Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

Dennis A. Darby

Committee Member

Joseph H. Rule

Committee Member

G. Richard Whittecar

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.G4T78


Fifty three samples were taken from three major rivers and their tributaries in Virginia: the James, Roanoke. and Potomac-Shenandoah Rivers. Samples were obtained from the Valley and Ridge. Blue Ridge and Piedmont provinces. The possible source rock types for these samples were determined by comparison of tributary ilmenite composition with drainage basin rock types. Ilmenite element concentration varied with different rock types. Ti was usually high for the ilmenite derived from non-mafic igneous rocks. Mg and Cr were high for the ilmenite from mafic igneous rocks. Zn was low for metamorphic ilmenite. The ilmenite from sedimentary rocks tended to have a high concentration of Ti and a low concentration of Mn and Zn. Ilmenite composition varied among the three rivers. Discriminant. principal component and cluster analysis were used to analyze these differences.

The sources of southeastern Virginia Pleistocene beach deposits were determined by use of a stepwise discriminant analysis of the ilmenite composition for the beach sand compared to the samples from the three rivers. The oldest sampled beach sand. deposited at the Suffolk Scarp. was probably derived from the ancestral James River. Younger beach sands probably have multiple sources.


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