Walsh, Arthur J. Merschat
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Map
Series Number 3345
Index ID sim3345
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center