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The coastal plain of North Carolina

Date: 1912 | Identifier: QE 147.A2 V.3
The coastal plain of North Carolina, by Wm. Bullock Clark, Benjamin L. Miller, L. W. Stephenson, B. L. Johnson, and Horatio N. Parker; prepared in co-operation with the United States Geological survey. Raleigh : E. M. Uzzell & Co., State Printers, 1912. 552 p. illus., plates, maps (part fold., 2 in pocket) diagrs. (part fold.) 26 cm. (Reports / North Carolina. Geological and Economic Survey ; v. 3) Contents: pt. 1. The physiography and geology of the coastal plain of North Carolina, by W. B. Clark, B. L. Miller, and L. W. Stephenson.--pt. 2. The water resources of the coastal plain of North Carolina, by L. W. Stephenson and B. L. Johnson, and the Quality of some waters of the coastal plain of North Carolina, by H. N. Parker. Joyner-FOR JOYNER LIBRARY HOLDINGS OF THE SERIES, NORTH CAROLINA. GEOLOGICAL AND ECONOMIC SURVEY. [REPORTS], SEARCH BY CALL NUMBER QE147 .A2. more...






Official State Seal of North Carolina]



GOVERNOR W. W. KITCHIN, ex officio ChairmanRaleigh.
HUGH MACRAEWilmington.
R. D. CALDWELLLumberton.
M. R. BRASWELLRocky Mount.
JOSEPH HYDE PRATT, State GeologistChapel Hill.


CHAPEL HILL, N. C., July 1, 1911.

To His Excellency, W. W. KITCHIN, Governor of North Carolina.

SIR:—I have the honor to submit for publication as Volume III of the publications of the North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey a report on the Coastal Plain Deposits of North Carolina. This report has been prepared in coöperation with the United States Geological Survey, under the general supervision of Dr. T. Wayland Vaughan, Geologist in charge of Coastal Plain Investigations, and under the direct supervision of Dr. William Bullock Clark, Geologist in charge of the District from New England to North Carolina. The volume has been divided into two parts. Part I treats of the Physiography and Geology of the Coastal Plain Region, and has been prepared by Dr. William Bullock Clark of Johns Hopkins University, Prof. Benjamin L. Miller of Lehigh University, and Dr. L. W. Stephenson of the United States Geological Survey. Part II, which deals particularly with the Water Resources of the Coastal Plain Region, has been prepared by Dr. L. W. Stephenson, Mr. B. L. Johnson, and Mr. Horatio N. Parker of the United States Geological Survey. It takes up in considerable detail the question of artesian water in the Coastal Plain Region, and is a report for which there is a considerable demand.

Yours very truly,

JOSEPH HYDE PRATT, State Geologist.


List of Illustrations15
The Physiography of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, by William Bullock Clark23
The State23
Physiographic Provinces23
The Coastal Plain25
The Coastal Plain Streams and Valleys26
The Rivers and Creeks26
The Valleys26
The Coastal Plain Terraces27
The Lafayette Terrace28
The Coharie Terrace29
The Sunderland Terrace29
The Wicomico Terrace29
The Chowan Terrace30
The Pamlico Terrace31
The Beaches, Reefs, Spits, and Sand Dunes31
The Stratigraphy of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, by William Bullock Clark, B. L. Miller, and L. W. Stephenson34
Introduction by William Bullock Clark34
Lower Cretaceous39
Upper Cretaceous40
Bibliography, by B. L. Miller and L. W. Stephenson44
The Cretaceous Formations, by L. W. Stephenson73
Historical Review73
Divisions of the Cretaceous82
Lower Cretaceous83
Patuxent Formation83
Detailed Sections88
Upper Cretaceous111
Black Creek Formation111

The Cretaceous Formations—Continued.
Upper Cretaceous:
Black Creek Formation:PAGE
Detailed Sections115
Peedee Sand145
Detailed Sections147
The Tertiary Formations, by Benjamin L. Miller171
Historical Review171
Trent Formation174
Lithologic Characters175
Detailed Sections179
Castle Hayne Limestone185
Detailed Sections189
St. Marys Formation197
Detailed Sections202
Yorktown Formation229
Detailed Sections233
Duplin Formation236
Detailed Sections240
Waccamaw Formation250
Detailed Sections252
Lafayette Formations, by L. W. Stephenson258
Historical Review258
Quaternary Formations, by L. W. Stephenson266
Historical Review266
Columbia Group273
Coharie Formation273

Quaternary Formations—Continued.
Pleistocene (Columbia Group):
Coharie Formation:PAGE
Detailed Sections275
Sunderland Formation277
Detailed Sections278
Wicomico Formation279
Detailed Sections281
Chowan Formation282
Detailed Sections284
Pamlico Formation286
Detailed Sections287
The Geological History of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, by William Bullock Clark, Benjamin L. Miller, and L. W. Stephenson291
Lower Cretaceous291
Upper Cretaceous293
The Correlation of the Coastal Plain Formations of North Carolina, by William Bullock Clark304
Patuxent Formation304
Black Creek Formation306
Peedee Formation314
Trent Formation315
Castle Hayne Formation316
St. Marys Formation317
Yorktown Formation319
Duplin Formation321
Waccamaw Formation323
Lafayette Formation325
Coharie Formation327
Sunderland Formation327
Wicomico Formation328
Chowan Formation328
Pamlico Formation329
Recent Formations329
Comparative Table of Geological Formations330

Water Resources of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, by L. W. Stephenson and B. L. Johnson333
Historical Review333
Bibliography of Underground Waters336
Surface Waters341
Underground Waters341
Sources of the Underground Waters341
Principles and Conditions Controlling the Storage and Circulation of Underground Waters of the North Carolina Coastal Plain342
Geologic Occurrence and Character of the Underground Waters349
Basement Rocks349
Patuxent Formation350
Black Creek Formation352
Peedee Sand354
Trent Formations355
Castle Hayne Formation357
Miocene and Marine Pliocene358
Tertiary and Quaternary359
Surficial Pliocene? (Lafayette Formation) and Pleistocene359
Water Resources of the Coastal Plain, by Counties361
Beaufort County361
Water Resources362
Artesian Prospects365
Bertie County368
Water Resources368
Artesian Prospects369
Bladen County369
Water Resources370
Artesian Prospects371
Brunswick County372
Water Resources373
Artesian Prospects375
Camden County376
Water Resources376
Artesian Prospects377

Water Resources of the Coastal Plain—Continued.PAGE
Carteret County377
Water Resources378
Artesian Prospects379
Chowan County380
Water Resources380
Artesian Prospects381
Columbus County384
Water Resources384
Artesian Prospects387
Craven County388
Water Resources389
Artesian Prospects391
Cumberland County394
Water Resources394
Artesian Prospects395
Currituck County396
Water Resources396
Artesian Prospects398
Dare County398
Water Resources398
Artesian Prospects399
Duplin County399
Water Resources400
Artesian Prospects401
Edgecombe County402
Water Resources402
Artesian Prospects403
Gates County404

Water Resources of the Coastal Plain—Continued
Gates County:PAGE
Water Resources405
Artesian Prospects405
Greene County406
Water Resources407
Artesian Prospects409
Halifax County410
Water Resources410
Artesian Prospects413
Harnett County412
Water Resources413
Artesian Prospects415
Hertford County414
Water Resources414
Artesian Prospects416
Hyde County416
Water Resources416
Artesian Prospects419
Johnston County420
Water Resources420
Artesian Prospects423
Jones County424
Water Resources425
Artesian Prospects427
Lenoir County426
Water Resources427
Record of Wells Drilled at Kinston and Vicinity429
Artesian Prospects431
Martin County432
Water Resources432
Artesian Prospects433

Water Resources of the Coastal Plain—Continued.PAGE
Moore County432
Water Resources434
Artesian Prospects435
Nash County435
Water Resources436
Artesian Prospects436
New Hanover County436
Water Resources440
Artesian Prospects443
Northampton County446
Water Resources446
Artesian Prospects447
Onslow County448
Water Resources448
Artesian Prospects449
Pamlico County450
Water Resources451
Artesian Prospects453
Pasquotank County452
Water Resources454
Artesian Prospects455
Pender County455
Water Resources456
Artesian Prospects456
Perquimans County456
Water Resources457
Artesian Prospects458
Pitt County458

Water Resources of the Coastal Plain—Continued.
Pitt County:PAGE
Water Resources459
Artesian Prospects461
Richmond County462
Water Resources462
Artesian Prospects463
Robeson County463
Water Resources464
Artesian Prospects465
Sampson County466
Water Resources468
Artesian Prospects469
Scotland County470
Water Resources470
Artesian Prospects471
Tyrrell County471
Water Resources471
Artesian Prospects472
Washington County472
Water Resources473
Artesian Prospects473
Wayne County474
Water Resources475
Artesian Prospects477
Wilson County478
Water Resources479
Artesian Prospects481
The Quality of Some Waters of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, by Horatio N. Parker484
Discussion of Analyses484
Beaufort County484
Bertie County485

The Quality of Some Waters of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina—Continued.
Discussion of Analyses:PAGE
Bladen County485
Brunswick County485
Carteret County485
Chowan County486
Columbus County486
Craven County486
Cumberland County486
Currituck County487
Dare County487
Duplin County487
Edgecombe County487
Gates County487
Greene County487
Halifax County488
Harnett County488
Hertford County488
Hyde County488
Johnston County488
Jones County488
Lenoir County488
Martin County489
Moore County489
Nash County489
New Hanover County489
Northampton County489
Onslow County489
Pamlico County490
Pender County490
Pitt County490
Richmond County490
Robeson County490
Sampson County490
Tyrrell County491
Washington County491
Wayne County491
Wilson County491
Table 1—Assays of North Carolina Coastal Plain Waters492
Table 2—Mineral Water Analyses of North Carolina Coastal Plain Waters504


I.Sketch map of part of Cape Fear River88
II.A, Exposure of the Patuxent formation, Cape Fear River, near Fayetteville, N. C.90
B, Exposure of the Patuxent formation, Cape Fear River, 10 miles below Fayetteville, N. C.90
III.A, Exposure of the Patuxent formation, Little River, Manchester, N. C.98
B, Exposure of Patuxent and Black Creek formations, Neuse River, 2 miles southwest of Goldsboro, N. C.98
IV.A, Exposure of the Black Creek formation, Cape Fear River, Prospect Hall Bluff, 20 miles above Elizabethtown, N. C.116
B, Exposure of the Black Creek formation, Cape Fear River, Walkers Bluff, 13 miles below Elizabethtown, N. C.116
V.A, Exposure of strata typical of the Black Creek formation, Cape Fear River, Sand Bluff Landing, 3½ miles below Elizabethtown, N. C.120
B, Near view of laminated sands and clays typical of the Black Creek formation, Cape Fear River, Big Sugar Loaf Landing, 7½ miles below Elizabethtown, N. C.120
VI.A, Exposure of the Peedee sand, Cape Fear River, near Bryants Landing, 27 miles above Wilmington, N. C.148
B, Exposure of the Peedee sand, Cape Fear River, Donohue Creek Landing, 50⅓ miles above Wilmington, N. C.148
VII.A, Exposure of Ostrea georgiana bed of the Trent formation, Trent River, Polloksville, N. C.182
B, Walkers Bluff, Cape Fear River182
VIII.A, Exposure of the Castle Hayne formation in the rock quarry near Castle Hayne, N. C.190
B, Exposure of the Castle Hayne formation in the City rock quarry near Wilmington, N. C.190
IX.A, Exposure showing the Patuxent formation overlain unconformably by the St. Marys formation, and the latter in turn overlain by Pleistocene deposits, Roanoke River, 1 mile above the State Farm, Halifax County, N. C.208
B, Bluff at Blue Banks Landing, Tar River, 7 miles above Greenville, N. C.208
X.A, Exposure of limestone of the Duplin formation, replete with casts of Crepidula, north shore of Waccamaw Lake, N. C.248
B, Exposure of limestone of the Duplin formation, north shore of Waccamaw Lake, N. C.248
XI.A, Marl pit in the St. Marys formation, 8 or 9 miles west of Greenville, N. C.248
B, Marl pit in the Duplin formation, 1 mile east of Magnolia, N. C.248

XII.A, Exposure of limestone of the Duplin formation, north shore of Waccamaw Lake, N. C.250
B, Lime sink known as “Natural Well,” 2 miles southwest of Magnolia, N. C.250
XIII.Geologic map showing distribution of surficial formations in North CarolinaIn pocket
XIV.A, Cobbles from the Lafayette formation in a field near the Weldon-Aurelian Springs road, one-half mile northeast of Aurelian Springs, N. C.262
B, Exposure of the Lafayette formation resting unconformably upon deeply decayed crystalline rock; cut of Seaboard Air Line Railway, 1 mile west of Thelma, N. C.262
XV.A, Thin veneer of materials of the Lafayette formation consisting of smoothly rounded pebbles and cobbles in a matrix of coarse sand, 1¼ miles southwest of Samaria, N. C.264
B, Exposure of the Lafayette formation, cut of Seaboard Air Line Railway, 1⅓ miles southwest of Lakeview, N. C.264
XVI.A, Flattened pebbles from the beach at Atlantic City, N. J.274
B, Flattened pebbles from the beach at Ocean City, N. J.274
(These illustrations are introduced for the purpose of comparison with pebbles shown in Pl. XVIII.)
XVII.Map showing the distribution of geological formations of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, exclusive of the surficial formationsIn pocket
XVIII.Flattened pebbles from the Coharie formation, 1½ miles southeast of Four Oaks, N. C.274
XIX.A, Coharie terrace plain, looking northward along the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, 1 mile south of Buies, N. C.276
B, Exposure of the Coharie formation resting unconformably upon the Patuxent formation, cut of Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, 5 miles southwest of Four Oaks, N. C.276
XX.A, Exposure of the Coharie formation, 2¾ miles northeast of Four Oaks, N. C.276
B, Gravel layer in sand of the Coharie formation, 1 mile northeast of Four Oaks, N. C.276
XXI.A, Exposure of the Coharie formation resting unconformably upon decomposed basement slate, Nashville, N. C.278
B, Sunderland terrace plain, 6 miles south of Rocky Mount, N. C.278
XXII.A, Sunderland terrace plain, Nash Street, in the southeastern part of Wilson, N. C.278
B, Sunderland terrace plain, Atlantic Coast Line Railroad yards, South Rocky Mount, N. C.278
XXIII.A, Sunderland terrace plain, street in Lumberton, N. C.280
B, Exposure showing the Wicomico formation, 1 mile south of Old Sparta, N. C.280
XXIV.A, Chowan terrace plain, looking northward, 2 miles northeast of Old Sparta, N. C.282

XXIV.B, Pocoson land (see the definition, footnote, p. 280) on Wicomico terrace plain, 1½ miles northeast of Castoria, N. C.282
XXV.A, Exposure of the Chowan formation, west shore of Cape Fear River, about 2 miles north of Southport, N. C.284
B, Chowan terrace plain, 1 mile northeast of Old Sparta, N. C.284
XXVI.A, Exposure of the Pamlico formation, Oriental, N. C.286
B, Exposure showing 2½ feet of loose, white sand on Chowan terrace plain, three-quarters of a mile southeast of Richards Station, N. C.286
XXVII.A, Exposure of coquina rock of Pleistocene age, Carolina Beach, N. C.288
B, Mattamuskeet Lake, Lake Landing, N. C.288
XXVIII.Comparative columnar sections of Atlantic Coastal Plain formations304
XXIX.Contour map of the buried surface of the basement rocks underlying the deposits of the Coastal Plain343
XXX.Geologic section across the Coastal Plain from Cameron to Wrightsville, N. C.343
XXXI.Map showing area in which potable waters may be obtained from the basement rocks underlying deposits of the Coastal Plain349
XXXII.Map showing area in which potable waters may be obtained from the Patuxent formation351
XXXIII.Map showing area in which potable waters may be obtained from the Black Creek formation353
XXXIV.Map showing area in which potable waters may be obtained from the Peedee formation355
XXXV.Map showing area in which potable waters may be obtained from Eocene formations357
XXXVI.Map showing area in which potable waters may be obtained in Miocene and Pliocene formations359
XXXVII.A, Open well with handpole lift, near mill of D. C. Way Lumber Company, about 3½ miles above Leechville, N. C.363
B, Flowing well from Miocene strata at mill of the Interstate Cooperage Company, Belhaven, N. C.363
XXXVIII.A, Wooden pump used at well located at corner of Pollock, Jones, and German streets, New Bern, N. C.391
B, Open well with cypress log curb and sweep lift at Aydlett, N. C.391
XXXIX.A, Well sweep for lifting water from shallow, dug well, Magnolia, N. C.399
B, Open well showing possibilities of contamination from surface sources, located between Selma and Micro, N. C.399
XL.A, Flowing well from strata of the Black Creek formation at Lumberton, N. C.465
B, Flowing well from strata of the Black Creek formation at National Cotton Mills, 1¼ miles west of Lumberton, N. C.465

XLI.A, Flowing well from strata of the Black Creek formation at the Fair Grounds, Lumberton, N. C.465
B, Flowing well from strata of the Patuxent formation, Red Springs, N. C.465
XLII.A, Deep well of the Clarendon Waterworks Company, Wilmington, N. C.481
B, The Waterworks plant at Wilson, N. C.481
1.Sketch showing the relations of the Patuxent and Black Creek formations to each other and to overlying Pleistocene deposits; Cape Fear River, between mileposts 100 and 10192
2.Sketch showing the relation of the Patuxent formation to the Black Creek formation, near Church Landing, Cape Fear River92
3.Sketch showing the relation of the Patuxent formation to the Coharie formation; cut of Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, 2¾ miles northeast of Four Oaks, Johnston County, N. C. (near Corinth Church)94
4.Sketch map of part of Neuse River and part of Contentnea Creek96
5.Sketch showing the relation of the Patuxent formation to the Black Creek formation, and the relation of the latter to post-Cretaceous deposits; Neuse River, milepost 10597
6.Sketch showing the relation of the Patuxent formation to the Black Creek formation, and of the latter to overlying Pleistocene deposits; Neuse River, at the county bridge, 2 miles southwest of Goldsboro, N. C.98
7.Sketch map of part of Tar River, N. C.101
8.Sketch map of part of Roanoke River, N. C.106
9.Sketch showing the relation of the Patuxent formation to the Lafayette formation; cut of Seaboard Air Line Railway, 1⅓ miles southwest of Lake View, N. C.109
10.Sketch showing the relations of the Patuxent and Black Creek formations to each other, and to overlying Pleistocene deposits; cut of Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, 1 mile northeast of Hope Mills, N. C.110
11.Sketch showing the irregularly bedded character of the Black Creek formation; Cape Fear River, Prospect Hall Bluff, N. C.117
12.Sketch map of part of Black Creek River, N. C.124
13.Sketch showing the undulating surface of the Black Creek formation overlain by Pleistocene deposits; Contentnea Creek, above milepost 26142
14.Sketch map of part of Northeast Cape Fear River, N. C.152
15.Sketch showing the relation of the basement rocks to the Lafayette formation; cut of Seaboard Air Line Railway, 1 mile west of Thelma, N. C.263
16.Sketch showing the relation of the Patuxent formation to the Lafayette formation; cut of Seaboard Air Line Railway, milepost 58, Moore County265

17.Section explaining the conditions governing the circulation and noncirculation of waters in deposits of the Coastal Plain344
18.Section explaining the efficient causes of artesian flows346
19.Section explaining the cause of flows in certain wells348
20.Geologic section across New Hanover County from Castle Hayne to the southern extremity of the county438
21.Geologic section across New Hanover County from Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach, N. C.439


The present volume deals with the geology of the Coastal Plain area of North Carolina. The formations here represented are found for the most part in adjacent States and have long been the subject of detailed study by geologists. The North Carolina area has until recently received less attention than the regions to the north and south of it, but the present study has succeeded in establishing both the sequence of the deposits and their relations to those of other areas, and thus for the first time affords a clear view of the geological history of eastern North Carolina.

The volume is divided into two parts; the first takes up the physiography and geology of the Coastal Plain region, and the second part deals with the water resources of the same region.

The first chapter of Part I, devoted to The Physiography of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, contains an account of the surface features of this district, which consist chiefly of a series of dissected terraces formed during late Tertiary and Pleistocene time. The similarity of this region to that of the Coastal Plain farther north is brought out. This chapter is by Professor Clark.

The second chapter, entitled The Stratigraphy of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, comprises an exhaustive study of the character and distribution of the formations of eastern North Carolina. This study has been conducted under the direction of Prof. William Bullock Clark of the Johns Hopkins University, who has charge for the United States Geological Survey of Coastal Plain investigations between North Carolina and New England. It represents the results of extended field work by Dr. L. W. Stephenson of the United States Geological Survey and Dr. B. L. Miller of Lehigh University, the former having devoted his attention to the Cretaceous and Pleistocene formations and the latter to the Tertiary formations. They had as field assistants for several months Mr. Joseph E. Pogue of the University of North Carolina and Mr. Harvey E. Bassler of Lehigh University.

Dr. Stephenson was materially aided in the study of the Cretaceous and Pleistocene formations by Mr. E. W. Berry of the Johns Hopkins University, who made an exhaustive study of the floras, having spent several months in the field, the resulting notes being turned over to Dr. Stephenson. He also profited materially by the results of the studies of Mr. B. L. Johnson, who, under the auspices of the Federal Survey, first differentiated the main features of the Pleistocene terracing in North Carolina. Dr. T. W. Stanton of the United States Geological

Survey superintended the study of the Cretaceous invertebrate fossils collected by Dr. Stephenson and made many valuable suggestions during the progress of the work.

Dr. Miller has incorporated numerous sections and other data relating to the Tertiary from the field notes of Dr. Stephenson. He has also received much aid as a result of the laboratory study of the molluscan fossils by Miss Julia A. Gardner of the Johns Hopkins University. The very extensive Mio-Pliocene faunas have entailed a prolonged study by Miss Gardner, which is not yet completed, and which when finished will form part of a contemplated series of reports dealing in detail with the geology and paleontology of the Coastal Plain portions of the State, in which the several contributors whose names have been already mentioned, as well as other specialists, will participate.

The third chapter embraces a discussion of The Geological History of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. The geological events which transpired in North Carolina during the building of the Coastal Plain series of deposits are discussed in the light of the entire Coastal Plain district.

The fourth and last chapter of Part I deals with The Correlation of the Coastal Plain Formations of North Carolina, comparisons being instituted with the known horizons in adjacent States, as well as with the recognized series in the Gulf, and even in some instances in Europe. This chapter has been prepared by Professor Clark.

Part II deals with The Water Resources of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, and consists of an extended discussion of the character of the underground water supplies and the superficial waters where used as municipal supplies. The material for this chapter was collected by the authors, Messrs. Stephenson and Johnson. The assembling of this data was made possible through the coöperation of municipal authorities, municipal water companies, well owners, and drillers throughout the region. This portion of the report is also accompanied by a chapter on The Quality of Some Waters of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, by Horatio N. Parker, in which analyses are given of many of the principal waters.

Thanks are especially due to the United States Geological Survey, in coöperation with whom this investigation has been conducted. This report is one of a series being prepared by the Federal and State Surveys on the geology and water resources of the Coastal Plain, under the supervision of a joint committee of which Dr. William Bullock Clark is chairman. Dr. T. Wayland Vaughan of the United States Geological Survey is supervising geologist of the entire work.

JOSEPH HYDE PRATT, State Geologist.









Location and Extent.—The State of North Carolina is situated on the Atlantic seaboard between 33° 50′ and 36° 33′ north latitude and between 75° 27′ and 84° 26′ west longitude, thus having a total width from north to south of nearly 200 miles and from east to west of over 500 miles. Its eastern and western boundaries conform largely to the great natural confines of sea and mountains, the former with its curving shore line being more than 300 miles in length, while the latter trends northeast to southwest along the crest of the Appalachian Mountain system for over 200 miles. The northern and southern boundaries, on the other hand, are mainly conventional lines, the former a due east and west line about 325 miles in length and the southern a broken line about 375 miles in length. The total area of the State is 52,286 square miles, of which 3,620 square miles are water.


The State of North Carolina constitutes a part of the Atlantic border region stretching from the crest of the Appalachian Mountain system to the sea, and is divided into three more or less sharply defined districts, known as the Coastal Plain, the Piedmont Plateau, and the Appalachian Region. These three districts follow the Atlantic border of the United States in three belts of varying width from New England to the Gulf.

The western mountainous district, known throughout the eastern portion of the country from Pennsylvania to Alabama as the Appalachian Region, culminates in North Carolina in a series of ranges that reach over 6,000 feet in altitude. Kerr, in describing this region, says:

“The western section is a rugged mountainous plateau; it forms a narrow, irregular, much indented trough, lying between the bifurcating chains of the western and dominant arm of the southern prolongation of the Appalachians—the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge—the former being the western boundary of the State. The length of this plateau from northeast to southwest is more than 200 miles, its breadth 15 to 50 miles, and its area nearly 6,000 square miles. The Smoky chain has a general elevation of from 5,000 to 6,000 feet, rising in many summits to 6,500 feet and upwards, but is broken down by half a dozen deepwater gaps or cañons to the level of 2,000 and even 1,200 feet. The Blue Ridge, which constitutes the eastern boundary of the plateau, is a very sinuous and angular and straggling mountain chain, with a general elevation of from 3,000 to 4,000 feet and upwards, a few of its higher summits, about midway in the State, reaching nearly 6,000 feet.

“These two bounding chains are connected by many north and south cross-chains, of equal elevation with themselves, or greater, and separated by deep valleys. On one of these cross-chains, called the Black Mountains, is Mitchell's Peak, the highest point east of the Mississippi, its altitude being 6,711 feet (400 feet above Mount Washington in New Hampshire). The cross-valleys or river basins have an altitude of from 2,000 to 3,000 feet, with smaller benches and marginal plateaus of from 3,500 to 4,000 feet. Seen from the east or Atlantic side, the Blue Ridge appears as a steep, ragged, and broken escarpment, springing suddenly 2,000 to 3,000 feet above the Piedmont Plateau at its base.”

The central hill country known as the Piedmont Plateau attains a much greater width in North Carolina than in the States to the north of it, and is also far more rugged. Kerr, in describing this area, says:

“This plateau has along its western margin an altitude of 1,200 to 1,500 feet above sea-level, and is mountainous, with high and precipitous spurs projected eastward and southward from the Blue Ridge. A few of these extend in irregular, straggling ranges all across the breadth of the Piedmont section, which is 60 to 75 miles wide, and carries an elevation of 1,000 feet to its eastern margin.

“This middle region of the State is a country of hills and valleys and rolling uplands, its prominent topographical features being a succession of broad-backed swells with eastward or southeastward trends, constituting the watersheds between a number of large rivers, which take their rise in the Piedmont or on the flanks of the Blue Ridge, and reach the Atlantic through a system of wide valleys, 300 to 500 feet below the intervening divides. The area of this region is about 20,000 square miles; its altitude, descending gradually from 1,000 to about 200 feet, averages about 650 feet.”

The eastern low country, known as the Coastal Plain, extends from Cape Cod and the islands off the New England coast as a constantly widening belt to the Gulf. Along its western margin in North Carolina

it is often hilly, forming the sandhill district, the streams here frequently cutting through the softer Coastal Plain deposits to the harder rocks of the Piedmont Plateau below. The sandhills often appear as outliers on the Piedmont Plateau, where they attain elevations of from 400 to 500 feet.

To the eastward the country declines in altitude, passing from one broad plain or terrace to another until it approaches tide-level, when it embraces swamps, marshes, bays, and sounds over wide areas—the whole surface for more than 50 miles inland from Hatteras and the Eastern Shore being less than 20 feet above sea-level. The ocean is walled off from this low region by a long linear chain of sand islands or dunes, ranging from 75 to 100 feet and upwards in height and separated in half a score of places by inlets which connect the sounds with the ocean. The total width of the plain reaches 125 miles. Its area is about two-fifths that of the State, exceeding 20,000 square miles and embracing wholly or in part 42 counties.

Beyond the outer shore line the surface slopes gradually beneath the sea to the continental shelf, this belt off the North Carolina coast having a width of about 50 miles, thus constituting a submarine district of nearly 15,000 square miles.


The Coastal Plain is the name applied to the low and partially submerged area of varying width that is confined between the Piedmont Plateau on the west and the continental shelf on the east. Its western boundary passes through Northampton, Warren, Halifax, Franklin, Wake, Johnston, Chatham, Moore, Richmond, and Anson counties. It naturally falls into two divisions—a submerged or submarine division and an emerged or subaërial division, the seashore forming the boundary line between them. This line of demarcation, although apparently fixed, is in reality very changeable, for during the geologic ages which are past it has migrated back and forth across the Coastal Plain, at one time occupying a position well over on the Piedmont Plateau, and at another far out at sea. At the present time there is reason to believe that the sea is encroaching on the land by the slow subsidence of the latter, but the period embraced by a few generations of men is too short in which to measure this change.

The Coastal Plain of North Carolina is part of the great district which borders the ocean front from New England to the Gulf, and for the most part has been subjected to the same great physiographic changes here as elsewhere. At the same time, some marked differences are found which have left their record in the region.


The Rivers and Creeks.—The Coastal Plain rivers consist of two types: first, those which rise in the Piedmont Plateau and cross the Coastal Plain on their way to the sea, and, second, those which rise in the Coastal Plain itself. In the first group belong the largest rivers of the district: the Roanoke and Chowan in the north, which have their sources in the Piedmont Plateau of Virginia; the Tar and Neuse of the central area, which rise in the eastern portion of the North Carolina Piedmont, and the Cape Fear River of the south, which has its source somewhat farther westward. Several important South Carolina rivers also have their sources in North Carolina; the Peedee, known as the Yadkin in its upper portions, and the Santee, which receives the waters of both the Catawba and the Broad rivers. All of these streams rise in the western portion of the North Carolina Piedmont, receiving their waters in part from the eastern flanks of the Appalachian Region.

Throughout the Coastal Plain are numerous small rivers and creeks as well as the lower tributaries of the big streams which have their source within the Coastal Plain itself. They are scattered throughout the district and do not need to be considered in detail in this connection.

The large rivers are tidal only in their lower courses, although they are for the most part navigable almost to the Piedmont border. The smaller streams flow generally with rather rapid currents, except near their mouths and throughout much of the low eastern district, where they, too, are tidal. Some of the tributary streams draining the higher terraces of the Coastal Plain have rapid currents, and where they have cut through the deposits of the Coastal Plain to the crystalline rocks of the Piedmont have all the essential characteristics of Piedmont streams.

The Valleys.—The valleys of the Coastal Plain district of North Carolina are not simple trenches cut out of the broad upland surface that forms the interstream areas. They have had in most instances a complicated history since they were formed during the extensive post-Lafayette emergence, which in North Carolina, as elsewhere, produced the greater river channels and conditioned the chief Coastal Plain drainage systems of the present day. During subsequent oscillations the submergence of these valleys took place and the development of the same terraces here as in the other areas went on. Each succeeding terraceforming period left its impress on the valley topography, although all trace of the older terrace was often obliterated in the stream valley during the succeeding period of emergence.

The reëntrant valleys of the smaller streams also afford much interesting data for an interpretation of Coastal Plain history. While the

larger streams have often removed all or the larger part of the valley fillings, leaving only remnants of the accumulations along the sides, some of the smaller and less active streams have left the floors of the reëntrant valleys but slightly modified. Cases can be found where the smaller reëntrants have been practically unchanged since the enwrapping terraces buried the old valley beneath its accumulations, a signal proof of the submergence that preceded the terrace-making.

We find six generations of valleys in the Coastal Plain. The larger valleys may still contain remnants of all, but in the smaller valleys of each terrace the simplest conditions are found. Here numerous cases may be cited where streams that cut the valleys have disappeared. They will be later discussed in connection with the great terraces of which they form a part.

Toward their headwaters these valleys are narrow and V-shaped, and, if traced to their sources, are often found to start from intermittent springs, surrounded by steep-walled amphitheaters from 5 to 10 feet in height. Toward their lower courses these valleys are broad and flat and are frequently filled with fresh or brackish water marshes. In the upper portions of their courses the valleys are being eroded. In the lower portions they are being filled. A glance at the map will serve to confirm the opinion which has been held for a long time, namely, that the rivers of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina have been drowned along their lower courses, or, in other words, have been transformed into estuaries by the subsidence of the region. The filling of these valleys has taken place toward the heads of these estuaries. The headwaters of these recent valleys, on the other hand, are being extended inland toward the divides with greater or less rapidity.

Many of the tributary streams occupy the reëntrant valleys described above. The more energetic have succeeded in carrying out all of the ancient floors which formerly covered these valleys and formed a portion of the various terraces. Others have left mere remnants of these valley accumulations along the margins, while the less active streams have left the reëntrant valleys practically unmodified.


The topography of the Coastal Plain presents considerable complexity, notwithstanding its low relief. This is fundamentally due to the system of terraces out of which the region is composed, although denudation and wind action have also been important factors in changing the surface configuration, the former more especially in the higher terraced region near the main stream channels and the latter near the coast. The subaërial division of the Coastal Plain contains six terraces,

the submarine division, on the other hand, only one, which make altogether seven terraces in the Coastal Plain. In describing these terraces, the author will anticipate somewhat material which will be discussed later in another place. These terraces, beginning with the highest, are the Lafayette, Coharie, Sunderland, Wicomico, Chowan, Pamlico, and Recent.

The Lafayette Terrace.—The Lafayette terrace is represented in North Carolina by the sandhills of Scotland, Richmond, Cumberland, Moore, Harnett, Wake, Johnston, Nash, Halifax, and Northampton counties, which are dissected remnants of an ancient terrace that wrapped about the higher elevations of the eastern Piedmont, burying the western margin of the Coastal Plain and the lower portions of the Piedmont Plateau, just as the later and lower terraces in successively more easterly positions have done. The terrace features of the Lafayette, no longer clearly recognizable in North Carolina, have been described in Virginia and Maryland, where more extensive and but partially dissected remnants of the Lafayette terrace have been preserved. The extensive erosion to which the Lafayette has been subjected in North Carolina and the fact that deposits of this age have only been observed at a few points overlying the older sediments of the Coastal Plain suggest a higher elevation in post-Lafayette time with a more extensive erosion of the earlier materials than in the States directly to the north.

In Maryland where this terrace has been studied in great detail it has been found in the interstream areas to be at times as flat and featureless as the later terraces, while along the margins where it has been dissected by waterways it has been transformed into a gently rolling country and its true character obscured. Many isolated outcrops, not unlike the sandhills of North Carolina, are found in nearby areas both of the Coastal Plain and the Piedmont Plateau, which are regarded as scattered remnants of a continuous Lafayette terrace that have been brought into their present isolated position by erosion. The remnants of this plain along the ancient Piedmont shore line present approximately a common level from which point the surfaces decline gradually toward the adjacent stream channels and the ocean, as in the case of the Recent terrace of the submarine division of the Coastal Plain. In fact, the physical similarity of this terrace, as of all the later terraces of the Pleistocene to the terrace forming to-day in the estuaries and along the ocean front, is most pronounced and renders it practically certain that the conditions from Lafayette time on to the present have been in the main the same, and that, with the successive oscillations of the coast line, terraces have been formed at levels where the sea has stood for any considerable period of time.

The Coharie Terrace.—The Coharie Terrace, undeveloped in the northern Coastal Plain, is found in the region to the east of the sand-hills in Scotland, Robeson, Cumberland, Harnett, Sampson, Johnston, Wayne, Wilson, and Nash counties. Along its inner edge it has elevations of 220 to 235 feet, from which it slopes gradually to the eastward, having elevations of 160 to 180 feet along its outer border, being often much broken, as in Cumberland County, toward the valley of the Cape Fear River. Broad interstream areas but little dissected occur in that part of the area south of the Neuse River. The width of the terrace, which in the larger areas reaches nearly 25 miles near the South Carolina border, gradually decreases until it apparently disappears in Halifax or Northampton counties, the last important development of it being in Nash County. It is believed that a narrow area of the Coharie terrace extends northwestward through Halifax County and possibly into Northampton.

The Sunderland Terrace.—The Sunderland terrace is found as a belt extending throughout the district from the Virginia to the South Carolina boundary, except where cut through by the reëntrants of the Wicomico terrace. Adjacent to the Coharie escarpment it has an elevation of 140 to 160 feet, from which point it gradually slopes eastward to an elevation of 110 feet and at some points may even reach 100 feet. Within the interstream areas broad undrained tracts are found, while near the margins of the terrace, especially adjacent to larger river valleys, the surface is often deeply trenched.

The Sunderland terrace is found principally in Robeson, Columbus, Bladen, Cumberland, Sampson, Duplin, Wayne, Johnston, Greene, Wilson, Edgecombe, Nash, Halifax, and Northampton counties. The area covered by the Sunderland terrace is much larger than that covered by the Coharie, and gradually increases in width to the southward. In the northern counties it is from 5 to 15 miles in width, but gradually increases to fully 25 miles in the central counties, while in the Cape Fear River district and toward the South Carolina line it is fully 40 miles wide in places.

The Wicomico Terrace.—The Wicomico terrace embraces a much larger portion of the Coastal Plain than do the Coharie and Sunderland, similarly as this terrace in more northern areas embraces more area than the Sunderland. It likewise forms deep reëntrants in the older terraces, reaching in some of the valleys nearly if not quite to the Piedmont border. This feature is especially well seen in the valleys of the Neuse and Cape Fear rivers. The elevation of the terrace near the Sunderland escarpment is from 80 to 100 feet, while up the river valleys farther to the westward it may reach 120 feet in elevation, as shown in

some of the main-stream valleys in Cumberland and Johnston counties. The elevation of the inner surface of the Wicomico terrace in the northern counties is somewhat greater than in the south, but this is doubtless due to the fact that the Wicomico terrace has, because of marine planation, encroached somewhat farther westward on the Sunderland terrace here than farther to the south. The outer margin of the Wicomico terrace is about 60 feet, except in the great tract between the Cape Fear and Neuse rivers, where its easterly extension declines to 50 feet.

The largest areas of the Wicomico terrace are found between the Chowan and Roanoke rivers in Bertie, Hertford, and Northampton counties; between the Roanoke and Tar rivers in Halifax, Edgecombe, and Martin counties; between the Tar and Neuse rivers in Pitt and Greene counties; between the Neuse and Cape Fear rivers in Lenoir, Craven, Jones, Duplin, Onslow, Pender, and Bladen counties; and south of the Cape Fear between the Waccamaw and Lumber, chiefly in Columbus County. Much the largest area is between the Neuse and Cape Fear rivers, this great interstream area, many hundreds of square miles in area and over 40 miles in width, being poorly drained and with several great swamps on its surface. Here are found the Great Dover Swamp of Craven and Jones counties, the Whiteoak Pocoson of Jones and Pender counties, the Holly Shelter Swamp of Pender County, and the large swamp tracts in southern Duplin County. To the north of the Neuse River the areas are smaller and more largely dissected and the surface has been more fully drained. Even here, especially in the extensive area between the Roancke and Chowan rivers, numerous swamps are found.

The Chowan Terrace.—The Talbot terrace of Maryland may be divided into two terraces in North Carolina. They are called the Chowan and Pamlico terraces, from formations of the same names described in later pages of this report. The Chowan terrace lies to the east of the Wicomico terrace and also extends as reëntrants up many of the river channels, in some instances cutting entirely across the Wicomico terrace to the Sunderland terrace, thus breaking the continuity of the former. The Chowan terrace, like the Wicomico terrace, becomes more pronounced southward until it covers the larger part of New Hanover and Brunswick counties and the adjacent portions of Columbus, Bladen, and Pender counties. Farther to the northward it is found extensively developed in Onslow, Jones, and Pamlico counties and in adjacent portions of Carteret and Craven counties. Still farther northward it appears in Beaufort, Pitt, and Martin counties, and extending up the Tar River valley into Edgecombe County. It is also found extending from Martin and Bertie counties on either side of the Roanoke River valley

into Halifax and Northampton counties. It likewise covers considerable areas in Hertford, Chowan, and Gates counties, both to the east and west of the Chowan River valley. Along the eastern margin of the Wicomico terrace, from which it is often separated by a pronounced escarpment, it has an elevation of from 40 to 50 feet which up the reëntrant valleys often rises to 60 feet or more in elevation. It gradually declines eastward to about 30 feet near its seaward face. It has a width of 20 to 25 miles, somewhat more in the south than in the north, where it is also much more dissected than the Pamlico terrace. The larger areas in the southern counties are also on the whole less fully drained than in the north. In Columbus and Brunswick counties extensive swamps are found, including Green Swamp, a large underained area containing Waccamaw Lake.

The Pamlico Terrace.—The Pamlico terrace covers a large area to the east of the Chowan in the northern coastal counties to the north of Cape Lookout, while to the south of this point it is continued only in a narrow belt along the coast. In the valley of the Neuse and farther northward, especially in the Pamlico, Roanoke, and Chowan valleys, it extends as deep reëntrants up the channels of the several streams. It covers the entire area of Hyde, Dare, Tyrrell, Currituck, Camden, and Pasquotank, together with much of Perquimans, Chowan, Washington, Beaufort, Pamlico, Craven, and Carteret counties. Its elevation along the base of the Chowan escarpment is about 20 feet, from which point it slopes eastward to almost tide-level, and in the outer tier of counties in places seems to merge into the Recent deposits. The surface of the Pamlico terrace is covered over wide areas with swamps and marshes and embraces many estuaries, sounds, and bays. Many of the swamps along the rivers are on the Pamlico surface, as are also the Great Dismal Swamp of southern Virginia and northern North Carolina and the remarkable Mattamuskeet Lake of Hyde County, which is 16 miles long by 5 miles broad and has a depth of only 4 feet. The lower elevations of the Pamlico are also extensively covered with peaty bogs which may well prove of economic significance. The width of the Pamlico terrace exceeds 50 miles between Pamlico and Albemarle sounds. In the southern part of the State, in New Hanover and Brunswick counties, on the other hand, it is a very narrow strip and is confined to the lower courses of the Cape Fear and Northeast Cape Fear rivers.


The coastal border contains beaches, reefs, spits, and sand dunes. The inner beaches are narrow and sandy and frequently along the sounds are simply swampy lands that extend gradually below water level. They have been everywhere protected from the action of the

open sea by an almost continuous series of low-lying islands that accompany the entire coast from the Virginia to the South Carolina line as fringing reefs. These reefs are built up on the floor of the submarine division of the Coastal Plain, where the currents have deposited materials brought down by the streams and where its breakers and under-tow, by their mutual reaction, have caused a great reef to be heaped up parallel to the general trend of the shore line. Cobb,* in describing the reefs, says:

“The strong winds of midwinter come from the north, and the gentler steady winds of midsummer and of the greater part of the year blow usually from a little west of south. * * * The strong north winds pile the sands up into great barchanes or medanoes, crescentic sand dunes known locally as whaleheads, which are moving steadily southward. These are best developed along the Currituck Banks, from Virginia as far south as the Kill Devil Hills, and numbers of them may be seen to the north and to the south from the top of Currituck Light. These whaleheads are composed of singularly homogeneous blown sands, the horns or cusps of the barchanes pointing to leeward, which is almost due south.

“The prevailing winds from a little west of south have rippled the heterogeneous sands on Hatteras just south of the cape, on Shackleford at its southwest extremity, and on the southwest side of Smith's Island. These wind ripples, started in sands exposed by the removal of a strip of forest next to the shore, have grown in size to great sand waves, which are advancing on forests, fields, and homes. As the sand wave has advanced it has taken up several feet of the loose soil over which it has passed, undermining houses, laying bare the roots of trees, and exposing the bones of the dead in the cemeteries.

“Diurnal winds from the sea have pilled the sands into small wandering dunes and hillocks, and even sometimes into sand waves, which are marching steadily inward and shoaling the waters of the sounds. At Nag's Head a large hotel, constituting a solid obstruction, soon had a sand wave built up a short distance in its rear until the level of its roof was reached, when the wave moved forward and engulfed the hotel. In the immediate neighborhood two cottages suffered a similar fate. Here the land gained on the sound 350 feet in ten years.

“On the northern end of Hatteras Island a fishing village has been similarly buried, while the sand has entirely crossed the island at several places north of the cape. This movement of the sand was started just after the Civil War by the cutting of trees next the shore for ship timbers, and the section is still known as The Great Woods, though not a stick of timber stands upon it to-day. Pamlico Sound for two miles from the Hatteras shore is growing steadily shallower from the deposit of blown sand.

“On Smith's Island a pilot's village has been buried beneath the sand wave for a number of years, but this has been quite recently resurrected and its houses are again occupied. On Currituck, below Caffey's Inlet life-saving station, the sand has advanced entirely across the land, and one man, moving before the advancing sand, has at last built his house on piles in the sound.


“The writer has found by experiment that heterogeneous sands, consisting essentially of quartz, orthoclase, some mica, iron, bits of shell, and many mineral substances, showing little if any decomposition, ripple readily in the wind and are easily arrested * * * ; but so far he has found no means of checking the movement of homogeneous sands that do not ripple, these consisting entirely of well-rounded and wind-sorted quartz grains of the same size throughout a single dune. * * * As already pointed out, the movement of these sands was in every case started by the deforesting of a strip of land next the shore; but in several instances nature has herself grown forests on dune sands. Above Kitty Hawk Bay large dunes are covered with a growth of pine, maple, oak, cedar, sassafras, elm, locust, beech, persimmon, sycamore, hickory, and, in the damp interdune areas, gums and cypresses. Here are many veteran pines, some of them having attained a diameter of three feet. An essentially similar forest is found growing on the high dunes to the southwest of Cape Hatteras, but here we have to add the olive to the list, and there are broad interdune palmetto swamps.

“On Bogue Banks, where deforesting has only just begun at two points, we have 20 miles of woodland, the virgin forest extending down to the water's edge and preventing the formation of dunes.

“From Southport westward into South Carolina the dunes have moved northward and inland, in some places completely filling the lagoons. At one point such a filled lagoon has produced a pine forest in something more than forty years.

“The checking of these moving dunes presents a problem of increasing importance, not only to the inhabitants of these sand keys, but to the navigators of the inland waterways as well.”

The reefs reach a very much higher elevation than the adjacent mainland. The great dunes formed on these reefs attain in Dare County, in the Kill Devil Hills near Collington, an elevation of 100 feet or more, the sand being driven from them gradually shallowing Pamlico Sound. At many other points along the reefs the dunes reach 50 to 75 or more feet in elevation. Many such elevations, both large and small, are found on the Currituck banks in Currituck County.

From some points spits are developed by the shore currents, notably from Cape Lookout southward.





The geology of North Carolina as well as its physiography shows an intimate relationship to the adjacent areas on the north and south, so that its complete interpretation can be gained only by taking into consideration the great eastern border region of which the State is not only geographically but geologically a part. Frequent references will, therefore, be made in the succeeding pages to the general distribution and relations of the geological formations found represented within the limits of the State, although the detailed description will be confined to those features particularly characteristics of the North Carolina area. The most ancient rocks which make up the earth's crust as well as those still in the process of deposition are found within the State's confines, while between these wide limits there is hardly an important geological epoch which is not represented.

Geology in its broadest aspects must be regarded as the science of the earth from its earliest beginnings down to the present day, and as such stands in close relationship to the science of astronomy in its study of the origin of the solar system. In the absence of any other satisfactory theory, most geologists to-day accept the nebular hypothesis of Kant and Laplace to explain the evolution of the solar system. According to this hypothesis, the solar system was developed from a mass of nebulous matter, which extended far beyond the present orbit of the most distant planet, and was rotating slowly in the direction in which the planets now rotate. As a result of rotation this mass gradually contracted and increased in speed of rotation. It was formerly thought that successive rings were thrown off which broke and contracted into

the present planets; but by analogy with the many nebulæ which have become known in the last fifty years, it is now thought more probable that the planets originated in special points of condensation of the nebula. Comparisons of the spectra of the comets and nebulæ with those of meteors led Sir Norman Lockyer to the view that these bodies were made up of swarms of meteors whose temperature was raised by impact among themselves; and he contended that the solar system had its origin in such a swarm. Prof. George H. Darwin showed that such a swarm would probably act practically like a mass of gas and that the solar system under this hypothesis would develop in exactly the same way as under the hypothesis of a gaseous origin, a high temperature being caused by the impact of the meteors analogous to that produced by the contraction of the gas. This modification of the nebular hypothesis does not require any material change in the history of the solar system. As contraction and condensation proceeded, the ancestors of the planets became hotter and hotter, and finally reached a stage like that of our present sun; as they became still denser, their power of condensation diminished, and their comparatively small masses have allowed them to cool sufficiently to become solid, though the immense sun still retains enough heat to keep it in a gaseous or liquid state. In the case of the earth, as it continued to cool it is probable that the solid rock first formed at the surface, but on account of its greater density, sank through the underlying liquid, and gradually built up a solid foundation from the center to the surface. The very small conductivity of rock for heat has only allowed a very thin shell of the earth near the surface to cool appreciably below the temperature at which it first solidified. This view has been largely strengthened by the calculations of Lord Kelvin, who, assuming that heat had not been developed within the earth since its solidification in sufficient quantities materially to alter the temperature gradient near the surface, showed that the wellknown increase of temperature underground could only be accounted for on the supposition that the earth was at one time hot enough to be liquid. Within a few years Prof. T. C. Chamberlain has advanced the suggestion that the earth was built up by the accumulation of meteors which fell at such a slow rate that the heat of impact was dissipated pari passu, and that the internal heat of the earth is due to the compression of the earth under the weight of its own parts. Still more recently Prof. E. Rutherford has suggested that the internal heat is produced by the radio-active substances distributed throughout the earth, and the Hon. R. J. Strutt has shown that it is only necessary for these substances to be distributed to a depth of 45 miles with the density they have at the surface to account for the observed heat. The last two

hypotheses deny the assumption which is the basis of Lord Kelvin's calculations, and thus cast discredit on the resulting age of the earth; but under any hypothesis we are forced to believe that many millions of years have passed since life first appeared on the earth. We get still further conception of the vast lapses of time which these early rocks imply, when we discover that, even after the waters had become suited for living beings, a greater part of the development and differentiation of organic life went on in forms which have left no trace of their existence. Hardly a more remarkable fact confronts us in geology than the variety and the complexity of types in the earliest rocks which contain any trace of life at all. The fact which is all the more remarkable for being attested by the best evidence from all parts of the earth's surface, compels us to assign to the history of life before its first permanent record was made, a longer period perhaps than all the time that has since elapsed, unless the view more recently advanced, that acceleration of development took place in the case of the earliest sea-floor dwellers, is shown to be true. The earlier forms were either unsuited for preservation or else they have been obliterated in the subsequent alteration of the rocks containing them.

All of the oldest rocks which are to-day entirely without, or with only slight traces of former life, are referred to the first great division of geological history called Archean Time. These oldest rocks are largely crystalline in character, so that there can be but little chance of encountering organic forms, even had they earlier existed in the strata. Even the least altered deposits, although they have afforded a few scattered remains of archaic forms at certain points, contain nothing more than the merest traces of the organisms of this early time.

When, however, life does once appear in all its variety, it is well-nigh the same in all the older rocks. In the most widely separated localities the same types occur in rocks of the same age, and this furnishes us with the key to the succession of deposits. From the time when the oldest fossil-bearing stratum was deposited until now, the story of life-progress and development is told by the rocks with sufficient clearness to be unmistakable. Local differences of conditions have probably always prevailed, as they do now, but the same types of organisms have always lived at the same time over the entire globe, so their remains serve as sufficient criteria for the correlation of the strata which contain them. The sequence of life forms once made out gives us, for the whole earth, the means for fixing the order of deposits, even when this is most profoundly disarranged by foldings of the strata into mountains or by other earth movements.

Geologists distinguish three principal divisions in the history of life as read in the record of the rocks. During the earliest of these great time divisions, archaic forms of life flourished—uncouth fishes, crustaceans, mollusks, and tree-ferns—most of them very unlike those now extant. On this account this is known as the period of most ancient life, or Paleozoic Time. To this succeeded a long lapse of ages when enormous reptiles predominated, associated with other types more like those that now inhabit the globe. To this is given the name of middle life, or Mesozoic Time. Finally, living things began to assume the form and appearance with which we are familiar, so that this last grand time division, which includes the present, is designated as the period of recent life, or Cenozoic Time.

Each of these three grand divisions of geologic time is in its turn separated into shorter subdivisions called Periods, characterized by their own peculiar types of life; and the several periods themselves are divided into Epochs, which vary more or less in character according to the region where they are developed. For this reason the chronological and stratigraphical divisions require an independent nomenclature, although this duality of geological classification can in most instances be readily adjusted to the contingencies of each district. The stratigraphical divisions are usually designated by local terms.

There are representatives not only of each of these great time divisions in North Carolina, but also of most of the periods as well as of many of the epochs.

The Piedmont Plateau and Appalachian Region contain representatives of the Archean, Paleozoic, and earliest period of the Mesozoic, while the Coastal Plain contains representatives of the latest period of the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic. The following tables give the sequence of Coastal Plain formations of North Carolina described in detail in later pages:




Pleistocene—Pamlico Columbia Group.

Chowan Columbia Group.

Wicomico Columbia Group.

Sunderland Columbia Group.

Coharie Columbia Group.


Pliocene—Lafayette Waccamaw.

Miocene—Yorktown north of Hatteras axis.

St. Marys north of Hatteras axis.

Duplin (south of Hatteras axis).

Eocene—Castle Hayne. Trent.



Upper Cretaceous—Peedee. Black Creek.

Lower Cretaceous—Patuxent.

These Coastal Plain formations stand in marked contrast to the formations in other parts of the State, in that they have been but slightly changed since they were deposited. Laid down one upon another along the eastern flank of the Piedmont Plateau when the sea occupied the present area of the Coastal Plain, these later sediments form a series of thin sheets which are inclined slightly seaward, so that successively later formations are generally encountered in passing from the inland border of the region toward the coast. Oscillation of the sea floor with considerable variation both in the angle and direction of tilting went on, however, during the periods of Coastal Plain deposition, with the result that the stratigraphic relations of these formations, which generally have been held to be of the simplest character, possess in reality much complexity. Viewing the Coastal Plain as a whole, we find at no place accessible to our study a complete sequence of deposits, although sedimentation must have been going on continuously along the continental shelf. The incompleteness, therefore, must be regarded as a purely marginal condition due to the retrogressions and transgressions of the sea along the coastal border.

It is not uncommon to find in any particular region marked breaks in the sequence of sedimentation, the absent members being present perhaps only a short distance away. A number of instances of this kind are shown in the Coastal Plain district of North Carolina, which lack formations that appear in Virginia on the north and South Carolina on the south, while formations found in North Carolina are lacking in those States. Not only is this true as regards North Carolina and adjacent States, but also in different portions of the North Carolina Coastal Plain itself, particularly when the region to the north of the Hatteras axis is compared with that to the south, which will be fully discussed in a later portion of this report.

A brief discussion of the main divisions of the Coastal Plain is presented here preliminary to the detailed descriptions which will follow.


The Mesozoic formations are the basal deposits of the Coastal Plain, and they consist chiefly of sands, clays, and marls, for the most part unconsolidated. They include strata of Cretaceous age and certain basal beds that may be possibly Upper Jurassic, although there seems to be a growing belief on the part of geologists and paleontologists that the Mesozoic deposits of the Coastal Plain may be wisely considered as of Cretaceous age throughout, notwithstanding the claims hitherto made by certain leading authorities in vertebrate paleontology that the reptilian remains of the lower beds are Jurassic in their affinities.


The Mesozoic deposits will be considered in subsequent pages to belong entirely to the Cretaceous period. They constitute the largest element in the Coastal Plain series. The formations represent both the Lower and Upper Cretaceous.

Lower Cretaceous.

The Lower Cretaceous is represented from Maryland southward to the Gulf by formations consisting of gravels, sands, and clays. The arenaceous beds are often arkosic throughout this region and the deposits are stained by the hydrous oxides of iron and in some instances cemented to form a sandstone. They are extensively cross-bedded. The clays, which are at times very plastic and at other times more or less arenaceous, occur in large and small lenses. They have been extensively employed for economic purposes and many industries are based on them. Lignitic deposits frequently occur, and to the north iron ore beds also are found, which in Maryland were the chief source of the iron of colonial days.

The fossils of the Lower Cretaceous consist of dinosaurian and plant remains, the latter being mainly ferns, cycads, and conifers in the lower beds, with an increasing number of conifers toward the top of the series.

The Lower Cretaceous deposits in North Carolina are confined to the Patuxent formation, which consists of clays and sands, the latter prevailingly arkosic. A small amount of lignite has also been observed. No determinable fossils have been secured.

Upper Cretaceous.

Upper Cretaceous deposits are found from Massachusetts and the islands off the south coast of New England to the Gulf. They consist of gravels, sands, clays, and marls, the latter frequently glauconitic. The lower portions of the Upper Cretaceous series, although unconformable everywhere so far as known to the underlying Lower Cretaceous formations, are not unlike the older deposits in many respects, although in general less arkosic. The fossils are chiefly the remains of dicotyledonous types of plant life.

The higher beds are widely glauconitic, are rarely cross-bedded and at times contain such a large admixture of shell remains as to be highly calcareous, such deposits in places becoming indurated to form limestone ledges. The fossils in these upper beds consist largely of the remains of dinosauria, mollusca, bryozoa, brachiopoda, echinodermata, and formainifera. At some points an intergradation of the lower into the upper type of deposit appears, while at other points the change is clearly marked.

The Upper Cretaceous deposits in North Carolina have been divided into two formations known under the names of Black Creek and Peedee, the former consisting of sands and clays thinly laminated, with interstratified beds of marl in the upper portions, and the latter consisting largely of argillaceous sands, more or less glauconitic, and with beds here and there highly calcareous. The fossils of the Black Creek formation consist of plant remains, especially of conifers and dicotyledons, and in the upper beds also of dinosaurian bones and coprolites, fish teeth and molluscan shells. The fossils of the Peedee sand consist of reptilian bones and fish teeth and the remains of mollusca, bryozoa, echinodermata, foraminifera, and other groups, showing a distinctly marine facies.


The Cenozoic deposits overlie the Mesozoic formations, and although collectively possessing less thickness than the underlying Mesozoic, are much more conspicuous in surface outcrop than the older beds. Like the latter, they consist chiefly of sands, clays, and marls; but as their origin is in most instances different, they are commonly distinct in lithologic character. The older Cenozoic beds are in places strikingly similar to the later Mesozoic, but the later Cenozoic deposits are quite different. The sands, except in the very latest Cenozoic formations, are rarely cross-bedded and the arkosic character is absent. The beds, however, are prevailingly unconsolidated, although ferruginous and calcareous strata now and then occur.


The Tertiary deposits consist of sands, clays, and marls, the last being highly glauconitic at the lowest horizons and calcareous higher in the series. They represent the Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, and Pliocene periods. Oligocene strata are apparently absent from the middle and northern Coastal Plain regions, and therefore will not be further considered in this connection.


Deposits representing different horizons of the Eocene are found scattered more or less irregularly either along the eastern margin of the Cretaceous formations or as the result of transgression as isolated outcrops on the surface of the Cretaceous or even beyond the latter on the crystalline rocks of the Piedmont Plateau. The older Eocene deposits, which are largely sands, are highly glauconitic, in this respect showing a marked similarity to the Cretaceous beds below. The later Eocene deposits lose their glauconitic character and become often highly calcareous, the materials frequently being indurated by the calcareous cement. A profuse infralittoral fauna, chiefly representing the mollusca, bryozoa, echinodermata, zoantharia and foraminifera with fish teeth and reptilian bones and coprolites, is found.

The Eocene deposits of North Carolina consist of the later facies of Eocene sedimentation. They are highly calcareous and often indurated and occur irregularly scattered over the surface of the Cretaceous formations and even transgressing the latter into the Piedmont Plateau. They often occur in depressions in the Cretaceous surface where they have withstood the erosion to which the rest of the deposits have been subjected, since there is every reason to believe that the Eocene beds had a much wider extent formerly and that the present isolated outcrops are merely remnants of a continuous or nearly continuous sheet. The Eocene deposits of North Carolina are all to the south of the Hatteras axis, as far as known. They are divided into the Trent and Castle Hayne formations, the relations of which are unknown from any observed contact, except in a single well boring, but they are probably unconformable, just as the Eocene deposits are unconformable everywhere in North Carolina to the underlying Cretaceous. Fossils of infralittoral marine types are numerous, although the molluscan forms are with difficulty determined because they occur largely as imperfect casts.


Miocene deposits constitute a thick mantle over the eastern margin of the older formations throughout much of the Coastal Plain area and

in some places transgress them onto older formations. They are unconformable to the underlying Eocene. The Miocene deposits consist of sands, clays, marls, and diatomaceous earth beds. Glauconitic materials are rarely found, and when found are probably derived from older formations. The diatomaceous earth is most strikingly developed in the basal Miocene formations of Virginia and Maryland, where it has been known as “Richmond earth.” The calcareous marls are at times cemented into limestone ledges. The fossils consist chiefly of littoral and infralittoral forms in which the cetacea, mollusca, bryozoa, echinodermata, zoantharia, foraminifera, and diatomacea are chiefly represented.

The Miocene deposits of North Carolina belong to the later facies of Miocene sedimentation, the littoral phase being well developed in the Yorktown formation to the north of the Hatteras axis and in the Duplin formation to the south of the Hatteras axis, where the shell remains are much broken by wave action. In the underlying St. Marys formation of the former area—the only other Miocene formation found in North Carolina—the moderately fine argillaceous sands are of a distinctly infralittoral character. They rest unconformably on Eocene or Cretaceous beds as the case may be. The fossils of the North Carolina Miocene are varied and numerous.


Pliocene or supposed Pliocene deposits of two very marked types occur in the Coastal Plain region. The first is an infralittoral marine deposit not known with certainty to occur to the north of Cape Hatteras, although a detailed study of well borings may show it to overlie the Miocene beds toward the coast beneath the mantle of Pleistocene deposits. To the southward this phase of the Pliocene is, however, well developed and its characters are not unknown. The deposits of this type, however, lie as far as known along the eastern margin of the subaërial division of the Coastal Plain in somewhat detached basins. It is called the Waccamaw formation in North Carolina, where it is chiefly found in the region near the mouths of the Neuse and Cape Fear rivers. The isolated outcrops are probably remnants of a once continuous deposit. Whether the poorly developed Croatan deposits should be included cannot be determined with our present knowledge of those beds.

The second phase is a littoral and sublittoral phase, the exact age of which in the absence of fossils has never been satisfactorily determined. It is evidently of late Tertiary or early Quaternary time. It consists of gravels, sands, and loams which were evidently laid down close to

land the border of which it enwrapped, forming a terrace-like deposit. This formation is widely known to-day as the Lafayette formation from the Gulf to Pennsylvania, where the last remnants occur. In North Carolina the Lafayette is largely represented in the “sandhills” along the eastern margin of the Coastal Plain.


The Quaternary deposits south of the terminal moraine of the continental ice sheet consist chiefly of the great Pleistocene terraces covering the larger portion of the Coastal Plain area and the Recent beaches, sand dunes, bars, and spits along the coastal border. Just below tide in the estuaries and along the coast is the Recent terrace which is now in process of formation and which affords such convincing proof of what transpired during preceding Pleistocene time in the relatively slight oscillations to which the Coastal Plain was then subjected.


The Pleistocene formations of the Coastal Plain are collectively known as the Columbia group. With the exception of the Recent deposits, they are the youngest of the Coastal Plain sediments. They lie on the surface and form a thin mantle that conceals from view all of the older formations over wide areas. Wherever found along the Atlantic border south of the terminal moraine, they are developed as more or less clearly defined terraces. Throughout the northern part of the region three well marked levels appear, while in North Carolina the upper and lower show subdivisions indicating intermediate periods of rest in the oscillatory movements of the sea in this area that have not been recognized farther northward. The deposits consist of gravels, sands, and loams, with ice-borne bowlders adjacent to the courses of the more northern streams.

The North Carolina Pleistocene deposits comprise five clearly defined terrace formations, known as the Coharie, Sunderland, Wicomico, Chowan, and Pamlico, which have been developed at successively lower levels throughout the Coastal Plain area of the State. The Talbot formation of the northern Coastal Plain is the equivalent of the Chowan and Pamlico, the subordinate terrace levels not having been recognized in the more northern areas.


The Recent formations embrace, first, those aqueous deposits that are being laid down to-day over the submarine portions of the Coastal Plain and in the estuaries, sounds, bays, and lakes and along the various

streams, and, second, such terrestrial deposits as dunes and humus. In short, all deposits which are being formed at the present time under water or on the land by natural agencies belong to this division of geological time. All of these Recent deposits are being formed in various portions of the North Carolina Coastal Plain and collectively afford an ever increasing volume of deposits that represent the influence of the forces now active.




BARTRAM, WILLIAM.—Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, etc. 520 pp., 6 pls.; Philadelphia, 1791; London, 1794.

Describes physical features, soils, vegetation, etc., from the South Carolina line in Brunswick County, northward along Cape Fear River to Cambleton [Fayetteville], and thence northeastward to the Virginia line.

A bluff at Ashwood on Cape Fear River, which was situated 3 or 4 miles below the present site of Whitehall, is described in considerable detail (pp. 472-479).


MACLURE, WILLIAM.—Observations on the Geology of the United States, Explanatory of a Geological Map. Amer. Phil. Soc. Trans., vol. 6, pp. 411-428, map, 1809. Jour. de Physique, vol. 69, pp. 204-213; vol. 72, pp. 137-165, map, 1811.

The boundaries of the Atlantic Coastal Plain are defined with considerable accuracy, the strata constituting it being referred to the “Alluvial formation.” The author states that it contains beds of shells.


MACLURE, WILLIAM.—Observations on the Geology of the United States, etc. Amer. Phil. Soc. Trans., vol. 1, new series, pp. 1-91, map, plates 1-2. Philadelphia, 1818. Published separately, Philadelphia, 1817. Zeitsch. Mineral. (Leonhard), vol. 1, 1826, pp. 124-138.

The whole Coastal Plain is included in the author's “Alluvial formation,” which consists of peat, sand, gravel, bog iron-ore, shell marls, and, in a few places, limestone.


HAYDEN, HORACE H.—Geological Essays; or an inquiry into some of the geologic phenomena to be found in various parts of America and elsewhere. Baltimore, 1820, 412 pp.

The origin of the deposits of the Coastal Plain is attributed to a mighty flood of waters which swept across the North American continent from the northeast to the southwest. The currents transported the materials from the interior of the continent and deposited them in their present position in the Coastal Plain region.


DICKSON, JOHN.—Notices of the Mineralogy and Geology of Parts of South and North Carolina, in a letter to the Editor. Amer. Jour. Sci., 1st ser., vol. 3, 1821, pp. 1-4.

The Carolinas are divided into three regions—the sandy region, the clay country, and the mountains. The sandy region is practically coextensive with the Coastal Plain. The topographic features and character of the surface soils are briefly described.


OLMSTED, DENISON.—Descriptive Catalogue of Rocks and Minerals Collected in North Carolina. Amer. Jour. Sci., vol. 5, pp. 257-264, 1822.

Brief references are made to marly limestones in Wayne County and an extensive bed of gray compact limestone on the lower Cape Fear, “where it is burnt for lime.”


MITCHELL, ELISHA.—Report of the Geology of North Carolina. Conducted under the direction of the Board of Agriculture. Pt. III, Raleigh, 1827, 27 pp.

The origin of the low country of North Carolina is discussed, and the conclusion reached that “it is, compared with the secondary formations of other countries, of recent date.”

He mentions the occurrence of blue marl in great abundance on the banks of Northeast Cape Fear River a little below the village of South Washington. Brief statements are made concerning the marls of Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, Duplin, Halifax, and Hertford counties. He recognized the fact that the strata of the Coastal Plain were not all of the same age, though he did not refer them to any definite periods. The oldest marl beds which he describes are now referred to the Eocene or the Cretaceous, while the later ones are Miocene or Pliocene.

MITCHELL, ELISHA.—Geological Report on North Carolina. Papers on agricultural subjects, conducted under the direction of the Board of Agriculture, 1827, pp. 101-108. Raleigh.

Marl is reported from the Tar River, while “fine clay, marl, shell limestone, and iron pyrites” are said to be abundantly, as well as extensively, distributed through the “Low Country.”

OLMSTED, DENISON.—Report on the Geology of North Carolina. Conducted under the direction of the Board of Agriculture. Part II, 1827, pp. 87-141. Abst., Am. Jour. Sci., vol. 14, pp. 230-251, 1828.

The author describes green sands containing fossil wood which occur on Neuse River in Wayne County. Similar materials are said to extend for 100 miles along the river. These are now known to be of Cretaceous age (pp. 98-99).

Descriptions are given of the [Eocene] limestones which occur along the Trent River, in Craven and Jones counties, in the Sarpony Hills, and at Bass’ Ferry, near the mouth of Falling Creek, on the Neuse River. They have been burned for lime or used for construction purposes. He also

describes (Miocene) materials along the Neuse River below New Bern and on the Tar River, near Tarboro, and the (Pliocene) marl along the Beaufort Canal. All of these materials are described merely as marls or limestones, with no discussion of their age or correlation.

VANUXEM, LARDNER.—See S. G. Morton (Geological Observations on the Secondary, Tertiary, and Alluvial Formations of the Atlantic Coast of the United States of America).


MITCHELL, ELISHA.—On the Character and Origin of the Low Country of North Carolina. Amer. Jour. Sci., vol. 13, pp. 336-347, 1828.

The author combats the view, apparently common at that time, that the Coastal Plain materials were accumulated by the currents of the Gulf Stream, and also the view of Hayden, published in 1820, that they were transported by a great flood from the northeast, and comes to the conclusion that “the strata of the low country were formed in the bed of the sea, and this district became dry land either by a depression of the level of the ocean or by the elevation of its bed, by a force operating from beneath.” He believes that the “low country” is made up of recent strata, as evidenced by the character of the shells. He refers to the discovery of the remains of both the mastodon and the elephant in digging the Clubfoot and Harlow Canal, near the mouth of the Neuse River. The deposits of marl at the Natural Well, at Wilmington, and at Rocky Point, are briefly described.


MORTON, SAMUEL G.—Geological Observations on the Secondary, Tertiary, and Alluvial Formations of the Atlantic Coast of the United States of America. (Arranged from the notes of Lardner Vanuxem.) Acad. Nat. Sci., Phila., Jour., vol. 6, 1829, pp. 59-71.

In this report the author names the localities south of Delaware in which the “Secondary” strata had, up to that time, been observed to occur, as follows: Ashwood, near the Cape Fear River, North Carolina [3 or 4 miles below Whitehall]; Mars Bluff, on the Peedee River; Effinghams Mills, Florence County, South Carolina; near the Eutaw Springs, Berkeley County, South Carolina [now known to be Eocene]; and Cockspur Island, near the Savannah River, South Carolina [likewise an Eocene locality].


CONRAD, T. A.—Fossil Shells of the Tertiary Formations of North America. Vol. 1, No. 1, 20 pp., 6 pls., Phila., 1832. Republished by G. D. Harris, Washington, 1893.

The Tertiary deposits of North Carolina are referred to the “Upper Marine” or “Upper Tertiary.” Arca limula, Arca transversa, and Cypricardia arata, from New Bern, are described and figured.


CONRAD, T. A.—Observations on the Tertiary and More Recent Formations of a Portion of the Southern States. Acad. Nat. Sci., Phila., Jour., vol. 7, pp. 116-129, 1834.

The Miocene deposits at Wilmington are referred to the Pliocene, while the Eocene is not mentioned.

“The deposit therefore, at Vance's Ferry, is probably very limited in extent and extremely superficial, capping the Cretaceous rocks in the same manner as at Wilmington, North Carolina, where a patch only a few feet thick reposes on the zoophytic secondary rocks.”

HARLAN, R.—Critical Notices of Various Organic Remains Hitherto Discovered in North America. (Read May 21, 1834.) Trans., Geol. Soc. Pa., vol. 1, Pt. I, 1834, pp. 46-112. Med. Phy. Researches, 1835. (With a few additions.)

Quotes from Cuvier's “Theory of the Earth,” by S. L. Mitchell, in regard to the skeleton of a huge animal found on the bank of the Meherrin River, near Murfreesborough. The vertebral column recovered measured 26 feet and both tail and head were absent. Harlan says: “We have recognized them as the remains of a gigantic species of shark.” Were probably the remains of a whale.

MORTON, SAMUEL G.—Synopsis of the Organic Remains of the Cretaceous Group of the United States. Philadelphia, 1834, 88 pp., 19 pls.

Describes the mineralogical and organic characters of the Cretaceous and indicates briefly its known geographic extent in North America. The “Secondary or Cretaceous group” is included in the divisions, the Ferruginous sand and the Calcareous strata. The synopsis proper consists of descriptions, arranged in systematic order, of the known organic remains of the Cretaceous, including vertebrates and invertebrates.


CONRAD, T. A.—Fossil Shells of the Tertiary Formations of North America. Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 29-58, pls. 15-18. Phila., 1835. Republished by G. D. Harris, Washington, 1893.

The Tertiary deposits near New Bern are referred to the “Newer Pliocene.”

CONRAD, T. A.—Observations on a Portion of the Atlantic Tertiary Region. Geol. Soc. Pa., Trans., vol. 1, pp. 335-341, 1835.

The author states that he was in error in his previous statements concerning the existence of the Miocene in the United States. He asserts that all Tertiary deposits above the Eocene belong to the Pliocene, which is divisible into the “Older” and “Newer” Pliocene. Brief mention is made of the existence of the “Newer Pliocene” in North Carolina.

CONRAD, T. A.—Observations on the Tertiary Strata of the Atlantic Coast. Amer. Jour. Sci., vol. 28, pp. 104-111, 280-282, 1835.

The author discusses the Tertiary strata of the Atlantic Coast, and states that the Miocene is probably wanting. It seems that he would refer all of what we now call Miocene in North Carolina to the “Medial Pliocene,” while his “Newer Pliocene” constitutes our Pleistocene. He gives a list of sixty-seven species of fossil shells from Mr. Benner's plantation on the Neuse River, below New Bern, only five of which are extinct or unknown. He refers the beds to the “Newer Pliocene.” The lists of

fossils given seem to prove conclusively that they are Pleistocene. The writer compares the fossils from this locality with those found near the mouth of the Potomac River (Cornfield Harbor).

CROOM, H. B.—Some Account of the Organic Remains Found in the Marl Pits of Lucas Benners, Esq., in Craven County, N. C. Amer. Jour. Sci., vol. 27, pp. 168-171, 1835.

Mr. Benners’ estate, where the pits were dug, was located on the north bank of the Neuse River, sixteen miles below New Bern. The pits were about 25 feet in depth, and about 10 feet below the surface of the river. The following genera are named and their measurements given:

1. Pholas costata.7. Arca.13. Buccinum.
2. Venus.8. Pecten.14. Mya.
3. Strombus.9. Ostrea.15. Donax (?).
4. Murex.10. Patella fornicata.16. Nerita.
5. Cardium.11. Pectunculus.17. Madrepora porites.
6. Solen.12. Conus.

Besides, there were sharks’ teeth, vertebræ of fishes, and teeth, hoof, and horns of an elk, and grinder of Mastodon giganteum.

MORTON, SAMUEL G.—Notice of the Fossil Teeth of Fishes of the United States, the Discovery of the Galt in Alabama, and a Proposed Division of the American Cretaceous Group. Amer. Jour. Sci., vol. 28, 1835, pp. 276-278.

The author divides the American Cretaceous into the Upper division, the Medial division, and the Lower division. The beds included in the Upper division and at least a part of those included in the Lower division were later shown to belong to the Eocene.


CONRAD, T. A.—Fossils of the Medial Tertiary of the United States. No. 1, 1838, 32 pp., pls., 1-27, Phila. Republished by W. H. Dall, Washington, 1893.

Fossils are described from the Miocene at Murfreesborough, Wilmington, and near New Bern, which he refers to the “Medial Tertiary.”

WAGNER, WILLIAM.—Description of Five New Fossils of the Older Pliocene Formation of Maryland and North Carolina. (Read January, 1838.) Jour. Acad. Nat. Sci., Phila., vol. 8, 1838, pp. 51-53.

The three following new forms of Miocene shells from “Meherring River,” North Carolina, are described and figured:

Pecten marylandicus,

Panopea goldfussii,

Mysia nucleiformis.


CONRAD, T. A.—Fossils of the Medial Tertiary of the United States. No. 2, 1840, pp. 33-56, pls. XVIII-XXIX. Phila. Published by W. H. Dall, Washington, 1893.

The following fossils are described:

Lucina divaricata, from Upper Tertiary of North Carolina.

Astarte lunulata, from Upper Tertiary, New Bern.

Pecten eboreus, from Upper Tertiary, New Bern.

CONRAD, T. A.—New Fossil Shells from North Carolina. Amer. Jour. Sci. and Arts, vol. 39, 1840, pp. 387-388.

The following new species of fossils from the “Medial Tertiary” of Duplin County are described:

Natica canrena,Fulgur contrarius,Conus adversarius,
Fulgur excavatus,Voluta carolinensis,Lucina jamaicensis Lam.


CONRAD, T. A.—Description of Twenty-six New Species of Fossil Shells, Discovered in the Medial Tertiary Deposits of Calvert Cliffs, Maryland. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci., Phila., vol. 1, 1841, pp. 28-33.

The new species, Astrea bella, from near New Bern is described. The same description is repeated in the Jour. Acad. Nat. Sci., vol. 8.

CONRAD, T. A.—Appendix to paper by JAMES T. HODGE, entitled, Observations on the Secondary and Tertiary Formations of the Southern Atlantic States. Assoc. Amer. Geol., Trans., 1840-42; Appendix, 1843, pp. 106-111. Abstr., Amer. Jour. Sci., vol. 41, 1841, pp. 344-348.

See abstract of paper by Hodge.

HODGE, JAMES T.—Observations on the Secondary and Tertiary Formations of the Southern Atlantic States, with an Appendix by T. A. CONRAD. Abstract, Amer. Jour. Sci., vol. 41, pp. 182, 183, 332-348, 1841. Trans., Assoc. Amer. Geol., pp. 34-35, 94-111, 1843.

The occurrence of the “Secondary formation,” consisting of a blue sandstone containing Exogyra costata, Belemnites, Plagiostoma palagicum, Anomia ephippium, etc., on the northeast banks of the Cape Fear River [doubtless meaning the Northeast Cape Fear River], in the neighborhood of South Washington [now Watha], is described. He thinks the occurrence of this rock between the Tertiary deposits to the east and west indicates a low anticlinal axis running north and south.

The shell marls at Murfreesboro, near Williamston, at the Natural Well in Duplin County, and at Wilmington, all of which are referred to the “Medial Tertiary,” are described. A limestone is described from the western part of Jones County at the heads of Trent and New rivers, which contains 87% CaCo3. This is referred to the “Secondary (Cretaceous) formation,” but is undoubtedly Eocene. The Eocene at Wilmington seems also to have been confused with the Cretaceous.

A list of 84 species of “Medial Tertiary” (Miocene) fossils is given from the Natural Well and 52 from Wilmington. In the appendix 32 new species of fossils are described from the Natural Well and 18 are figured. Brief descriptions of Angola Bay and Holly Shelter Swamp. in Pender and Duplin counties, are given.

LIMBER, JOHN.—Fossil Remains in Lenoir County, N. C. Amer. Jour. Sci., vol. 40, p. 405, 1841.

In digging a ditch near the summit level between the Neuse and Northeast Cape Fear rivers, three miles from the Neuse and on a branch of it and at least 100 feet above the river, the following section was penetrated:

Fine white sand and vegetable matter3 inches.
Shell bed3 inches.
Yellowish clay containing bones of enormous sizefew inches.
Black impervious clay, containing a few bonesdepth unknown.

The shell marl is said to be very abundant and to have been used on the land.

REDFIELD, WILLIAM C.—Fossil Shells from Tertiary Marl Beds at Washington, Beaufort County, N. C. Amer. Jour. Sci., vol. 41, p. 161, 1841. Trans., Amer. Assoc. Geol., p. 14, 1843.

The fossils were said to occur at a depth of 15 to 20 feet below the surface and about 2 feet below the usual level of the water in Pamlico River and Sound. The fossils were in a good state of preservation and were supposed to belong to the Miocene period. No names of the species found are given.


CONRAD, T. A.—Observations on a Portion of the Atlantic Tertiary Region, with a Description of New Species of Organic Remains. Proc. Nat. Inst. Promotion of Science, vol. 1, pp. 171-194, 2 pls., 1842.

The thickness of the entire Miocene in the Atlantic Coastal Plain is given as 100 feet. It is said to occur in the eastern counties of North Carolina. The “Upper Tertiary,” or post-Pliocene, with a thickness of 12 feet, is represented by the beds on the north side of the Neuse River. 15 miles below New Bern. A list of 34 species of mollusks is given. The locality is now considered Pleistocene.

CONRAD, T. A.—Description of Twenty-four New Species of Fossil Shells, Chiefly from the Tertiary Deposits of Calvert Cliffs, Maryland (read June 1, 1841). Jour. Acad. Nat. Sci., Phila., vol. 8, 1842, pp. 183-190.

Astrea bella, a new species of Astrea from near New Bern, is described.

HARLAN, R.—Notice of Two New Fossil Mammals from Brunswick Canal, Georgia; with Observations on Some of the Fossil Quadrupeds of the United States. Amer. Jour. Sci., vol. 43, 1842, pp. 141-144, 2 pls.

Mention is made of the teeth of a Sus from the post-Pliocene (Pleistocene) of New Bern, that was found in association with the remains of the mastodon, elephant, elk, deer, horse, seal, cetacea, tortoise, shark, skate snake, and fish, together with fossil shells. (These were probably from the Benners plantation, 15-16 miles below New Bern, on the north bank of the Neuse River.)

LYELL, CHARLES.—On the Tertiary Formations and Their Connection with the Chalk in Virginia and Other Parts of the United States. (Review of paper read before the Society.) Geol. Soc., London, Proc., vol. 3, 1842, p. 736.

The resemblance of the marls on Northeast Cape Fear River near South Washington to the New Jersey Cretaceous marls, both as regards lithology and organic content, is noted. This locality was first reported by Mitchell, and later the materials were referred to the “Secondary formation” by Hodge. He states that these marls extend to the south of Lewis Creek along the Northeast Cape Fear nearly to Rocky Point, where they are covered by the Eocene limestone and conglomerate. He could find no

organic remains which supported the view held by Hodge and other geologists, that the latter was an “upper Secondary” deposit or a deposit interposed between the Cretaceous and the Eocene.

MITCHELL, ELISHA.—Elements of Geology, with an Outline of the Geology of North Carolina. 1842, 141 pp. (esp. pp. 123-141).

Geologic map of State under first cover. He divides the Coastal Plain materials into two classes, namely, the Tertiary strata and the “Secondary” strata. He does not clearly differentiate between the Tertiary and later deposits. The character of the materials which go to make up the land of the low country and the age of the fossil remains which they contain are briefly described.

A formation contemporaneous with the marls of New Jersey and the Cretaceous of Europe is described as underlying the southern part of the State, outcropping at intervals from the eastern part of Jones County to the Cape Fear River. He states that it is well exhibited at Wilmington, and the good lands of Jones and Onslow counties and those at Rocky Point in Pender County are ascribed to it. The rocks to which he refers are the well-known Eocene limestone of this region, which up to this time had been regarded by Mitchell and other geologists as of “Secondary” age. No definite mention is made of the greensands of the Cape Fear River.


CONRAD, T. A.—Description of a New Genus, and Twenty-nine New Miocene and One Eocene Fossil Shells of the United States. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci., Phila., vol. 1, 1843, pp. 305-311.

The following new species of Miocene shells from North Carolina are described:

MioceneCarditamera carinataNew Bern.
Pecten vicenariusWilmington.
Amphidesma æquataWilmington.
Lucina multistriataWilmington.
Oliva duplicataWilmington.
Venus cribrariaWilmington and Neuse River below New Bern.
Crepidula densataNatural Well, Duplin County.
Tellina arctataNorth Carolina.

RUFFIN, EDMUND.—Report of the Commencement and Progress of the Agricultural Survey of South Carolina. Columbia, S. C., 1843, 120 pp. (esp. pp. 7, 24-27).

Describes the lithologic character, stratigraphic position and distribution of the “Secondary” or Peedee formation. This terrane corresponds to Sloan's “Burches Ferry marl” (1907). He also describes a “shale” or clay underlying the Peedee (“Burches Ferry”) formation, which he does not name, but which corresponds to Sloan's Black Creek shale (1907).


LYELL, CHARLES.—On the Geological Position of the Mastodon Giganteum and Associated Fossil Remains at Bigbone Lick, Kentucky, and Other Localities in the United States and Canada. Amer. Jour. Sci., 1st series, vol. 46, 1844, pp. 320-323.

Notes the occurrence of a large assemblage of mammalian bones, including those of the mastodon giganteum, on the Neuse River 15 miles below New Bern.

LYELL, CHARLES.—Notes on the Cretaceous Strata of New Jersey and Parts of the United States Bordering the Atlantic. Amer. Jour. Sci., vol. 47, 1844, pp. 213-214.

Describes the Cretaceous of the Atlantic Coast of the United States as consisting of greensand and marl, red and highly ferruginous sandstones, white sand, limestone, and some beds of lignite. He states that they agree in their lithologic characters with the Lower Cretaceous series of Europe, but that in their fossils they agree far more nearly with the European strata ranging from the Gault to the Mæstricht beds inclusive.

At South Washington (now Watha), Pender County, North Carolina, he found Cretaceous strata with characteristic Cretaceous fossils, some common to the lower and some to the upper fossiliferous group of New Jersey. He also found several new species. The pebbly limestone at Wilmington is referred to the Eocene.

RUFFIN, EDMUND.—Secondary and Miocene Marls on and Near Lynch's Creek, in Darlington, Sumter, Williamsburgh, and Marion Districts. (Supplemental report of the agricultural survey for 1843.) Report on the Geological and Agricultural Survey of the State of South Carolina, Columbia, S. C., 1844, pp. 59-63.

Describes occurrence of the “Secondary formation” on Lynch's Creek in South Carolina and on the Waccamaw River in the vicinity of Conway. He also gives an account of two exposures of “Secondary” marl which he observed near South Washington, North Carolina, from which he obtained Belemnitella, Exogyra lastatœ [probably meaning costata], and large thick shells of a similar oyster. This was doubtless the same, or approximately the same, horizon at which Lyell made his collection.


BAILEY, J. W.—Notice of Some New Localities of Infusoria, Fossil and Recent. Amer. Jour. Sci., vol. 48, 1845, pp. 321-343, pl. IV.

Mention is made of the presence of fossil Polythalamia in the Miocene marl at Wilmington, N. C.

CONRAD, T. A.—Fossils of the (Medial Tertiary or) Miocene Formation of the United States. No. 3, 1845, pp. 57-80, pls. XXX-XLV, Philadelphia. Republished by W. H. Dall, Washington, 1893.

A large number of fossils are described from the Neuse River near New Bern, from Wilmington, and from the Natural well in Duplin County.

FORBES, EDWARD.—On the Fossil Shells Collected by Mr. Lyell from the Cretaceous Formations of New Jersey. Geol. Soc., London, Quart. Jour., vol. 1, 1845, pp. 61-62.

Describes and figures the new species, Ostrea subspatulata, from Lewis Creek near South Washington, N. C., collected by Lyell.

LYELL, CHARLES.—Travels in North America, with Geological Observations on the United States, Canada, and Nova Scotia. 2 vols.: vol. 1, 251 pp.; vol. 2, 221 pp., 7 pls. 12 mo. New York, 1845. Other editions published in London and Halle.

The occurrence of Cretaceous greensand marl on Lewis Creek near South Washington is described, and the presence of Belemnitella and other characteristic New Jersey Cretaceous forms is noted (vol. 1, p. 156).

Reference is made to the fossil beds on the lower Neuse River previously described by Conrad, and the presence of fossiliferous strata of Eocene and Miocene age at Wilmington. He also describes the general character of the great Dismal Swamp and the pine barrens of Virginia and North Carolina.

LYELL, CHARLES.—Observations on the White Limestone and Other Eocene or Older Tertiary Formations of Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia. Quar. Jour. Geol. Soc., vol. 1, pp. 429-442, 1845.

The writer notes the differences between the Eocene of Maryland and Virginia, in which greensand predominates, and the Eocene of the Carolinas and Georgia, where the materials consist principally of highly calcareous white marls and white limestones. The Eocene exposures at Wilmington and Rocky Point on the Northeast Cape Fear River are briefly described. At Wilmington he collected 39 species of fossils, most of which are determined generically only. Terebratula wilmingtonensis is described as a new species. In conclusion, he states that there are few Eocene species common to the United States and Europe, and only one from the Wilmington Eocene, Infundibulum trochiforme.

LYELL, CHARLES.—On the Miocene Tertiary Strata of Maryland, Virginia, and of North and South Carolina. Quar. Jour. Geol. Soc., vol. 1, pp. 413-429, 1845.

“In the cliffs at Wilmington, North Carolina, resting on a calcareous eocene rock, are seen miocene shelly strata of the ordinary character, in which I collected about thirty species of shells” (p. 418). The following recent species were found there in the Miocene: Calyptraea costata, Dentalium dentalis, Solen ensis, Lucina anodonta, Lucina contracta, and Venus mercenaria. Lucina contracta also occurs in the Suffolk Crag, while several of the Wilmington forms are said to be very closely allied to European Miocene species.

LYELL, CHARLES.—Notes on the Cretaceous Strata of New Jersey, and Other Parts of the United States Bordering the Atlantic. Geol. Soc., London, Quart. Jour., vol. 1, 1845, pp. 55-60.

The Lewis Creek locality near South Washington (now Watha) is correlated with the Cretaceous strata of New Jersey. A partial list of the fossils is given.


TUOMEY, MICHAEL.—Reports on the Geology of South Carolina. Columbia, S. C., 1848. 293 pp., 2 maps (esp. pp. 132-139). Review Amer. Jour. Sci., 2d series, vol. 8, 1849, pp. 61-74.

In this report (pp. 132-139) Professor Tuomey describes in detail the localities at which he observed Cretaceous strata. These are limited to the eastern part of the State, occurring principally in the banks and bluffs of the Peedee, Waccamaw, and Black rivers and their tributaries. He states that these beds form a continuation of the Cretaceous strata outcropping on the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. The latter are said to contain a small content of glauconite, but not a grain did he observe in the former. A list of the Cretaceous fossils is given.


DESOR, E.—Post-Pliocene of the Southern States and its Relation to the Laurentian of the North and the Deposits of the Valley of the Mississippi. Amer. Jour. Sci., 2d series, vol. 14, 1852, pp. 49-59.

The beds along the Neuse River below New Bern, evidently those on Benners’ plantation, described by Conrad, are referred to the post-Pliocene.

EMMONS, EBENEZER.—Report of Professor Emmons on His Geological Survey of North Carolina, pp. 3-182. Raleigh, 1852.

The greensand occurring on Cape Fear River, at various localities below Elizabethtown and at Wilmington, which he regards as of higher value as a fertilizer than the shell marl of the region, he correctly refers to the Cretaceous.

Many analyses of soils and marls are given, and various sections of the marl beds described. The fossiliferous beds containing oysters and clams primarily in the vicinity of the ocean are referred to the post-Pliocene; certain beds near New Bern, and probably some deposits along Fishing Creek, to the Pliocene; to the Miocene are referred the beds near Goldsboro, Tarboro, Rocky Mount, along the Toisnot and Contentnea creeks, the Neuse and Tar rivers; at Elizabethtown, Walker's Bluff, and Brown's Landing; to the Eocene certain gravel beds in the vicinity of Leaksville, Rockingham County, and Carthage, Moore County (these are probably Cretaceous), and greenish-colored clays and marls found at Colonel Collier's plantation, near Goldsboro, and at Wilmington.

MCLENAHAN, S.—Letter to Professor Emmons, State Geologist, in Report of Geological Survey of North Carolina, pp. 168-173. Raleigh, 1852.

He reports the presence of a siliceous, shelly limestone (Eocene) ten miles southeast of Raleigh, and describes the skeleton of a whale found in the marl of Fishing Creek.


CONRAD, T. A.—Monograph of the Genus Fulgur. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci., Phila., vol. 6, 1853, pp. 316-19.

The following forms are recorded from the Natural well, Duplin County:

Fulgur canaliculatum,

Fulgur contrarium,

Fulgur excavatum.

Fulgur carica is reported from North Carolina, but the exact locality is not given.

MARCOU, JULES.—A Geological Map of the United States, and the British Provinces of North America; with an Explanatory Text, Geological Sections, etc. 1853, pp. 48-57. (Geological map in separate cover.)

Describes the character and distribution of the Quaternary deposits of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. On the accompanying geological map the Quaternary and Tertiary deposits are represented by one color.


TUOMEY, M.—Description of Some Fossil Shells from the Tertiary of the Southern States. Proc. Phila. Acad. Nat. Sci., vol. 6, pp. 192-194, 1852; vol. 7, p. 167, 1854.

Discusses the presence of Cretaceous fossils in the Eocene strata at Wilmington and says that they lived during the Eocene and were not redeposited by the breaking up of Cretaceous strata. His reason for such a view is that the internal casts of both Cretaceous and Eocene forms consist of compact white limestone unlike any materials formed in the Cretaceous of North Carolina. He describes the following forms from the beds at Wilmington:

Trochus nixus,Voluta conoides,Cardita trapezium,
Pyrula ampla,Trigonia lunata,Arca cancellata,
Fusus abruptus,Trigonia divaricata,Cucullœ lœvis.
Conus mutilatus,


EMMONS, EBENEZER.—Geological Report of the Midland Counties of North Carolina. New York and Raleigh, 1856, 351 pp.

Divides the State into three natural belts or zones, the Eastern, Western, and Midland. The character and extent of the Eastern zone [Coastal Plain] is briefly indicated (p. 3).


FOSTER, J. W.—On the Geological Position of the Deposits in Which Occur the Remains of the Fossil Elephant of North America. Proc. Amer. Assoc. Adv. Sci., vol. 10, Pt. II, pp. 148-167. 1857.

Reference is made to the Pleistocene deposits on the Neuse River below New Bern containing remains of the mastodon, elephant, hippopotamus, horse, deer, and elk, that Conrad described in 1835. The age is regarded as upper Tertiary.


EMMONS, EBENEZER.—Report of the North Carolina Geological Survey. Agriculture of the Eastern Counties. xvi, 314 pp. Raleigh, 1858.

This report contains good descriptions of the marl beds of the Cretaceous, Eocene, and Miocene formations of the State, together with many analyses. Many sections are given. For the most part those deposits containing marine shells are referred to their proper series, but the Cretaceous lignitic sands and clays occurring on Cape Fear River from

a dozen or more miles below Elizabethtown upstream nearly to Fayetteville are regarded as of probable Eocene age. The occurrence of Belemnitella, Exogyra, and coprolites as a mechanical mixture in the Miocene marl is mentioned. The report contains an extended account of the fossils of the marl beds, of which over 200 species, many of which are new, are described and figured. It is the most complete report on the Coastal Plain formations of the State published, up to that time. The soils of various Coastal Plain counties are described.


EMMONS, EBENEZER.—North Carolina Geological Survey, Part II, Agriculture. Raleigh, 1860, 95 pp.

Describes the geographic distribution and character of the swamp lands, with special reference to the nature of the soils, of which many analyses are given. He regards the swamp accumulations as of recent origin.


CONRAD, T. A.—Fossils of the (Medial Tertiary or) Miocene Formation of the United States. No. 4, 1861 (?), Phila., pp. 81-89, index and plates xlv-xlix. Republished by W. H. Dall, Washington, 1893.

Crypta densata,

Busycon contrarium,

Fasciolaria rhomboidea,

are described from the Natural well in Duplin County.

RUFFIN, EDMUND.—Sketches of Lower North Carolina and the Similar Adjacent Lands, 296 pp. Printed at the Institution for the Deaf, Dumb, and the Blind, Raleigh, 1861.

Contains general statements in regard to the marl deposits of the State. The deposits are said to belong to the Tertiary, though no mention is made of the different divisions. To explain the origin of the materials of the “drift region” (Coastal Plain), he adopts the already antiquated theory of H. H. Hayden which appeared in his “Geological Essays” published in 1820.


CONRAD, T. A.—Notes on Shells, with Description of New Fossil Genera and Species. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci., Phila., vol. 16, 1864, pp. 211-214.

The new species of Fasciolaria subtenta is described from the Natural well in Duplin County.


CONRAD. T. A.—Observations on the Eocene Lignite Formation of the United States. Proc. Phila. Acad. Sci., vol. 17, pp. 70-73, 1865. Amer. Jour. Sci., 2d series, vol. 40, pp. 265-268, 1865.

In this article it is stated for the first time that the commingling of Cretaceous and Eocene fossils in the limestone breccia at Wilmington was due to mechanical mixture. It is explained as due to a “disturbance in the bed of the Eocene ocean.”


CONRAD, T. A.—Tertiary of North and South Carolina. Amer. Jour. Sci., 2d series, vol. 43, p. 260, 1867.

The author refers to the presence of Cretaceous fossils in the Eocene strata at Wilmington and in the Miocene strata of the Cape Fear River, and considers the mixture of forms as purely accidental and not due to the coexistence of Cretaceous forms with Eocene and Miocene forms during the two latter periods.


KERR, W. C.—Report of the Progress of the Geological Survey of North Carolina. 57 pp., Raleigh, 1869.

The statement is made (p. 10) that the marls along “the lower waters of Cape Fear, Northeast, Trent, Neuse, and Tar rivers” have been examined in search of phosphatic materials similar to the phosphates of Charleston, but with negative results.


MARSH, O. C.—Notice of Some Fossil Birds, from the Cretaceous and Tertiary Formations of the United States. Amer. Jour. Sci., 2d series, vol. 49, 1870, pp. 205-217.

The left humerus of a bird which was found at Tarboro is described by the writer and referred to the new species, Catarractes antiquus. It is supposed to have come from the Tertiary of that region. The same specimen is mentioned on p. 237 of the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia for 1866.


CONRAD, T. A.—On Some Points Connected with the Cretaceous and Tertiary of North Carolina. (From a letter to J. D. Dana, dated Greenville, Pitt County, N. C., 1871.) Amer. Jour. Sci., 3d series, vol. 1, pp. 468-469, 1871.

In the vicinity of Greenville the Miocene is said to rest directly upon Cretaceous strata in which occur Ripley fossils.

He reports finding a tooth which he thinks belongs to Leidy's Equus fraternus and a Mastodon jaw, both of which he believes to have come from the Miocene.

Reference is also made to the occurrence of Ripley fossils at Snow Hill in Greene County. This is probably the first recorded attempt at correlating North Carolina Cretaceous strata with the Ripley in the Gulf region.

KERR, W. C.—On Some Points in the Stratigraphy and Surface Geology of North Carolina. Amer. Nat., vol. 4, 1870-71, p. 570.

Gives evidence indicating considerable oscillations of sea-level during the pre-human period. States that these movements were probably synchronous with the “Champlain” epoch.

PERRY, JOHN B.—Remarks on Southern Drift, Gulf Tertiary, and Notices of Occurrence of Cretaceous at Snow Hill in North Carolina. In discussion of E. W. Hilgard, The History of the Gulf of Mexico. Amer. Assoc. Adv. Sci., 1871. Amer. Nat., vol. 5, 1871, pp. 521-522.

Contains a brief reference to a Cretaceous fossil locality at Snow Hill, North Carolina.


ELLIOTT, GEO. H.—Report on the Survey of the Cape Fear and Deep Rivers, North Carolina. Report of the Chief of Engineers, 1872, pp. 741-749.

Gives a brief description of the region through which the Cape Fear River flows.

SHALER, N. S.—On the Causes Which Have Led to the Production of Cape Hatteras. Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist., vol. 14, pp. 110-121, 1872. Abstract, Amer. Nat., vol. 5, pp. 178-181, 1871.

The view is expressed that the Cape Hatteras projection was caused by the operation of subterranean forces which resulted in the uplift of the region. In support of this view he states that there is evidence that a ridge once existed along a line passing north and south through Richmond, Va., and Weldon, N. C., which was produced by an upward folding of the rocks. This ridge was subsequently much eroded and finally covered by later deposits. This uplift probably occurred subsequent to the beginning of the Tertiary, or there may have been a succession of uplifts. Professor Shaler appears to have regarded Cape Hatteras as a southeasterly continuation of this ridge.

Brief descriptions of some of the Tertiary deposits of North Carolina are given. “Along the shore of the mainland from New Bern, N. C., to Washington, at the mouth of the Roanoke, the hard, shelly limestone of the Tertiary period, looking much like the shell bed which is found near Charleston, S. C., comes to the surface just above high-tide mark and seems to be the principal barrier to the encroachment of the sea” (p. 117).


KERR, W. C.—Topography as Affected by the Rotation of the Earth. Amer. Phil. Soc., Proc., vol. 13, 1873, pp. 190-192.

Notes the fact that the high bluffs of the North Carolina rivers are, in most cases, on the right side, and assigns as the cause the deflecting effect of the rotation of the earth on the courses of the streams.

KERR, W. C.—Appendix to the Report of the Geological Survey of North Carolina, 1873, being a brief abstract of that report and a general description of the State—geographical, geological, climatic, and agricultural. 24 pp., map. Raleigh, 1873.

“The Tertiary (and Quaternary) occupies the eastern champaign section, and consists mainly of beds of uncompacted clays, sands, and marls, belonging to the lower and middle divisions (Eocene and Miocene), which are everywhere filled with exuviæ and bones of marine animals, constituting an inexhaustible resource of manurial matter” (p. 6).

“Marl is found only in the eastern region, but is very abundant in some 25 counties, occurring in extensive superficial beds, which contain all the elements of a complete and permanent fertilizer. * * * This is the most valuable mineral in the State, as it is easily accessible to more than half of the farming lands, and is applicable to all crops.”


CONRAD, T. A.—Descriptions of New Genera and Species of Fossil Shells of North Carolina and in the Cabinet at Raleigh, etc. Geol. Survey of North Carolina, Report by W. C. Kerr, Appendix A, pp. 1-28, pls. 1-4. Raleigh, 1875.

Describes 46 new species of Cretaceous shells from Snow Hill, and states that they represent the Ripley of Mississippi. A synopsis of the Cretaceous Mollusca of North Carolina is given.

Three new species of Eocene fossils and 22 new species of Miocene shells are described and figured. Conrad believes that all the Tertiary strata of North Carolina should be referred to the Eocene and Miocene.

COPE, EDWARD D.—Synopsis of the Vertebrata whose Remains Have Been Preserved in the Formations of North Carolina. Geol. Survey North Carolina, Report by W. C. Kerr, vol. 1, Appendix B, pp. 29-52, pls. 5-8. Raleigh, 1875.

A number of new fossil vertebrates are described from the Miocene deposits of the State.

GENTH, F. A.—On the Minerals Found in the State of North Carolina. Geol. Survey North Carolina, Report by W. C. Kerr, vol. 1, Appendix C, pp. 53-69. Raleigh, 1875.

A few minerals, calcite, quartz, glauconite, etc., are reported to occur in the Tertiary marl beds.

KERR, W. C.—Report of the Geological Survey of North Carolina. Vol. 1, 8vo, xviii, 325 pp. Appendices, 120 pp., 8 pl., 18 figs. Geological map of State under front cover. Raleigh, 1875.

In the preface the following statement is made: “This volume may be considered, in part, as a sort of résumé of the whole subject of the geology of the State, as far as worked out, the labors of my predecessors being freely used and embodied with my own.”

The character and geographic distribution of the Cretaceous and Tertiary deposits of the State are described. The Tertiary deposits are divided into the Eocene and the Miocene, and the geographic limits of each are given. The marls of the Cretaceous, Eocene, and Miocene are described in detail. Many analyses are given, and the value of these marls for fertilizing purposes is fully discussed.

The surficial deposits, consisting of beds of pebbles, sand, and clay, are included in the Quaternary system. He believes that the Coastal Plain region was submerged during at least a part of the glacial period, and regards the Quaternary deposits as having been transported by the great floods resulting from the melting of the ice of the glacial period. The report is accompanied by a geological map of the State.


ABERT, S. T.—Geology. Letter from the Acting Secretary of War, transmitting report of S. T. Abert on the survey of a line to connect the waters of the Cape Fear and Neuse rivers, etc. Sen. Ex. Doc., No. 35, 44th Cong., 1st Sess., pp. 15-24, 1876.

Describes the physical features of the seacoast and of the sounds bordering the coast. Describes briefly the geology of the region between Norfolk

and Cape Fear River. Brief statements are made concerning the Eocene and Miocene formations of the Coastal Plain. Describes rivers, peat-bogs, swamps and soils.

GABB, WILLIAM.—Notes on American Cretaceous Fossils, with Descriptions of Some New Species. Acad. Nat. Sci., Proc., Phila., 1876, pp. 276-324.

Describes, among other Cretaceous fossils, a few species from North Carolina.


KERR, W. C.—Physiographic Description of North Carolina. North Carolina Geological Survey, 1879, 32 pp. and map and section under back cover.

Describes briefly the physiographic features of the eastern section (Coastal Plain), pp. 6-7. On the map the swamp lands in the region bordering the coast are indicated.

KERR, W. C.—North (and South) Carolina (geological formations). Macfarlane's American Railway Guide, p. 186, 1879.

Contains very brief statements concerning the geology along the various railroads.


GENTH, F. A., and KERR, W. C.—Mineralogy: Minerals and Mineral Localities of North Carolina, being Chapter 1 of the 2d volume of the Geology of North Carolina, pp. 1-122. Raleigh, 1881.

Calcite, siderite, limonite, glauconite, pyrite, lignite, and vivianite are reported from Cretaceous and Tertiary deposits in several of the Coastal Plain counties of the State.


HEILPRIN, ANGELO.—On the Relative Ages and Classification of the Post-Eocene Tertiary Deposits of the Atlantic Slope. Proc. Phila. Acad. Nat. Sci., vol. 34, pp. 150-186, 1882.

In an examination of the post-Eocene fossils of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the writer finds that of about 206 North Carolina mollusca, 128 are found in South Carolina, 79 in Virginia, 54 in Maryland, while 54 are recent. He, therefore, concludes that these deposits in North and South Carolina constitute the highest group of the Miocene strata, to which he applies the name “Carolinian,” while the Miocene deposits of Virginia and Maryland are referred to the middle Miocene, or “Virginian,” and the lower Miocene or “Marylandian.”

KERR, W. C.—Report on the Geology and the Soils of the Tobacco Region of North Carolina. Tenth Census United States, vol. 3, 1883, pp. 715-19 (bottom pagination).

States that the soils of the champaign or eastern tobacco district are formed of Quaternary deposits. The character and stratigraphic relations of these deposits are briefly described.


HEILPRIN, ANGELO.—The Tertiary Geology of the Eastern and Southern United States. Jour. Phila. Acad. Nat. Sci., vol. 9, Pt. I, pp. 115-154, map 4, 1884.

General descriptions are given of the Eocene and Miocene. Much is quoted from Kerr's Report on the Geology of North Carolina, 1875. A list of 26 species of Eocene fossils from the State is given.

HEILPRIN, ANGELO.—Contributions to the Tertiary Geology and Paleontology of the United States. 117 pp., map, 4to. Philadelphia, 1884.

The writer gives little new information in regard to the Eocene, but does give a short summary of existing information concerning the Eocene strata and their contained fossils. He does not attempt to correlate them with Eocene strata elsewhere in the United States.

The Miocene is discussed at considerable length, and from a comparison of the fossils he comes to the conclusion that these strata represent the same formation in North and South Carolina, and that they are younger than the Miocene deposits of Virginia and Maryland. The name “Carolinian” is applied to them.

KERR, W. C.—The Geology of Hatteras and the Neighboring Coast. (Abstract.) Bull. Wash. Phila. Soc., vol. 6, pp. 28-30, 1884. Abstract, Science, vol. 1, p. 402, 1883.

Describes in a general way the character of the low-lying region adjacent to Cape Hatteras.

The statement is made that “the quaternary as well as the tertiary of this coast region of North Carolina are laid down upon an eroded surface of cretaceous rock.”

PHILLIPS, W. B.—North Carolina Phosphates. Jour. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc., 1883-1884, pp. 60-63. Abstract, Amer. Jour. Sci., 3d series, vol. 28, p. 75.

The phosphatic materials found in the Miocene strata of Duplin, Brunswick, and Pender counties are described. The best localities are said to be from 4 to 8 miles northeast of Magnolia, where a thin irregular bed of phosphate is found in places at a depth of from 3 to 5 feet beneath the surface.


HOLMES, J. A.—Taxodium (Cypress) in North Carolina Quaternary. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. Jour., 1884-85, pp. 92-93, 1885.

Describes the occurrence of fossil stumps of cypress on the southwest bank of the Neuse River 10 to 12 miles below the town of New Bern.

KERR, W. C.—The Eocene of North Carolina. Amer. Nat., vol. 19, p. 69, 1885.

Through finding upper Eocene fossiliferous rocks capping some of the highest hills of the Coastal Plain, the author concludes, erroneously, that most of the sand and gravel deposits, previously referred to the Quaternary, are really Eocene in age. “The area of Tertiaries in this State must now be extended over a wide stretch of country, from the tops of Laurentian hills, near Raleigh, and the higher elevations of the Huronian slates, to from 50 to 75 miles southeastward, along the course of the Deep River, and so onward to the South Carolina border, reaching at one point an elevation of 600 feet above tide. This leaves the Quaternary, like the Miocene, to be represented by a thin and broken covering of superficial deposits, of only a few feet to a few yards in thickness, and reaching from the coast only about 100 miles inland and an elevation but little above 100 feet.”

KERR, W. C.—Distribution and Character of the Eocene Deposits in Eastern North Carolina. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. Jour., for the year 1884-1885, pp. 79-84.

Essentially the same discussion as in the preceding paper.


HEILPRIN, ANGELO.—The Classification of the Post-Cretaceous Deposits. Proc. Phila. Acad. Nat. Sci., 1887, pp. 314-322, 1888.

The author again refers to the Miocene of the Atlantic Coastal Plain as consisting of the three divisions: “Marylandian,” “Virginian,” and “Carolinian.”

MCGEE, W J—Three Formations of the Middle Atlantic Slope. Amer. Jour. Sci., 3d series, vol. 35, 1888. Potomac Formation, pp. 120-143. Appomattox Formation, pp. 328-330. Columbia Formation, pp. 367-388, 348-366.

Materials exposed on Roanoke River near Weldon, which he regards as representing the Potomac formation of Virginia, are described (p. 126). This is the only reference to Potomac equivalents in North Carolina.

Concerning the presence of the “Appomattox” formation in North Carolina he says: “And at Weldon it rests upon deeply ravined crystalline rocks, save where inconspicuous remnants of Potomac arkose intervene” (p. 330). The formation is said to be the equivalent of at least a part of the “Orange Sand” of Hilgard. As regards the age of the formation, he states that “It is manifestly newer than the fossiliferous Miocene upon which it rests, and older than the Columbia formation by which it is overlain” (p. 330).

The Columbia formation is divided into the Fluvial Phase and the Interfluvial Phase. Both phases are mentioned as occurring along the Roanoke River in North Carolina. Terracing is mentioned as occurring along Roanoke River in the vicinity of Weldon.

PENROSE, R. A. F., JR.—Nature and Origin of Deposits of Phosphate of Lime, with an introduction by N. S. Shaler. Bull. U. S. Geol. Surv., No. 46, 143 pp., 3 pls. Washington, 1888.

Brief descriptions with chemical analyses are given of the character and occurrence of amorphous nodular phosphates in North Carolina. They occur in Duplin, Sampson, Onslow, Pender, New Hanover, and Columbus counties. The most valuable deposits occur at Castle Hayne and near Wilmington, and these are briefly described (pp. 70-75).


FONTAINE, WM. M.—The Potomac or Younger Mesozoic Flora. U. S. Geol. Survey, Monograph XV, 2 vols., 1889. Text 377 pages.

Describes the deposit of supposed Potomac at Weldon as consisting of a thin layer of sands and gravels resting directly upon the crystalline rocks. He believes it referable to the Potomac upon lithologic grounds. He says: “It suggests the idea that the Potomac may be found as far south as this place. The exposure, however, is too slight to be taken as anything more than suggestive of probabilities” (pp. 45-46).

HOLMES, J. A.—Historical Notes Concerning the North Carolina Geological Surveys. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. Jour., vol. 6, Pt. I, January-June, 1889, pp. 5-19.

Gives a brief account of the several North Carolina State surveys that have been called geological surveys, including lists of publications.


CHANCE, H. M.—North Carolina (Geological Formations). Macfarlane's Geol. Ry. Guide, 2d edition, pp. 365-368, 1890.

The “Sketch of the Geology and Topography of North Carolina” contained in this work is abstracted from the geological reports of Prof. W. C. Kerr. The references to the Mesozoic and Cenozoic strata are very brief.

CLARK, W. B.—On the Tertiary Deposits of the Cape Fear River Region. Bull. Geol. Soc. Amer., vol. 1, pp. 537-540, 1890.

He shows that the Cretaceous greensand marl occupies the base of the series in the lower Cape Fear River region. The commingling of Eocene and Cretaceous forms at Wilmington is discussed and is explained as due to a reworking of the Cretaceous forms during the Eocene. The following Eocene forms are given:

Aturia alabamiensis Conrad.

Conus gyratus Conrad.

Emarginula eversa Conrad.

Lunulites distans Lonsdale.

Mortonia pileus-sinensis Ravenel.

Oliva alabamiensis Conrad.

Pecten membranosus Morton.

Pseudoliva vetusta Conrad.

Siliquaria vitis Conrad.

Sismondia plana Conrad.

Terebratulina lachryma Morton.

Trochita trochiformis Conrad.

In the same bed the following Cretaceous fossils occur:

Baculites compressus Say.

Cardium spillmani Conrad.

Cucullæa antrosa Morton.

Gyrodes abyssina Conrad.

Nautilus dekayi Morton.

Navicula uniopsis Conrad.

Venilia conradi (?) Morton.

Zenophora leprosa Morton.

DALL, WILLIAM HEALEY.—Contributions to the Tertiary Fauna of Florida, with especial reference to the Miocene Silex Beds of the Caloosahatchie River, including, in many cases, a complete revision of the generic groups treated and their American Tertiary species. Trans., Wagner Free Institute of Science of Phila., vol. 3, 1654 pp., 60 pls. Pt. I, 1890; Pt. II, 1892; Pt. III, 1895; Pt. IV, 1898; Pt. V, 1900; Pt. VI, 1903.

In this exhaustive work a great number of fossils are described from the Tertiaries of North Carolina. The most important contributions are with reference to the Miocene deposits of Duplin County, which are regarded as closely related to the beds at Yorktown, Va. This correlation was established after a very detailed study of the fossils had been made. The deposits in the vicinity of Croatan are placed in the Pliocene as

the result of a careful study of the contained fossils. Eighty out of ninety-six recognized species are represented in the recent fauna; 83 per cent of which, according to Lyell's original classification, would place these beds unquestionably in the Pliocene.

FONTAINE, WILLIAM M.—Potomac Strata at Haywood, Chatham County, N. C. U. S. Geol. Survey, 10th Ann. Rpt. (1888-1889), 1890, p. 174.

Announces the discovery of supposed Potomac strata near Haywood, N. C.

MCGEE, W J—Southern Extension of the Appomattox Formation. Amer. Jour. Sci., 3d ser., vol. 40, 1890, pp. 15-41.

Deposits referable to this formation are said to occur throughout the extent of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains as far as the Rio Grande. In North Carolina it forms a terrane 40 or 50 miles wide on the Roanoke and extends southward through the Carolinas in a broad zone. In Virginia and the Carolinas the deposits are said to lie at elevations of between 25 and 250 feet above tide. As regards its age, the formation is said to correspond roughly with the Pliocene.

SHALER, N. S.—General Account of the Fresh-water Morasses of the United States, with a Description of the Dismal Swamp District of Virginia and North Carolina. U. S. Geol. Surv., 10th Report, pp. 255-339, pls. 6-19, Washington, 1890.

Describes the Dismal Swamp district (pp. 313-339) as regards the character of the materials, the topographic features, the character of the animal and vegetable remains, etc. On the evidence of some fossils found near Suffolk, Va., the writer believes that the entire district is underlain by Pliocene strata.

An escarpment is described which forms the western boundary of the district, and which is believed to mark a former shore line. This is called the Nansemond Escarpment. A higher plain of which this escarpment forms the eastern boundary is designated the Nansemond Bench.


CLARK, WILLIAM BULLOCK.—Correlation Papers—Eocene. U. S. Geol. Surv., Bull. 83, 173 pp., 2 maps. Washington, 1891.

This paper contains a discussion of the previously published literature pertaining to the Eocene of the United States together with a correlation of the Eocene deposits in the several areas.

MCGEE, W J—The Lafayette Formation. U. S. Geol. Surv., 12th Ann. Rept., 1890-91, Pt. I, pp. 347-521.

The author presents a monographic study of the Lafayette formation in the eastern United States.

The term Lafayette is here used instead of “Appomattox,” which was the original designation of the formation. As to age, the formation is regarded as late Neocene. The character, distribution, and stratigraphic position of the formation in North Carolina are described.

STANTON, T. W.—Cretaceous and Tertiary Strata Near Wilmington, N. C. Amer. Geol., vol. 7, pp. 333-334, 1891.

The Eocene exposures at Wilmington, Castle Hayne, and Rocky Point are briefly described. There the formation rests upon the Cretaceous, and fossils from the latter are found redeposited in the Eocene strata mingled with Eocene fossils. The Cretaceous forms present in the Eocene deposit at Castle Hayne are as follows:

Cardium eufaulense Con.Ostrea subspatulata L. and S.
Exogyra costata Say.Crassatella pteropsis Con.
Aphrodina tippana Con.Trigonia divaricata Tuomey (=T. angulicosta Gabb).
Cucullœa antrosa Mort.
Pachycardium spillmani Con.

WHITE, CHARLES A.—Correlation Papers. A Review of the Cretaceous Formations of North America. U. S. Geol. Surv., Bull. No. 82, 1891, pp. 74-100.

The known facts regarding the character and distribution of the Cretaceous in North Carolina are briefly summarized. He expresses the opinion that both the marine and nonmarine divisions of the Cretaceous are, or originally were, continuous throughout the Atlantic border region.


DALL, WILLIAM HEALEY, and HARRIS, GILBERT DENNISON.—Correlation Papers—Neocene. U. S. Geol. Surv., Bull. No. 84, 349 pp., 3 maps, 3 pls., 43 figs.; Washington, 1892.

In this report a summary of all previously published literature describing the Miocene and Pliocene strata of the United States is given. The principal statements pertaining to North Carolina are largely taken from publications by Kerr.

GENTH, FREDERICK A.—The Minerals of North Carolina. U. S. Geol. Surv., Bull. No. 74, 119 pp.; Washington, 1891.

Calcite, limonite, siderite, pyrite, phosphate nodules, glauconite, and lignite are reported from numerous places in the Coastal Plain of the State, while vivianite is reported from Tertiary marl of Edgecombe County.

HOLMES, J. A.—Character and Distribution of Road Materials. Jour. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc., Pt. II, 1892, pp. 66-81.

The writer discusses briefly the value of the limestones contained in the Tertiary beds of the State for road-building purposes. Of these, the limestones exposed along the Northeast Cape Fear and Trent rivers are considered of greatest importance.

There is also a brief statement of the distribution of gravels, and their availability as road materials is discussed.


BOYLE, CORNELIUS.—A Catalogue and Bibliography of North American Mesozoic Invertebrata. U. S. Geol. Surv., Bull. No. 102, 1893.

COBB, COLLIER.—Notes on the Deflective Effect of the Earth's Rotation as Shown in Streams. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. Jour., 1893, pp. 26-32.

Discusses the deflective effect of the earth's rotation on the courses

of streams. Cites examples of such deflection in various parts of the world, and notes particularly the apparent operation of this force on the streams of North Carolina.

HOLMES, J. A.—Geology of the Sandhill Country of the Carolinas. Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., vol. 5, 1893, pp. 33-34.

Describes the character, stratigraphic relations, age, etc., of the deposits of the sandhill region of the Carolinas. Recognizes Cretaceous, Eocene, Lafayette, and Columbia deposits.

The Cretaceous deposits consist of several hundred feet of arkosic sands with subordinate clay beds. The upper surface is deeply eroded.

Eocene remnants are said to cap many hills at an elevation of 500 feet above tide-level. “The submergence during Eocene deposition could hardly have been less than 600 or 700 feet, and may have been several hundred feet more, and the Eocene waters for a short time may have covered a considerable part of the Piedmont Plateau and washed against the slopes of King's and Anderson's and the Sauratown Mountains” (p. 34).

The sands and loams of the Lafayette formation overlie unconformably both the Cretaceous and Eocene deposits. These, also, have been deeply eroded.

A mantle of sands and loams, classed as Columbia, overlies all older formations.

NITZE, H. B. C.—Iron Ores of North Carolina. A Preliminary Report. N. C. Geol. Surv., Bull. No. 1, pp. 21-239, pls. i-xx, figs. 1-58, maps. Raleigh, 1893.

Limonite is reported from Edgecombe, Pitt, Halifax, and Robeson counties, but the geological horizon is not stated. On the accompanying geological map the Tertiary is not separated into formations, as the author says that he does not have sufficient information to draw the formation lines.


HAYES, C. W., and CAMPBELL, M. R.—Geomorphology of the Southern Appalachians. Nat. Geog. Mag., vol. 6, 1894, pp. 63-126.

The probable connection of the Cape Hatteras axis and the Cincinnati uplift with a transverse fold in the Appalachian region, which is expressed in the deformed contour lines in the Cretaceous peneplain of the latter region, is discussed (p. 81).


ABBE, CLEVELAND (JR.).—Remarks on the Cuspate Capes of the Carolina Coast. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist., Proc., vol. 26, 1895, pp. 489-497.

Discusses the origin of the Cuspate Capes of the Carolina Coast.


DARTON, N. H.—Artesian Well Prospects in the Atlantic Coastal Plain Region. U. S. Geol. Surv., Bull. No. 138, 233 pp., 19 pls., Washington, 1896.

A brief résumé of the geology of the Coastal Plain is given in this report. A section across the State prepared by Prof. J. A. Holmes is included. Sections of wells in Wayne, Pender, and New Hanover counties, which penetrate Cretaceous beds, are also given.

DARTON, N. H.—Notes on Relations of Lower Members of the Coastal Plain Series in South Carolina. Geol. Soc. Amer., Bull., vol. 7, 1896, pp. 512-518.

The paper is of interest because the beds described constitute the South Carolina equivalents of formations recognized in North Carolina.

FONTAINE, WILLIAM M.—The Potomac Formation in Virginia. U. S. Geol. Surv., Bull. No. 145, 1896, 149 pp.

Again describing the supposed Potomac at Weldon, the author says: “In only one place, and in a very limited space, did I find the surface of the gneiss laid bare. This was in the channel of a small run that entered the river on the north side of and near the bridge head. Here a deposit, a few inches thick, of coarse, gray grit, with occasional large pebbles, is displayed. The material has all the lithological characters that distinguish the Potomac formation. It seems to owe its preservation to its firm union with the uneven surface of the gneiss” (p. 25).

HOLMES, J. A.—Notes on the Kaolin and Clay Deposits of North Carolina. Trans., Amer. Inst. Min. Engrs., vol. 25, pp. 929-936, 1896.

The author states that beds of laminated dark-colored Potomac clays containing in places lignite and pyrite, occur on the rivers crossing the Coastal Plain, notably along the Cape Fear River for 50 miles below Fayetteville. A vertical section of Prospect Hall Bluff, 93 miles above Wilmington, is given.

The following statements are made in regard to the Eocene: “Along the western border of the Coastal Plain region, especially in Moore and Harnett counties, there are limited exposures of siliceous Eocene deposits (overlying the Potomac series, and capping some of the sandhills), which have recently been tested for fire brick with very satisfactory results. These deposits are from 5 to 15 feet, or more, in thickness, and are overlain by but a few feet of loose sand” (p. 935). Analysis of Eocene fire clay two miles northeast of Spout Springs:

Alkaline chlorides1.48
Loss on ignition3.15

Mention is made of exposures of blue Miocene marl at various places in the Coastal Plain, especially on the Roanoke and Tar rivers, that may prove to be of some value for the manufacture of clay products.

He describes briefly the geography, distribution, and character of the Lafayette and Columbia formations (pp. 935-936).


RIES, HEINRICH.—Clay Deposits and Clay Industry in North Carolina. N. C. Geol. Surv., Bull. No. 13, 1897, 157 pp., 12 pls., 5 figs.

In this report the black clays occurring from 10 to 60 miles below

Fayetteville on Cape Fear River are regarded as Potomac. Special mention is made of the clays at Prospect Hall Bluff, an analysis of which is given. The clays occurring in the cuts at Spout Springs in Harnett County are erroneously referred to the Eocene, while those between Spout Springs and Fayetteville are regarded as of uncertain age, either Eocene or Cretaceous.

He describes the occurrence of clays in the Lafayette and Pleistocene formations and gives specific localities in various counties (pp. 102-138).


WOOLMAN, LEWIS.—Fossil Mollusks and Diatoms from the Dismal Swamp, Virginia and North Carolina; indication of the geological age of the deposits; with notes on the diatoms by Charles C. Boyer. Proc. Phila. Acad. Nat. Sci., 1898, pp. 414-424, 1898.

Fossils from the Dismal Swamp Canal, near Lilly, are described and the strata containing them referred to the late Pliocene or possibly the Pleistocene. They are correlated with the fossiliferous strata, near Croatan, N. C.


GLENN, L. C.—The Hatteras Axis in Triassic and in Miocene Time. Amer. Geol., vol. 23, pp. 375-379, 1899.

The writer believes that during both the Triassic and Miocene periods the central portion of the State of North Carolina was a region of much greater stability than the regions on either side, and that a line or belt extending from Cape Hatteras westward served as an axis, so that when the region to the north was depressed the region to the south was uplifted, and vice versa. The reason for this belief is the dissimilarity of the Triassic and Tertiary deposits of Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey when compared with those of South Carolina and the Gulf States.

He asserts that the region of the so-called “Hatteras Axis” has been one of minimum movement since the beginning of Lafayette time.


HOLMES, J. A.—The Cretaceous and Tertiary Section Between Cape Fear and Fayetteville, N. C. Abstract, Science, new series, vol. 11, p. 143, 1900.

Brief mention is made of the great unconformity between the Cretaceous and the Tertiary, and the erosion intervals at the close of the Eocene and Lafayette.

HOLMES, J. A.—The Deep Well at Wilmington, N. C. Science, n. s., vol. 11, 1900, pp. 128-130.

Describes the character of the materials and the nature of the water encountered in this well. A thickness of 1,109 feet of Upper Cretaceous sediments was penetrated, at the base of which granite was encountered. On the basis of the contained fossils, Dr. Stanton, who identified them, classes the upper 720 feet of materials as Ripley and the remainder of the strata down to the granite as Eutaw. Potomac equivalents are absent.


DARTON, N. H.—Norfolk Folio, Virginia-North Carolina. U. S. Geol. Surv., Geol. Atlas of U. S., Folio No. 80, 4to, 4 pp., 2 maps, 6 figs., Washington, 1902.

The configuration of a portion of Camden and Currituck counties is described. The author states that the Pliocene probably underlies the entire Dismal Swamp region, though the paleontological evidence which he offers does not seem to be conclusive, and in the present report these strata are referred to the Pleistocene. The origin of the Dismal Swamp is also discussed.


COBB, COLLIER.—Origin of the Sandhill Topography of the Carolinas. Science, n. s., vol. 17, 1903, pp. 226-227.

Notes æolian cross-bedding in the sand accumulations. Comments on the similarity in composition of these sands to those of the present beaches, and states that this explains the origin of some of the topographic features.


COBB, COLLIER.—The Forms of Sand-dunes as Influenced by Neighboring Forests. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. Jour., vol. 20, 1904, p. 14.

Discusses the factors which tend to prevent sand-dunes, which have been heaped up along the coast by east winds, from being blown back into the sea by west winds.

PRATT, JOSEPH HYDE.—The Mining Industry in North Carolina During 1903. N. C. Geol. Surv., Econ. Paper No. 8, 74 pp., map; Raleigh, 1904.

The shell limestones along the Northeast Cape Fear and Trent rivers are briefly described and statements are made concerning their use for structural purposes and as a source for lime (p. 56).

SLOAN, EARLE.—A Preliminary Report on the Clays of South Carolina. South Carolina Geological Survey, series 4, Bull. No. 1, 1904, 175 pp.

Describes and classifies the Coastal Plain deposits. He introduces the name “Hamburg clays” for the basal Cretaceous formation, and the name Middendorf beds for an immediately overlying Cretaceous formation. The “Hamburg clays” correspond to the Patuxent formation of the present report.


FULLER, M. L.—Underground Waters of Eastern United States: North Carolina. U. S. Geol. Survey Water Supply and Irrigation Paper No. 114, pp. 136-139, 1 fig.; Washington, 1905.

The article contains a very brief description of the Coastal Plain region of North Carolina.

WARD, LESTER F.—Status of the Mesozoic Floras of the United States. U. S. Geol. Survey, Mon. 48, 1905; Pt. I, text 616 pp.; Pt. II, 119 pls.

Describes briefly (pp. 385-392) the Cretaceous deposits exposed on Cape Fear River and some of its tributaries, and in the railroad cuts between Sanford and Fayetteville. Those appearing in the bluffs at Fayetteville are referred to the older Potomac of Virginia. Higher beds farther down

the river are referred to the newer Potomac. Of the river exposures taken collectively he states that “The section seems to be complete from the older Potomac through the marine Cretaceous, and the later Tertiary overlies the last.” The beds exposed in the railroad cuts above mentioned are referred to the Tuscaloosa formation of Alabama.


CHAMBERLIN, T. C., and SALISBURY, R. D.—Geology, vol. 3, 1906. Lafayette, pp. 301-308. Columbia, pp. 447-454.

Describes the character, distribution, etc., of the Lafayette and Columbia formations and concludes that their origin is largely due to fluviatile and subaërial processes.

COBB, COLLIER.—Notes on the Geology of Currituck Banks. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. Jour., vol. 22, No. 1, 1906, pp. 17-19.

Describes the physical character of these banks and discusses their origin. Expresses the view that the coast in the vicinity of Currituck Banks is now subsiding.

COBB, COLLIER.—Where the Wind Does the Work. Nat. Geog. Mag., vol. 17, No. 6, 1906, pp. 310-317, 10 figs. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. Jour., vol. 22, No. 3, 1906, pp. 80-85.

Describes wind-blown sand-dunes and their migrations on the chain of low-lying sand reefs and islands along the Atlantic coast of North Carolina.


SANFORD, SAMUEL.—Record of Deep Well Drilling for 1905. U. S. Geol. Surv., Bull. No. 298, 1906, pp. 15-296.

Describes well sections at Kinston, Fort Caswell, and Pinehurst (pp. 245-246).

SHATTUCK, GEORGE B.—Pliocene and Pleistocene Deposits of Maryland. Maryland Geol. Survey, 1906, 237 pp., pls. 75.

A monographic study of the Pliocene and Pleistocene deposits of Maryland.


BERRY, EDWARD W.—Coastal-Plain Amber. Torreya, vol. 7, No. 1, 1907, pp. 4-6.

The presence of amber is noted in Cretaceous deposits near Blackmans Bluff on Neuse River, and near Parker Landing on Tar River, both in North Carolina.

BERRY, EDWARD W.—Contributions to the Mesozoic Flora of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. II. North Carolina. Torrey Botanical Club Bull., vol. 34, No. 4, 1907, pp. 185-206, pls. 11-16.

Notes the occurrence of 29 recognizable species of plant remains in the transitional Cretaceous beds of North Carolina, and of these 7 are described and figured as new. He correlates the beds provisionally with the Tuscaloosa formation of Alabama and the Raritan formation of New Jersey, but predicts that they will eventually prove to include representatives of both the upper Tuscaloosa and Eutaw formations and the Magothy and Raritan formations of New Jersey.

BERRY, EDWARD W.—Cretaceous Floras in North and South Carolina. Johns Hopkins University Circular, n. s., 1907, No. 7 (whole No. 199), pp. 79-91.

Notes the discovery in North and South Carolina of fossil plant localities which yield forms belonging to a remarkable Cretaceous flora of comparative modern aspect, originally described from Greenland by Oswald Heer, and now known to occur interruptedly at localities from New England to Alabama. A list of 15 species belonging to this flora, from a new locality at Court House Bluff, Cape Fear River, Bladen County, N. C., is given.

BERRY, EDWARD W.—Contributions to Pleistocene Flora of North Carolina. Jour. of Geol., vol. 15, 1907, pp. 338-349.

Announces the discovery of two Pleistocene plant localities in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina and gives a brief preliminary description of the fossil plants obtained. As regards their significance, he concludes that the temperatures were not lower than at the present time in the same latitude and may have been higher. The flora shows a very modern aspect and indicates a short lapse of time in a geological sense since the deposition of the beds.

COBB, COLLIER.—Geology of Core Bank. Science, n. s., vol. 25, 1907, p. 298. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. Jour., vol. 23, No. 1, May, 1907, pp. 26-28.

Discusses the character and origin of Core Banks and states that the coast south of Hatteras is rising, and not subsiding.

JOHNSON, B. L.—Pleistocene Terracing in the North Carolina Coastal Plain. Science, n. s., vol. 26, 1907, pp. 640-642.

Describes a series of ocean-bordering terraces with estuarine reëntrants which together make up the principal surface features of the North Carolina Coastal Plain.

MCCARTHY, GERALD.—Ground and Deep Waters of North Carolina. Bull. of the North Carolina Board of Health, vol. 22, No. 1, 1907, pp. 1-14, 6 figs.

Discusses briefly and in a general way the geology of the Coastal Plain of the State.

SLOAN, EARLE.—Geology and Mineral Resources (South Carolina). Handbook of South Carolina, issued by the State Department of Agriculture, Commerce and Immigration, 1907. Chapter 5, pp. 77-145, map, pp. 138-139.

Classifies the Coastal Plain formations of the State. Introduces the names Black Creek shales and “Burches Ferry marls” for Upper Cretaceous formations corresponding respectively to the Black Creek and Peedee formations of North Carolina, as defined in the present report.

STEPHENSON, L. W.—Some Facts Relating to the Mesozoic Deposits of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. Johns Hopkins University Circular, n. s., 1907, No. 7 (whole No. 199), pp. 93-99.

The author recognizes three divisions in the Coastal Plain Mesozoic deposits of the State. The lithologic and paleontologic characters, the stratigraphic relations and areal extent of these divisions are briefly summarized. For the oldest, which is correlated approximately with the Patuxent formation of Virginia and Maryland, the name Cape Fear

formation is proposed. For the next younger division, which is correlated provisionally with the Tuscaloosa formation of Alabama with the suggestion that they may prove to include equivalents of the Eutaw formation, the name “Bladen” formation is proposed. The youngest division is correlated with the Ripley of Alabama and Mississippi, and the latter designation is applied to it.

In the present report the names Patuxent, Black Creek, and Peedee replace the names “Cape Fear,” “Bladen,” and “Ripley,” respectively.

In connection with the discussion of the Mesozoic strata some brief statements are made in regard to the distribution of the Eocene and Miocene of the State.


BERRY, EDWARD W.—Some Araucarian Remains from the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Torrey Bot. Club Bull., vol. 35, No. 5, 1908, pp. 249-260, pls. 11-16.

Describes two new species from the “Bladen” (Black Creek) formation of North Carolina, namely, Araucaria bladenensis and A. jeffreyi. States that the former “is preëminently the type fossil of the Bladen formation of North Carolina.” States that the beds in which those forms are found should probably be correlated with the Magothy formation of New Jersey.

BERRY, EDWARD W.—A Mid-Cretaceous Species of Torreya. Amer. Jour. Sci., 4th ser., vol. 25, 1908, pp. 382-386.

A new species of Torreya, Tumion carolinianum, from Cretaceous beds of Rockfish Creek near Hope Mills, Cumberland County, is described.

SLOAN, EARLE.—A Catalogue of the Mineral Localities of South Carolina. South Carolina Geological Survey, series 4, Bull. No. 2, 1908, 505 pp. and map under back cover.

The geology of the Coastal Plain region of the State is summarized, the extent and character of the various Cretaceous, Tertiary, and Quarternary formations being indicated (pp. 434-485).


BERRY, EDWARD W.—Additions to the Pleistocene Flora of North Carolina. Torreya, vol. 9, No. 4, April, 1909, pp. 71-73, 2 figs.

Enumerates 5 species from near Weldon, N. C., not previously listed from the Pleistocene of the State, and figures two of them.

STEPHENSON, L. W.—Cretaceous Geology of the Carolinas and Georgia. Science, new series, vol. 30, 1909, pp. 124-125.

Summarizes briefly the stratigraphy of the Cretaceous deposits of North Carolina, indicating their approximate correlations with other Cretaceous deposits in the Coastal Plain to the north and to the south, and discussing briefly their possible correlations with Cretaceous deposits in the Western Interior.


BERRY, EDWARD W.—Contributions to the Mesozoic Flora of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. V. North Carolina. Torrey Botan. Club, Bull., vol. 37, 1910, pp. 181-200, pls. 19-24.

Describes 29 new species of fossil plants from the Black Creek formation of North Carolina.

CLARK, WM. B.—Results of a Recent Investigation of the Coastal Plain Formations in the Area between Massachusetts and North Carolina. Bull. Geol. Soc. Amer., vol. 20, pp. 646-654, pl. 111. (Read December, 1909.)

Describes the Cretaceous formations of North Carolina and points out their relations to the Cretaceous deposits of the Northern Coastal Plain and of the Gulf. The question of their correlation is considered in much detail.




The earliest account of strata now classed as Cretaceous, in the State of North Carolina, was furnished by William Bartram1 in 1791. In the course of his travels through the Southern States he came to Ashwood on Cape Fear River, situated 3 or 4 miles below Whitehall in Bladen County, the exact site of which is not at present known. A river bluff at this point attracted his attention, and in the published account of his travels he describes in considerable detail the materials therein exposed. On account of its historic interest the description is quoted (pp. 472-479), as follows:

This perpendicular bank of the river, by which the waters swiftly glide along, discovers at once the various strata of the earth of this low maritime country. For the most part, the upper stratum consists of a light, sandy, pale yellowish mould or loam, for 10 or 12 feet in depth * * *; this sandy mould or loam lays upon a deep bed of black or dark slate-colored saline and sulphureous earth, which is composed of horizontal thin flakes or laminæ, separable by means of very thin, almost imperceptible veins or strata of fine micaceous particles * * *; other places present to view strata of heterogeneous matter, lying between the upper loamy stratum and the bed of black saline earth, consisting of various kinds of seashells, some whole, others broken to pieces, and even pulverized, which fill up the cavities of the entire shells, and the interstices betwixt them; at other places we observe, two or three feet below the surface or virgin mould, a stratum of four, five, or six feet in depth, of brownish marl, on a bed of testaceous rocks; a petrification composed, apparently, of various kinds of seashells, belemnites, sand, etc., combined or united with a calcareous cement; * * *. And again we observe shells, marcacites, belemnites, dentes carchariæ, with pieces of wood transmuted, black and hard as sea coal, singly interspersed in the black vitriolic strata of earth; * * *.

The next account of materials falling under this class was given by Denison Olmsted2 in 1827. He describes a deposit of so-called copperas at Spring Bank, 7 miles below Waynesborough (Goldsboro of to-day) in Wayne County, as follows:


About 12 feet above the bed of the river the eye meets with a layer of greensand, embracing a black, charry substance, which, on examination, is found to be fossil wood, in the state of coarse coal. Here may be found by digging, the trunks, branches, and bark of trees, forming a kind of subterranean forest. In company with this stratum is found the copperas, more or less mixed with sand, from which it is easily separated by lixiviation, as ashes are lixiviated in making soap.

He states that these copperas deposits extend for more than 100 miles along the banks of the river.

In the same year Elisha Mitchell3 described briefly an occurrence of blue marl on Northeast Cape Fear River at South Washington. This was later referred by Hodge to the “Secondary formation,” and by Lyell to the Cretaceous of New Jersey.

In this same year also Lardner Vanuxem,4 through Prof. S. G. Morton, proposed a classification of the Atlantic Coastal Plain deposits, dividing them into three major divisions, namely, in ascending order, the Secondary, Tertiary, and Alluvial formations. The only locality in North Carolina mentioned as belonging to the “Secondary formation” was near Ashwood on Cape Fear River. Doubtless this is the exposure described by Bartram in 1791.

No further contributions were made to the knowledge of the Cretaceous in this State until 1841, when James T. Hodge,5 in the account of his travels in the Southern States, described briefly the marl locality at South Washington. He mentions the occurrence of Exogyra costata, Belemnitella, Plagiostoma palagicum, and Anomia ephippium, and on the evidence of these fossils correlates the rock with the “Secondary formation.”

The following year the same locality was visited by Charles Lyell. In several publications appearing between the years 1842 and 18456 he correlated the marl definitely with the New Jersey Cretaceous marl and with the Cretaceous of Europe. A new species of oyster, Ostrea subspatulata, obtained by Lyell at this locality, was described and figured by Edward Forbes7 in 1845.

The limestone and phosphate conglomerate in the vicinity of Wilmington, previously regarded by Hodge and others as an upper “Secondary” deposit or a deposit interposed between the Cretaceous and the Eocene, was referred by Lyell to the Eocene.


The deposits in South Carolina referable to the “Secondary formation” were described by Edmund Ruffin8 in 1843. The name Peedee is applied to a so-called marl bed outcropping on lower Great Peedee River from Jeffreys Creek southward. He describes, but does not name, a dark shale or clay which immediately underlies the Peedee bed. The Peedee is essentially the same terrane as that designated by Sloan, in 1907, the “Burches Ferry marl,” while the dark clay forms a part of the Black Creek shale of the same author.

In 1848, Prof. Michael Tuomey9 correlated the Cretaceous strata recognized in South Carolina, principally on lower Great Peedee River and its tributaries, with the Cretaceous beds outcropping on Cape Fear River in North Carolina.

The greensands exposed in the bluffs of Cape Fear River below Elizabethtown and at Wilmington were definitely correlated with the Cretaceous by Prof. Ebenezer Emmons10 in 1852. He mentions the occurrence of the characteristic Cretaceous fossils Exogyra costata and Belemnitella in the greensands. He treats at considerable length the subject of the value of the Cretaceous greensand marls as fertilizers.

The report of Professor Emmons11 on the “Agriculture of the Eastern Counties,” published in 1858, adds a few additional facts to those already known concerning the Cretaceous strata. Detailed descriptions are given of several of the bluffs on Cape Fear River below Elizabethtown. Sandbeds beneath Miocene shell marl, regarded as probably of Eocene age, are said to extend from Browns Landing, 24 miles below Elizabethtown, upstream nearly to Fayetteville. These beds are now referred to the Cretaceous. Cretaceous greensands are mentioned as present on Neuse River at Kinston. Light-gray sands occurring beneath shell marls [Miocene] at Tarboro on Tar River are correctly referred by him to the Cretaceous, but he regards them as interbedded in the greensand, and not belonging to a lower division of the Cretaceous, as is now known to be the case. The report contains descriptions and figures of a number of Cretaceous vertebrate and invertebrate fossils.

The first attempt to correlate the North Carolina Cretaceous with deposits in the Gulf region was made by T. A. Conrad in 1871. The following is quoted from a letter written by him from Greenville, N. C., to J. D. Dana, and published in the American Journal of Science:12


At Colonel Yellowby's marl pit, where digging is now in progress, I found the Miocene about 3 or 4 feet in thickness, resting on black Cretaceous sand with black gravel, and containing characteristic Ripley group fossils. It is here that a profusion of Belemnites is thrown up by the laborers, over the Miocene marl heap, and give rise to the opinion that they occur in the Miocene marl.

At Snow Hill, 22 miles from here in Greene County, the Ripley group is finely developed, containing closely packed specimens of the Ripley species in perfect preservation.

The most complete and comprehensive report on the geology of the State afforded by the literature even to the present time is that of Prof. W. C. Kerr,13 which appeared in 1875. The Cretaceous is described (pp. 147-149) as being visible only on the river bluffs of the southeastern portion of the State from the Neuse and its tributary, Contentnea Creek, southward. He elsewhere refers, however, to outcrops on Tar River (see p. 191) still farther to the northward. His description of the Cretaceous is quoted:

It is best exposed in the bluffs along the Cape Fear between Fayetteville and Wilmington. The rocks of this system (everywhere very slightly compacted) are, for 50 to 60 miles below Fayetteville, sandstones, clay slates and shales, 30 to 40 feet thick, in many places dark to black and very lignitic, with projecting trunks and limbs of trees, and at a few points full of marine shells. These beds Dr. Emmons regards as probably eocene. For 40 to 50 miles above Wilmington, and in all the other river sections, the rock is a uniform dark, greenish-gray, slightly argillaceous sandstone, massive, and showing scarcely any marks of bedding. This sandstone everywhere contains a small percentage of glauconite, and is in fact the representative of the true greensand * * *; but westward, higher up the Cape Fear, the beds lose entirely their glauconitic and calcareous character, and become more clayey and frequently black-lignitic with embedded trunks, limbs, and leaves of trees; and not unfrequently it is composed of sandy accumulations exhibiting much false bedding. These beds extend a hundred miles up the Cape Fear from Wilmington. It is probably the same lignitic member of this series which appears at low-water in the Neuse, at the railroad bridge near Goldsboro. The Cretaceous beds of North Carolina are not usually very rich in fossils, the greensand containing generally scattered specimens of belemnites, ostrea larva, exogyra costata, and an occasional anomia.

The following fossil localities are named: Kelleys Cove, Cape Fear River, 40 miles [46 miles] above Wilmington, in a stratum 2 to 4 feet thick; and Snow Hill, on Contentnea Creek, Lenoir County, where in a line of bluffs several hundred yards long and 20 to 40 feet high Cretaceous shells occur in a sandy marlite 10 to 12 feet thick at base, which he regards as representing a Ripley horizon.


In an appendix accompanying Professor Kerr's report T. A. Conrad describes 46 new species of Cretaceous mollusks, and states that they represent the Ripley of Mississippi. He includes a synopsis of the Cretaceous mollusca of North Carolina.

Six new species of mollusks from the Cretaceous of North Carolina were described by Gabb14 in 1876. Two of these were from Snow Hill, but the exact localities from which the remaining were obtained is not indicated.

In 1888, W J McGee15 described materials at Weldon, N. C., supposed by him to be a southward continuation of the Potomac group of Virginia, as follows:

The southernmost observed occurrence of the formation is at Weldon, N. C., where a bed of obscurely stratified arkose, interspersed with well-rounded quartzite pebbles, appears in the north bank of the Roanoke beneath the railway bridge. The deposit rests on an unequally eroded surface of gneiss, is not over a foot thick, and is unfossiliferous; but its composition and structure are characteristic, and there is little doubt as to its identity.

In Federal Survey reports appearing in 188916 and 189617 William H. Fontaine, who was engaged in a study of the plant remains in the Potomac group, accepted McGee's interpretation regarding the age of the materials at Weldon. Recent investigations have shown the probable absence of Potomac equivalents in this immediate vicinity.

The general stratigraphic conditions in the lower Cape Fear River region were described by Prof. W. B. Clark18 in 1890. He shows that the Cretaceous greensand marl occupies the base of the series of formations exposed.

The same year Fontaine19 announced the discovery of Potomac strata at Haywood, Chatham County, N. C., but later work has thrown doubt upon the correctness of this interpretation.

Dr. C. A. White's correlation paper on the Cretaceous formations of North America,20 which appeared in 1891, contains a brief review of the Cretaceous of North Carolina. He quotes Kerr's discussion regarding the marine division. Concerning the nonmarine division [Potomac], he says:

It is not probable that any extensive exposures of the nonmarine division of the Cretaceous exist in North Carolina, and those now known are few and


unimportant, except that they demonstrate its existence there and afford presumptive evidence that the formation is, or originally was, continuous throughout the whole length of the Atlantic border region.

A vertical section from Haywood to New Bern, constructed from data derived from Kerr's report of 1875, is given.

An important contribution to the literature of the Carolina Cretaceous was made by J. A. Holmes21 in 1893. The following general statements are made concerning the Cretaceous deposits along a portion of the inland margin of the Coastal Plain region:

That part of this region which lies between the Neuse and Savannah rivers has been examined more particularly, and in this region the following sections will indicate fairly well the geologic structure:

(a) A series of cross-bedded, medium to coarse arkose sands lying on the irregularly eroded surface of the crystalline rocks. These beds, which are classed provisionally as Cretaceous, contain in the upper layers in places lenses of clay and occasional thin beds and seams of lignitic material. They have been deeply eroded, their present surface rising nearly to the tops of the highest hills and sinking to the level of the deeper valleys.

The thickness of these sands is said to be several hundred feet. They are overlain by remnants of Eocene deposits, by loams and ferruginous sands of the Lafayette formation, also partly eroded away, and a surface mantle of sands and loams classed as Columbia. In this paper the author does not attempt to differentiate these sands as between Lower and Upper Cretaceous, but in a later publication (1896)22 he correlates them, as well as other Cretaceous deposits in the State, with the Potomac (Lower Cretaceous) of Virginia, as indicated in the following quotation:

In the Potomac (Lower Cretaceous) formation there are extensive beds of laminated, dark-colored clays, exposed along the banks of rivers crossing the Coastal Plain region, notably on the Cape Fear River, for 50 miles below Fayetteville. These clays are usually dark in color, owing to the vegetable matters which they contain; and, in some cases, they are highly lignitic. The thin laminæ of clay are frequently separated by still thinner partings of sand; and frequently within a short distance (from a few feet to a few hundred feet) the clay laminæ become thin and disappear, while the sand partings gradually thicken, so that the whole assumes the character of a sand-bed instead of a clay-bed. * * *

Along the western border of the Coastal Plain region, especially in Moore and Harnett counties, there are limited exposures of siliceous Eocene deposits (overlying the Potomac series, and capping some of the sandhills). * * *


Heinrich Ries23 in 1897 followed Holmes in referring the deposits along Cape Fear River 10 to 60 miles below Fayetteville to the Potomac group. Clays in the railroad cuts at Spout Springs, which should have been referred to the Potomac, were regarded by him as Eocene.

The first data throwing light on the character of the deeper Coastal Plain deposits near the coast was furnished by Holmes24 in 1900. He describes the section of a deep well drilled at Wilmington, N. C., in which were penetrated 1,109 feet of Upper Cretaceous strata, at the base of which granite was encountered. Dr. T. W. Stanton, to whom the fossils obtained were submitted, referred the upper 720 feet of strata to the Ripley and the remainder down to the granite to the Eutaw. The section is especially interesting as showing the absence of beds representing the Lower Cretaceous, between the Upper Cretaceous and the basal granite.

The Cape Fear River section was discussed by Lester F. Ward25 in 1905. He describes the river bluffs at Fayetteville and refers them to the older Potomac of Virginia, stating that the beds of arkose probably represent the “Rappahannock freestone,” and the interstratified clays probably correspond to the clay lenses in the “James River deposits.” The older Potomac beds are said to be transgressed by marine deposits which occupy the top of the bluffs nearly the whole distance. The latter statement is not upheld by the facts as shown by the recent studies of the region. Higher beds farther down the river, on the evidence of imperfect dicotyledonous leaves, are referred to the newer Potomac. Of the Cape Fear section as a whole he says: “The section seems to be complete from the older Potomac through the Marine Cretaceous, and the later Tertiary overlies this last.” He regards the arkosic deposit at Haywood as Potomac. The upper beds along the railroad between Sanford and Fayetteville are referred to the Tuscaloosa, apparently upon lithologic grounds. The exposures in the bed of Little River where the railroad crosses that stream are correctly regarded as older Potomac. The supposed Potomac at Weldon is regarded as still problematical.

A résumé of the results of field studies carried on in North Carolina by L. W. Stephenson during the years 1905 and 1906 appeared in 1907.26

Three divisions are recognized in the Mesozoic deposits of the Coastal Plain, and their character, geographic distribution, etc., are described.


The oldest, for which he proposes the name “Cape Fear” formation, is correlated approximately with the Patuxent formation of Virginia. For the next younger division, which is correlated provisionally with the Tuscaloosa formation of Alabama, the name “Bladen” formation is proposed. The youngest division is correlated with the Ripley of the Gulf region, and the name “Ripley” formation is employed to designate it. The names “Cape Fear,” “Bladen,” and “Ripley” correspond respectively to the names Patuxent, Black Creek, and Peedee as used in the present report.

During the same year two important contributions were made by E. W. Berry, relating to collections of fossil plants made by himself and Stephenson from the “Bladen” formation during the two preceding years. Lists are given, a number of new species are described and figured, and the significance of the flora is discussed. In the first of these papers27 he discusses the age of the plant-bearing beds as follows:

Because of their geographical position these beds should be provisionally correlated with the Tuscaloosa formation of Alabama; with this reservation, however, that the Tuscaloosa flora, as far as it is known, coincides with that of the Raritan. Lithologically these North Carolina beds are much more like the Magothy of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland than they are like the Raritan, and it seems probable that when the problem has been worked out for the whole Coastal Plain it will be found that the Tuscaloosa formation of Alabama as a whole includes sediments of older Potomac, Raritan, and Magothy age, while what is here called the Tuscaloosa formation in North Carolina, already differentiated from the older Potomac, includes phases corresponding to both the Raritan and Magothy formations of the more northern portions of the Coastal Plain and to the upper Tuscaloosa and Eutaw formations of the Gulf region.

In the second,28 discussing the broader significance of the “Bladen” flora, he says:

The remarkable flora, of a comparative modern aspect which seems to have evolved in the Arctic region, and which migrated southward over eastern North America during the Mid-Cretaceous, has been discovered at a large number of localities during the last decade. Originally described by Oswald Heer from the west coast of Greenland, it is now known from Massachusetts, the southern New England islands from Martha's Vineyard to Brooklyn, from Staten Island, and from the Raritan and Magothy formations of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. From Maryland southward there has been a long break in the record, no plants having been known from the Potomac to the Chattahoochee, or a distance of about 800 miles. It is the purpose of the following brief note to partially bridge over this intervening area and record this Mid-Cretaceous flora from both North and South Carolina.


In the same paper, discussing the distribution of fifteen well-known forms, most of which come from Court House Landing, Cape Fear River, he says: “Of these, seven were originally described from Greenland, seven from the Dakota group of the West, and seven from the Raritan formation of New Jersey. Four species have a European distribution, * * *.” The European species all occur in the Cenomanian, and one of these also ranges up into the Senonian.

In 1907, Earle Sloan29 introduced the name “Burches Ferry marls,” using it for essentially the same terrane as that to which Ruffin had in 1843 applied the name Peedee.

Three new “Bladen” forms were described by Berry in 1908. Two of these belong to the genus Araucaria,30 namely, Araucaria bladenensis and Araucaria jeffreyi. Of the former he says:

It is preëminently the type fossil of the Bladen formation of North Carolina, single leaves or even fragments being quite characteristic and easy of recognition.

Concerning the correlation of the beds in which these remains were collected, he says:

The New Jersey material comes from beds of the Magothy formation, very probably of Cenomanian age. The Carolina forms are from beds which differ in age but slightly, if at all, from those of New Jersey, although they may be somewhat older, possibly synchronous with the Raritan formation of New Jersey and the Tuscaloosa formation of Alabama, the question of exact correlation being under active investigation at the present time.

The third31 is a species of Torreya, namely, Tumion carolinianum.

An abstract of a paper read before the Geological Society of Washington by L. W. Stephenson appeared in 1909.32 The Cretaceous is divided into three formations; the oldest, the “Cape Fear” formation, is referred to the Lower Cretaceous; the “Bladen” formation which overlies the “Cape Fear” formation unconformably, and the third or upper division formerly designated the “Ripley” formation by the same author, which overlies the “Bladen” formation conformably, are referred to the Upper Cretaceous. On account of uncertainty which has arisen regarding the exact meaning of the term Ripley as employed in the Gulf region, the author suggests that the name “Burches Ferry”


formation, applied by Sloan to the southward continuation of the same terrane, might appropriately be substituted for that of Ripley. Brief statements are made regarding the probable correlations of these divisions with Cretaceous deposits in other regions. The names “Cape Fear,” “Bladen,” and “Ripley” correspond respectively to the names Patuxent, Black Creek, and Peedee, of the present report.

In 1910, E. W. Berry33 described 29 new species of fossil plants from the Black Creek formation of North Carolina.

Prof. W. B. Clark presented a paper34 in 1909 before the Geological Society of America on the results of the work by himself and associates in the Coastal Plain region between Massachusetts and South Carolina, in which he discusses the Cretaceous formations of North Carolina and points out their relations to the Cretaceous deposits of the Northern Coastal Plain and of the Gulf. The question of their correlation is considered in much detail.


Previous to the investigations furnishing the data for the present report, there had been little attempt on the part of geologists working in the region to differentiate the Cretaceous deposits of North Carolina into formations. It was recognized by Professors Holmes and Ward that the basal Cretaceous beds were the probable equivalent of the Potomac, but neither were clear in their definition of the upper stratigraphic limits of these Lower Cretaceous representatives; and, in fact, Holmes included in this division certain of the beds on Cape Fear River now known to belong unquestionably to the Upper Cretaceous.

The recent investigations in the North Carolina Coastal Plain have led to the recognition of three Cretaceous divisions designated in the ascending order: the Patuxent (“Cape Fear”) formation of Lower Cretaceous age, and the Black Creek (“Bladen”) and Peedee (“Burches Ferry”) formations of Upper Cretaceous age.

As will be seen by referring to the geologic map (Plate XVII, in pocket), these three formations have their widest areal development in the southern part of the Coastal Plain portion of the State. To the northward the area of outcrop narrows, being transgressed more and more by younger, Tertiary strata until at the Virginia line the Cretaceous strata are entirely overlapped and concealed. The best continuous series of Cretaceous exposures is furnished by the bluffs of Cape Fear River and its tributaries, the strata appearing at intervals all the way


from the fall line to Wilmington, a distance of over 100 miles. The Cape Fear region furnishes not only the widest area of Cretaceous strata in this State, but also the widest area at right angles to the fall line in the Coastal Plain region east of the Mississippi River.

Plate XXX, p. 342, is a section constructed across the Coastal Plain, at right angles to the general strike of the strata from Cameron to Wrightsville, which shows the stratigraphic relations of the three recognized Cretaceous formations.


Name.—The name, Patuxent formation, was proposed by Prof. Wm. Bullock Clark in 189735 to designate the basal formation of the Potomac group in Maryland. The name is derived from Patuxent River, Maryland. The formation as defined consists of arkosic sands with subordinate amounts of sandy clay, having an estimated thickness of 150 feet. The division was described in detail in later publications by Clark and Bibbins.36

The terrane in North Carolina, under consideration, was first differentiated by the writer37 in 1907, and the name “Cape Fear” formation was used to designate it. The division was then regarded as the probable equivalent of the Patuxent formation of Maryland. Although there is no paleontologic evidence to support the correlation, the investigations carried on in the region since the publication of the above paper have led to the conviction, based upon physical criteria, that the “Cape Fear” formation is in fact the southward extension of the Patuxent formation, but with its surface connection with that formation interrupted in the region of southern Virginia and northern North Carolina by overlapping Tertiary strata, as is the case at various points farther north in Virginia and Maryland.

Definition.—The Patuxent formation outcrops in a belt beginning at Roanoke River, where the river forms the boundary between the eastern halves of Northampton and Halifax counties, and passing thence to the southwest through the following counties: Edgecombe, northern Pitt, Wilson south of the town of Wilson, northern Greene, the northern half of Wayne, Johnston south of Smithfield, northern Sampson, southern Harnett, almost all of Cumberland, southern Moore, northern Robeson, probably all of Scotland, and southern Richmond to the South Carolina line. Beyond this line it passes into South Carolina through


Marlboro County and from thence, by way of Camden, Columbia, and Hamburg, into Georgia in the vicinity of Augusta. (See geologic map, Plate XVII, in pocket.)

The formation where present forms the basal division of the deposits of the Coastal Plain and rests directly upon the eroded surface of the basement rocks. The latter consist for the most part of early Paleozoic or Proterozoic igneous and metamorphic rocks, but also to a limited extent of sedimentary deposits of Triassic age (Newark). The upper surface of the basement rocks where they are overlain by the deposits of the Coastal Plain is very uneven. This is true not only with respect to minor details, but likewise as regards certain larger features. This unevenness is indicated, first, by the eastward extension at the surface of long tongues of the older rocks; second, by the outcrop of isolated patches of these rocks at considerable distances to the east of the Piedmont border; and, finally, by the depths at which they have been encountered in wells at various places.

The formation is overlain unconformably by the Black Creek (“Bladen”) formation, or, where that is absent, by overlapping strata of the Eocene, Miocene, Pliocene, or Pleistocene periods. The beds of the Black Creek formation form the immediate superjacent covering along the southeastern edge of the belt of Patuxent occurrences. The observed width of overlaps of these beds above water level varies from a few miles to a maximum of at least 12 miles, the greatest width being in the valley of Cape Fear River in southeastern Cumberland County. The undulating Patuxent-Black Creek contact has been observed at various places on Cape Fear, Neuse, Contentnea, and Tar rivers.

The relations of the Patuxent formation to Tertiary and younger beds will be discussed in the order of age, beginning with the oldest. But one area of Eocene is known within the belt. This is in Harnett County, about 3 miles northeast of Spout Springs, where a bed of siliceous limestone, probably of very limited extent, is poorly exposed near the top of a hill. Its vertical position is perhaps about 300 feet above sea-level. It is believed to rest upon the Patuxent formation and is probably overlain by a surface covering of the Lafayette formation. From the southwestern edge of Wilson County northeastward to Roanoke River the Patuxent formation is perhaps continuously overlain by overlapping beds of Miocene age, except where the latter have been removed by stream erosion and by Pleistocene terracing processes along the valleys. From Neuse River to Roanoke River the observed Patuxent exposures are all low, nowhere exceeding 15 feet above water level of the streams. It is probable that from Wilson County northeastward

the thickness of the overlapping Miocene everywhere exceeds the thickness of that portion of the Patuxent beds appearing above water level. In this region the Miocene beds transgress westward entirely across and several miles beyond the Patuxent belt, resting directly upon the surface of the basement rocks.

The next younger division having a contact relationship with the Patuxent formation is the Lafayette formation. This relationship exists, so far as known, only in the sandhill country of the southwestern portion of the Coastal Plain province. The term sandhills has been applied to a series of rolling hills covering portions of Richmond, Scotland, Moore, Cumberland, and Harnett counties, whose elevations vary from a little over 200 feet to perhaps 500 feet. In this region the comparatively thin and more or less discontinuous Lafayette covering rests unconformably upon an eroded Patuxent surface whose broader topographic features seem to correspond closely to the present surface topography.

To the east of the sandhills and throughout the entire remaining extent of the belt of Patuxent outcrop not covered by Miocene or Lafayette strata, the Patuxent beds are concealed by surficial Pleistocene terrace coverings. Indeed, were it not for occasional stream cuttings, gullies, or artificial excavations, the older beds would be everywhere effectually concealed.

The strata of the Patuxent formation consist of sands and clays and various intergradations of arenaceous clays and argillaceous sands. The sands are fine to very coarse in texture, the individual grains being, as a rule, angular. They are in most places arkosic, and locally contain a large percentage of pure white kaolin grains. Muscovite mica is a common constituent and in places is present in large amounts. One specimen from near the base of the section at Fayetteville resembles a decomposed mica schist, the mica flakes being arranged in a general way parallel with the bedding planes and having diameters ranging up to ⅛ inch. In this same specimen biotite mica is present in considerable amount, the individual flakes being smaller than those of muscovite. The sands are light gray to gray and greenish-gray in color, but locally are stained various shades of red, yellow, and brown by the hydrous oxides of iron.

The clays are everywhere more or less arenaceous, and fine mica flakes are generally present in greater or lesser amount. The colors range through dark drab, drab, greenish-drab, gray, and greenish-gray, or the materials may be mottled or more or less uniformly colored with purplish and reddish tints.

In most of the river exposures in North Carolina both the sands and

clays are, as a rule, very compact, but nearer the Piedmont border the sands are more commonly of a loose texture. In some instances the arkosic sands are slightly indurated, forming a soft friable sandstone rock.

Iron sulphide, probably in the form of marcasite, was observed in a clay bed in the section at milepost 105 on the Neuse River and also in clay beds at some of the exposures on Roanoke River.

A small amount of lignite was observed at one or two places on Contentnea Creek, on Tar River in the vicinity of Tarboro and on Roanoke River in the section above the State Farm.

In the better sections in which the formation is revealed, especially in the bluffs of Cape Fear River, the clay and sand are observed to form alternate strata from 2 to 10 feet or more in thickness, giving to the section a banded appearance, which is further emphasized by the difference in color, the clay being darker than the sand. In most places the sand layers show more or less cross-bedding, this feature being more strikingly developed, however, in exposures closely adjacent to the Piedmont border.

At but few places have the Patuxent strata been observed in actual contact with the basement rocks. Where seen, however, as might be predicted, pebbles and cobbles occur, and it may be presumed that practically everywhere along this contact a basal conglomerate of gravels is present.

The general strike of the beds, as may be inferred from the areal distribution of the belt of outcrop, is northeast-southwest.

The Cape Fear River bluffs furnish the only exposures of sufficient extent to permit of the determination of the approximate dip of the beds. No exact measurements were made, but from the fact that certain of the clay and sand layers can be traced for several miles, especially in the southern part of Cumberland County, approximately at right angles to the strike, with scarcely any appreciable change in the level, it is apparent that the dip in this region, at least, is very slight, being but little more than the grade of the stream itself. The disappearance of the formation beneath the overlying terrane appears to be due in part to an increase in the general slope of its upper unconformable surface, as well as to the dip of the beds themselves.

The thickness of the Patuxent formation from its upper surface to the underlying bedrock has been determined from well data at a number of places along the belt of outcrop. A well drilled by the Fayetteville Ice and Manufacturing Company, located at their plant on the Wicomico terrace on which the business part of Fayetteville stands,

with the exception of a few feet of Pleistocene materials at the top, penetrated this formation to a depth of 220 feet, at which depth ancient basement slate was encountered. An escarpment separating the Wicomico terrace from the Coharie terrace, whose elevation is about 100 feet greater than the Wicomico, runs north and south along the west border of the town. Poor exposures of Patuxent strata occur in this escarpment to a height of about 35 feet above the Wicomico terrace and are overlain by supposed Black Creek strata. The thickness in the vicinity of Fayetteville, therefore, amounts to about 255 feet. At Goldsboro, according to a section published by Darton,36 about 175 feet of materials which should be referred to the Patuxent formation were passed through from 50 feet below the surface to the surface of the basement rocks underlying the Coastal Plain at 226 feet. At Tarboro in a well drilled under the auspices of the city government, basement rock was struck at a depth of 328 feet. The lower 228 feet of Coastal Plain materials is interpreted as referable to the Patuxent formation. In a deep well at Scotland Neck, Halifax County, basement rock was encountered at 349 feet below the surface, and it is believed that about 275 feet of Patuxent beds were penetrated. It thus appears that along the southeastern border of the belt of outcrop throughout its northeast-southwest extent the thickness is comparable to that at Fayetteville. In the coastward direction down the dip the formation may thicken somewhat for a short distance, but as the coast is approached it is believed to become thinner and finally to pinch entirely out between the underlying basement rocks and the overlying Upper Cretaceous beds.

The only data throwing light upon the presence or absence of the formation far out under the younger deposits of the Coastal Plain are furnished by two deep borings. One of these, located at Wilmington, reached a basal granite at a depth of 1,109 feet. Only Upper Cretaceous beds were penetrated, indicating that land, either an island or peninsula, existed in the Wilmington region during early Cretaceous time, and that either no Lower Cretaceous beds were deposited or, if such deposition took place, that the resulting beds were removed by erosion before the beginning of Upper Cretaceous deposition. The other well, located at Fort Caswell, at the mouth of Cape Fear River estuary, reached basement rock at a depth of 1,540 feet. There is some doubt as to the age of some of the lower beds penetrated, but there seem to be no certain grounds for regarding any portion of the section as representing Lower Cretaceous deposits.


No fossil remains have been found in the deposits of the Patuxent formation in North Carolina except small amounts of lignite in some of the exposures on Contentnea Creek, and on Tar and Roanoke rivers.

Detailed Sections.—The strata of this formation are best exposed in the bluffs of the streams which cross the belt, at all places where present, forming the base of the deposits of the Coastal Plain and rising to various heights above the level of the water to a maximum of 50 or 60 feet. A few good interstream localities have been observed.

The most complete series of exposures are those appearing along Cape Fear River from a point about 1½ miles above the mouth of Little River in Harnett County, to Devanes Ferry, 17 miles below Fayetteville in Cumberland County. The sections in nearly all cases show at least 15 or 20 feet of Patuxent strata, and at a number of the bluffs the beds are revealed to heights of 50 feet or more above low-water level. For the greater part of this distance the overlying beds consist of Pleistocene terrace materials. Towards the southern limit of the line of exposures, however, between mileposts 100 and 101, the feather edge of the Black Creek (“Bladen”) formation begins to appear, resting in basin-like depressions on the eroded surface of the Patuxent beds and overlain by the usual terrace deposits. In the next 3 miles the unconformable relations of the Patuxent and Black Creek beds are clearly exhibited in several sections. The former appears for the last time at Devanes Ferry, near milepost 98, where it finally passes from view beneath the latter. (For sketch map of Cape Fear River, see Plate I.)

The more important sections presented by the bluffs of this stream will be described in detail on the following pages. The fall line, that is, the foot of the last rapids formed by the basement rocks, is at a point about 2½ miles above the mouth of Little River in Harnett County. The first section observed in descending the river is at a point about 1 mile below the fall line and about 1½ miles above the mouth of Little River. It is as follows:

Surface loam8
Light yellow, argillaceous sand8-10
Gravel lens about 3 feet thick at middle of exposed portion of bluff, and thinning out towards each end in a distance of about 200 feet0-3


North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey. VOL. III, PLATE I.]

Cretaceous (Patuxent formation):FEET.
Drab, iron-stained, sandy clay, grading down into coarse, gray, gravelly, arkosic sand, containing some mica8
Hard, drab, iron-stained (yellow and red) sandy clay, becoming more sandy towards base and grading into next layer below3-5
Greenish gray, arkosic, micaceous sand (very micaceous in places, especially towards base)10
Dark greenish drab clay4
Very hard, coarse, iron-stained, argillaceous sand10
Yellowish drab clay, becoming sandy at top, mottled in places with dark-red iron stain6
Concealed to water's edge by landslide28-30

From this point to and beyond Fayetteville the present flood plain of the river is very narrow and in places almost absent. The steep banks formed by the partially indurated materials of the Patuxent formation, for the most part covered with vegetation, rise on either side to heights of 40 to 60 feet. The narrow flood plain, in most places not more than a few feet to a few rods in width, is present, as a rule, on one side of the channel only. At a few places the floods which have swept through the gorge have torn away the vegetation covering the steep slopes, revealing the outcropping Patuxent beds.

The next good exposure is at the mouth of Little River. The upper part of the bluff is terrace material continuous with that forming the terrace on which Fayetteville is built. The details of the section are as follows:

Reddish loam, grading down into hard, reddish sandy clay6
Concealed by talus10
Gravel band not well exposed, with large pebbles and cobbles and some large erratic bowlders 2 or more feet in diameter2-3
Cretaceous (Patuxent formation):
Yellow and drab, stratified, arkosic sand2
Light drab, sandy clay, more sandy in the middle portion, mottled with dark-red and purple iron stain5
Arkosic and micaceous sand, light gray to greenish gray, and more or less mottled with red and yellow, becoming very micaceous towards base18
Greenish drab, sandy clay, mottled with dark red4
Hard, greenish drab, arkosic and micaceous sand, becoming coarser at base, to water's edge3

Near Wade, Cumberland County, a section is exposed on the left bank, as follows:

Yellowish and gray sands with a thin gravel bed at base, containing in addition to rounded and angular quartz pebbles, erratic bowlders of igneous and metamorphic rocks of all sizes up to several feet in diameter6
Cretaceous (Patuxent formation):
Coarse, light-gray sand, slightly darker at the top, mottled with yellow, slightly stratified, and containing layers more or less argillaceous6
Greenish-gray, crumbly or grainy clay, darker in top layer, and mottled throughout with dark-red streaks8.5
Fine micaceous, greenish-gray clay2-5
Dark gray, micaceous, arkosic sand, mottled with rusty streaks and slightly indurated3.5
Greenish-gray, micaceous sand, mottled with red and yellow and softer and lighter in color than preceding5.5
Greenish-gray, micaceous, arkosic sand, coarse to fine, indurated to a soft sandstone, making a steep cliff. It is somewhat mottled with reds and yellows16
Yellowish-green, micaceous sand, fine in upper part, becoming coarse and strongly mottled with reds and yellows in lower half5
Greenish-gray, very micaceous, slightly arkosic sand to water's edge3

In its lithologic character this section is essentially the same as the two preceding.

At Fayetteville a fairly good exposure occurs between the wagon bridge and the C. F. and Y. V. Railway bridge. As this is essentially the same as a better section occurring ¾ mile below at the Wilmington and Fayetteville steamboat wharf, the latter will be given in detail.

Sand and loam with gravel band at base containing erratic bowlders of quartz and crystalline rocks10
Cretaceous (Patuxent formation):
Coarse gray, compact, argillaceous and arkosic sand with some mica and many small pebbles as large as peas. A yellowish band of iron crust, 1 to 2 inches thick, occurs along the base6
Hard, bluish-gray, coarsely arenaceous, micaceous, arkosic clay grading down into next layer below2
Fine, yellowish, micaceous, somewhat arkosic iron-stained sand, with an iron crust layer ½ inch thick at base5
Dark band of arenaceous clay, mottled with purple iron stain2


A.—Exposure of strata typical of the Patuxent formation, Cape Fear River, below
the Wilmington and Fayetteville steamboat bridge, near Fayetteville, N. C.

North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey. VOL. III. PLATE II.]


B.—Exposure of the Patuxent formation, Cape Fear River, about 10 miles
below Fayetteville, N. C. Shows also the projections described on page 91.


Cretaceous (Patuxent formation):FEET.
Hard, light-gray, coarse-grained, arkosic micaceous sand6
Band of hard, dark gray, arenaceous, somewhat micaceous, arkosic clay, mottled with purple iron stain3-5
Hard, gray, coarse, very arkosic micaceous sand, in places becoming coarser and containing many small quartz pebbles as large as peas6-8
Drab to yellowish and red mottled clay, making a dark band along the cliff, becoming micaceous and sandy towards base4-5
Hard, coarse, arkosic sand, somewhat micaceous3
Dark, bluish-gray, argillaceous, very micaceous sand not well exposed, to water's edge3

The distance by the river from Wilmington to Fayetteville is 115 miles. The mile intervals are indicated by numbers painted on boards and nailed to trees growing near the banks. The numbering begins at the former place and proceeds upstream to the latter.

For the first 4 or 5 miles below Fayetteville the river has a nearly straight course and the exposures are few and unimportant. At about milepost 110 the river makes a broad bend from its south-southeast course around to the east, south and southwest, coming back in line with its former course at about milepost 100. For a number of miles along the right bank of the northern limb of this bend and along the left bank after it turns to the south and southwest, the Patuxent beds are remarkably well exposed in bluffs ranging from 25 to 50 feet in height. The materials consist of layers of compact, partially indurated clays and arkosic and micaceous sands, from a few feet to 10 or 12 feet in thickness, making broad light and darker bands along the faces of the bluffs, the sections being similar in all essential respects to those farther up the river previously described. The beds are almost horizontal, it being possible to trace the bands along the bluffs for a number of miles without detecting any appreciable dip.

One of the striking features to be observed along the face of these bluffs is the effect produced by the water of the brooks and springs which enter the river through little overhanging valleys, on the sands and clays of the Patuxent formation over which it descends. It seems that these materials, kept constantly moistened, are rendered more resistant to the eroding effects of the high waters of the main stream than the adjacent materials of the same layers which are subjected to repeated wetting and drying so that the latter are cut away more rapidly, leaving the former standing out as rounded projections 4 or 5 feet in thickness at right angles to the face of the bluff, and from 10 to 25 feet or more in height. See Plate II, B.

The upper 10 to 15 feet in all these bluffs is made up of Pleistocene

sands and clays, in most places a gravel band containing erratic bowlders of quartz or crystalline rock being present at the base, the materials representing a continuation downstream of the terrace materials exposed at and above Fayetteville.

Between mileposts 100 and 101 beds of the Black Creek (“Bladen”) formation begin to appear in the bluffs, occupying shallow basins in the eroded surface of the Patuxent beds and covered over by horizontal Pleistocene deposits. The relations of the different materials are roughly shown in Fig. 1.


FIG. 1.—Sketch showing the relations of the Patuxent and Black Creek forma-
tions to each other and to overlying Pleistocene deposits; Cape Fear River, between
mileposts 100 and 101.


The Patuxent materials represented in the section are of the usual character. In striking contrast to them are the materials occupying the basins, which consist of dark laminated sands and clays, in places containing considerable lignite, whose general aspect is the same as that of the materials of similar character which make up the bluffs farther down the river. They constitute the feather edge of the Black Creek (“Bladen”) formation which overlies unconformably the Patuxent formation. This interpretation is confirmed by an observation made near Church Landing, right bank, about milepost 100. See Fig. 2.


FIG. 2.—Sketch showing the relation of the Patuxent formation to the Black
Creek formation near Church Landing, Cape Fear River.


Here there is a marked unconformity between the Patuxent formation, consisting of the usual compact, partially indurated, drab, sandy clays and light-gray, arkosic and micaceous sands, and the overlying laminated sands and clays of the Black Creek formation.

That the unconformable relations existing between the Patuxent and Black Creek formations are very marked is further proven by observations made at Hairs Wood Landing, ¼ mile below milepost 99. In a section extending for several hundred yards along the left bank the only materials seen are those belonging to the Patuxent formation and to the Pleistocene, the former consisting of the usual compact sands and clays rising some 20 or 25 feet above low-water level, and the latter consisting of characteristic sands and clays with a thin gravel band at base. The laminated materials of the Black Creek formation are entirely absent. At Devanes Ferry, however, just above milepost 98, left bank, the Black Creek beds are again seen resting unconformably upon the Patuxent beds. This is the last section in which the beds of this formation appear.

In Johnston County exposures of typical Patuxent strata occur in cuts of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in the vicinity of the village of Four Oaks. In one of these 4½ miles southwest of the depot sands and clays, with a line of quartz and schist fragments along the base, belonging to the Patuxent formation, were observed in contact with deeply decayed crystalline schists. This is one of the few places where the contact of the formation with the underlying basement rocks has been observed.

In a cut 5 miles southwest of Four Oaks the unconformable relation of the Patuxent, of the Lower Cretaceous, to the overlying Pleistocene is well exhibited. A similar exposure occurs in a cut 2¾ miles northeast of Four Oaks, as represented in the section (Fig. 3) on page 94.

Occasional exposures occur in Johnston County in the hills for several miles to the south and southeast of Four Oaks, and one good outcrop occurs about 2½ miles northwest of Four Oaks in the road leading from Black Creek up to Clements Church.

On Neuse River various exposures of the Patuxent formation occur from 1 mile above Cox's Bridge in Johnston County to the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad bridge southwest of Goldsboro in Wayne County. These occurrences are all low, the beds not rising more than 8 or 10 feet above extreme low water. Throughout this distance the Patuxent strata are overlain unconformably by overlapping beds of the Black Creek formation, except where the latter have been removed


FIG. 3.—Sketch showing the relation of the Patuxent formation to the Coharie formation; in cut of Atlantic Coast Line Rail-
road, 2¾ miles northeast of Four Oaks, Johnston County, N. C. (near Corinth Church).

1 and 2. Coarse, pebbly sand. (Unconformity.)
Patuxent formation:
3. Medium-grained micaceous, argillaceous, mealy textured sand, gray and yellow in
color, with occasional red mottlings. Thin layers of light drab sandy clay occur
in places along the top.
(Unconformity probably local in character.)
4. Dark to light drab, tough, massive clay.]

by Pleistocene terracing processes. The Patuxent-Black Creek contact undulates a few feet above and below water level. (For sketch map of Neuse River, see Fig. 4, p. 96.)

From Smithfield to Blackman's Bluff the river is bordered by low Pleistocene terraces, and as the observations were made at a time when the water was 8 or 10 feet higher than its normal stage, none but Pleistocene materials were seen for this distance. Had the water been low it is probable that Cretaceous beds would have been revealed at the base of some of the sections.

At Blackman's Bluff 117½ miles above New Bern only Black Creek beds were exposed, but it is possible a low-water stage would have revealed Patuxent beds at the base.

All the remaining Neuse River sections described below were prepared from observations made at medium to low water stages.

At 115¾ miles above New Bern and 1 mile above Cox's Bridge, the following section occurs:

Yellowish clay, becoming sandy towards base, containing occasional pebbles and small bowlders of quartz and crystalline rock, especially near the base, and also a few rather large pieces of silicified wood10
Gravel band½
Cretaceous (Patuxent formation):
Dark gray, very compact, micaceous, arkosic sand2

Coors Mill Branch enters from the left bank a short distance above milepost 111 and just above Quaker Bridge. Coors mill is located about ½ mile up this branch, just where it leaves the higher land to cross the river flood plain. The foundation of the mill is built upon a crystalline phyllite rock which was observed rising to a height of 10 feet above the bed of the stream, and, as indicated by the occurrence of large angular quartz fragments, a short distance away on a higher terrace level at a height of 30 or 40 feet above the stream bed, the basement rocks probably penetrate upward entirely through the deposits of the Coastal Plain at this place. This is interesting as showing the great unevenness of the buried Piedmont surface in this region.

At Tollers Bridge, milepost 106, there was exposed at low water about 3 feet of light-drab, finely arenaceous and micaceous clay, of the


FIG. 4.—Sketch map of part of Neuse River and part of Contentnea Creek.

Patuxent formation, overlain by 10 feet of Pleistocene sand, with a band of gravel containing crystalline bowlders at base.

At milepost 105, the river cuts into the upland and an interesting section is revealed which shows the contact of the Patuxent and Black Creek formations. The relations of the formations exposed are shown graphically in Fig. 5.


FIG. 5.—Sketch showing the relation of the Patuxent formation to the Black
Creek formation, and the relation of the latter to post-Cretaceous deposits, Neuse
River, milepost 105.


1. Coarse sand with gravel at base10-15
2. Light-gray, micaceous sand, interstratified with thin layers of light-drab plastic clay and layers of clay pellets of the same nature, the sand in places indurated to an iron stone6
Black Creek formation:
3. Dark drab, thinly laminated sandy clay with partings of fine micaceous sand, containing some small pieces of lignite. These materials are replaced in part a short distance away at the same level by a large lens of yellowish, stratified sand 7 or 8 feet in maximum thickness10

Patuxent formation:FEET.
4. Greenish gray, compact, arkosic, sandy clay, with irregular lenses of light-drab clay. The dark clay is filled with small dark particles which under the microscope appear to be partially decomposed marcassite5
5. Coarse, gray, compact arkosic, somewhat argillaceous sand8

Between the preceding locality and the county bridge none but Black Creek or supposed Black Creek beds are exposed in the river banks, the Patuxent-Black Creek contact being below water level.

At the county bridge, however, 2 miles southwest of Goldsboro and 94¾ miles above New Bern, right bank, the Patuxent beds again appear unconformably overlain by beds of the Black Creek formation, as shown in the following graphic section, Fig. 6. (See, also, Plate III, B.)


FIG. 6.—Sketch showing the relation of the Patuxent formation to the Black
Creek formation, and of the latter to overlying Pleistocene deposits; Neuse River,
at the county bridge, 2 miles southwest of Goldsboro, N. C.

1. Pleistocene.—Yellow clay loam, grading down into coarse gravelly sand with gravel band
at base, containing bowlders of crystalline rocks.
2. Black Creek formation.—Dark to black, laminated clay with partings and thin layers of
fine micaceous, slightly glauconitic sand, the whole more or less lignitic and containing numer-
ous concretions of iron sulphide. The lignite occurs in the form of large and small pieces and
in seams of comminuted particles. Fragments of wood remains which resemble charred wood
are present in considerable numbers.
3. Patuxent formation.—Very compact, drab clay and coarse arkosic micaceous sand.]

The last appearance of the Patuxent formation above water level is at the A. C. L. R. R. bridge ¾ mile below the preceding, where the following section is exposed:


A.—Exposure of the Patuxent formation, Little River, one-half mile below the
railroad bridge at Manchester, Cumberland County, N. C.

North Carolina Geological and Economic Surrey. VOL. III. PLATE III.]


B.—Exposure on Neuse River at county bridge, two miles southwest of Golds-
boro, N. C. Shows unconformable contact between the Patuxent and Black
Creek formations.


Yellow clay loam3
Yellow sand, becoming coarser towards base7
Gravel band with pebbles and cobbles of all sizes up to 4 or 5 inches in diameter, and many pieces of silicified wood1
Black Creek formation:
Laminated, cross-bedded, dark clay and gray micaceous sand, containing lignite and iron sulphide concretions5
Patuxent formation:
Compact drab clay3

On Contentnea Creek there are occurrences of Patuxent strata from 1 mile above Woodard Bridge 8 miles south-southeast of Wilson, to within 1 mile of Contentnea in Greene County. These exposures are mostly low, at but few places rising more than 5 or 6 feet above the water, the maximum height being about 15 feet. Between the first exposure at the locality indicated and a point 2 miles below Speights Bridge the beds overlying the Patuxent formation are of Miocene age, except where the latter have been removed by Pleistocene terracing processes. The low terrace sections reveal either Pleistocene deposits overlying Patuxent beds or Pleistocene beds only. From the locality 2 miles below Speights Bridge to the last exposure of the Patuxent formation near Contentnea the sections are all cut in the lowest Pleistocene terrace, and reveal at their base either Patuxent beds alone, or Patuxent beds overlain unconformably by Black Creek beds, or Black Creek beds only. The undulating contact rises and falls above and below the water level in such a manner as to reveal one or the other or both of the formations, the Patuxent, however, finally passing beneath the overlapping Black Creek beds about 1 mile above Contentnea. (For sketch map of Contentnea Creek, see Fig. 4, p. 96.)

A detailed account of the Contentnea Creek exposures is given below.

The first appearance of the Patuxent formation is at a point about 1 mile above Woodard Bridge, Wilson quadrangle, the section being as follows:

Concealed, but in part Pleistocene and in part Miocene20-25
Dark drab clay, with soft casts. Pebble band at base2

Cretaceous (Patuxent formation):FEET.
Very compact, light gray, micaceous, arkosic sand15

Between this locality and Ruffins Bridge on the same quadrangle the Patuxent materials are revealed in low exposures not exceeding 6 or 7 feet, on the cove side of many of the bends. They are everywhere characterized by their compact, partially indurated condition, and consist of light gray, micaceous, arkosic sands, or drab micaceous clays. A log of lignite 8 inches in diameter was observed in the materials at one place. The beds are in most places overlain by 6 to 10 feet of loam and sand with a band of gravel at base, as a rule containing bowlders of crystalline rocks and small pieces of silicified wood, which constitute Pleistocene terrace deposits.

One-half mile above Speights Bridge, Wilson quadrangle, the following observations were made:

Concealed by vegetation12
Mostly concealed, but consisting partly of sand with a band of gravel at base12-15
Sand and clay9
Cretaceous (Patuxent formation):
Very compact drab, sandy, micaceous clay4
Very compact gray, micaceous, argillaceous, arkosic sand6

A bluff at Speights Bridge exposes only Miocene strata, the Patuxent surface being below water-level.

In the next 1½ miles Patuxent beds were seen at several places rising 4 or 5 feet.

About 2 miles below Speights Bridge, right bank, Wilson quadrangle, in a distance of several hundred yards the surface of the Patuxent beds rises and falls 4 or 5 feet above and below water-level, being overlain unconformably by dark drab to black laminated clays with partings of fine micaceous sand, containing much lignite in small pieces and comminuted vegetable remains. The laminated beds belong to the Black Creek (“Bladen”) formation. For the next few miles, to within 1 mile of Fools Bridge (Contentnea P. O.), Falkland quadrangle, the Patuxent beds, consisting of the usual compact light drab

clays and light gray, arkosic sands, are exposed at many places along the cove sides of the river bends and are in most places overlain by 6 to 10 feet of Pleistocene terrace deposits. Beyond the point indicated there are no more surface exposures of the Patuxent formation.

Tar River exhibits the beds of the formation from a point about 4 miles below Dunbar Bridge in Edgecombe County to Parker Landing in Pitt County. Above Tarboro the occurrences are all low, as a rule less than 6 feet being revealed; while below this town the surface of the formation gradually rises to a maximum height of 16 or 18 feet near Penny Hill in Pitt County. (See sketch map of Tar River, Fig. 7.)


FIG. 7.—Sketch map of part of Tar River, N. C.

From its first appearance in Edgecombe County to a point about ¼ mile above Parker Landing the formation is overlain either by beds of Miocene age or by Pleistocene terrace deposits. At the last point indicated, however, and also a short distance below Parker Landing, the Black Creek formation appears resting unconformably upon the Patuxent formation. Beyond this the latter does not again appear, having passed finally from view beneath the water level.

The Tar River occurrences are described in detail on the following pages.

Yellowish loam and sand, becoming coarse and gravelly towards base10-12

Greenish gravelly sand1-3
Cretaceous (Patuxent formation):
Light gray, coarse, compact, argillaceous, very arkosic sand1-3

For the next few miles to within ½ mile of Hemmed Island there are numerous low exposures in places showing only the compact arkosic sands or drab clays of the Patuxent formation overlain by 10 or 12 feet of Pleistocene, at other places showing only the Miocene in a similar relation to the Pleistocene, and at still other places showing a few feet of the Miocene resting on the undulating surface of the Patuxent and overlain by the Pleistocene.

The next place at