Date of Award

Spring 1992

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

Ramesh Venkatakrishnan

Committee Member

Randall S. Spencer

Committee Member

Diane Kamola


A combined geologic, geophysical, and geomorphic analysis of the Virginia Inner Coastal Plain margin near Richmond was conducted to investigate the presence of basement structures and to evaluate their influence on the overlying sedimentary package and present-day landscape. Basement structures identified included north-northeast and northwest oriented faults that appear to bound and transect a north-northeast trending early Mesozoic basin or basins and other pre-existing zones of weakness. Observed offsets are propagated upward through the pre-Miocene strata in the form of reverse faults and flexuring. Fracture sets measured in the Petersburg Granite and overlying Coastal Plain units, stream drainage lines, and topographic linears occur in one of three to four dominant orientations (N-S, NE-SW, NW-SE, E-W) coincident with large scale structures found throughout the Virginia Coastal Plain inferring a common tectonic origin. Major drainage courses traversing the study area are also controlled by the presence of identified basement structures.


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