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Geology and mineral resources of the Lehighton and Palmerton quadrangles, Carbon and Northampton Counties, Pennsylvania

December 31, 1974

The Lehighton and Palmerton 73 1/2-minute quadrangles cover an area of about 112 square miles of diversified terrain in the folded Appalachian Mountain and Great Valley sections of the Valley and Ridge physiographic province in Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton Counties, Pennsylvania. The Lehigh River and Blue Mountain are the prominent features of the topography. Rock units defined and mapped in the area are the lithified sediments that were deposited in a variety of offshore marine, marine shelf, marginal marine, and fluvial environments associated with two phases of basin filling. The rocks are separated into four lithotectonic units, each deformed semi-independently of adjacent lithotectonic units. Decollements presumably separate the lithotectonic units.

Lithotectonic unit 1 consists of about 12,000 feet of slate and graywacke of the Middle and Upper Ordovician Martinsburg Formation. This unit contains mainly asymmetric, similar, and nearly isoclinal folds, with wave lengths of 1,000 to 3,000 feet and amplitudes of 400 to 2,000 feet, formed mainly by passive flow and slip. Lithotectonic unit 2 includes about 3,100 feet of sandstone, siltstone, shale, and conglomerate of the Shawangunk Formation (Ordovician(?) and Silurian), Bloomsburg Red Beds (Silurian), and the lower part of the Poxono Island Formation (Silurian). This unit contains mainly asymmetric and concentric folds, with wavelengths of about one mile and amplitudes of 1,500 to 5,000 feet, formed by flexural slip with minor passive slip and flow. Lithotectonic unit 3 contains about 750 feet of limestone, shale, siltstone, sandstone, and dolomite of the upper part of the Poxono Island Formation, Bossardville Limestone, and Decker Formation (all Silurian), the Coeymans and New Scotland Formations, Shriver Chert, and Ridgeley Formation of the Oriskany Group and the Schoharie-Esopus Formation (all Lower Devonian), and the Palmerton Formation and Buttermilk Falls Limestone (both Middle Devonian). This unit has asymmetric, concentric, similar, and flap folds, with wavelengths of 1,000 to 1,500 feet and amplitudes of about 1,550 feet, formed by flexural slip and flow and passive slip and flow. Lithotectonic unit 4 consists of more than 13,000 feet of sandstone, conglomerate, siltstone, and shale of the Middle Devonian Marcellus and Mahantango Formations, the Upper Devonian Trimmers Rock and Catskill Formations, the Devonian-Mississippian Spechty Kopf Forma tion, the Mississippian Pocono and Mauch Chunk Formations, and the Pennsylvanian Pottsville Formation. This unit contains nearly symmetric, concentric flexural-slip folds with wavelengths of more than five miles and amplitudes of about one mile.

Surficial deposits occur throughout the mapped area and include: Pleistocene pre-lllinoian(?) till and outwash(?), lllinoian(?) till and outwash, Wisconsinan outwash, shale-chip rubble, boulder fields, and colluvium; and Holocene alluvium, landslide deposits, and man-made dumps.

The rocks of the mapped area, except for the deeply weathered lime stones, generally have good slope stability and foundation support strength, moderate to low primary infiltration capacity and aquifer potential but moderate to high secondary values for these properties, moderate resistance to weathering, and are moderately difficult to difficult to excavate. All of these properties are strongly influenced by the abundant bedding, cleavage, and joint partings of the rocks. Similar evaluations for the surficial deposits indicate less desirable values except for the ease of excavation of most of the unconsolidated materials.

Currently active and potential mineral resources are numerous in the Lehighton and Palmerton quadrangles and include slate, sand, paint ore, building stone, crushed rock, lightweight aggregate, clinker residue, clay, hydraulic cement, and roofing granules.

Publication Year 1974
Title Geology and mineral resources of the Lehighton and Palmerton quadrangles, Carbon and Northampton Counties, Pennsylvania
Authors Jack B. Epstein, W. D. Sevon, J. Douglas Glaeser
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype State or Local Government Series
Series Title Atlas
Series Number 195cd
Index ID 70231176
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse