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Geological Observations of North Central West Virginia
By Lyndsey Lieb and Angela Lands, KSU and Mike Kelly and Minjuan Cheng of ISU
Summation/synthesis of the entire poster or project. No more than five or so
sentences at the most.
Chestnut Ridge Anticline/Coopers Rock
The cliffs are of hard sandstone known as griststone, and range from 10- to 30-feet high.
The massive sandstone layer that forms Cooper's Rock -- the Upper Connoquenessing Sandstone -is exposed where Cheat River cuts through the lofty Chestnut Ridge anticline which extends
southwest from Pennsylvania across most of West Virginia. The sedimentary rocks of the surface
were formed during the Mississippian and the Pennsylvanian periods. The other exposed rock
layers mainly consist of sandstones, shale and limestone.
Physical research was not conducted by our group from a geological perspective.
Instead, the group the observed and deciphered of the orogeny, 300 million year
old rock layers, and other geological features of Monongalia county, West
Virginia, and Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Specifically Chestnut Ridge
Anticline, Cooper’s Rock in West Virginia, and Youghiogheny River area of
Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania.
Morgantown, WV Coal Geology
Beneath the area of Morgantown, WV is the Pittsburgh Coal
Seam. Vein names of this seam are Upper Freeport Vein and
Upper Kittanning Vein. Plants that lived and died in the
swamps during the Carboniferous Period fossilized forming
the coal seams found today. The first phase of coal
development is called peat. The swamps in this area during this
period have several meandering streams and river channels
which eventually deposited mud and silt. The repeated
deposition followed by heat and pressure turned this peat into
coal. So, every 12 inches of coal represents approximately
10,000 years of continuous peat accumulation. Coal seams in
West Virginia average 3 feet in thickness, although they
occasionally can be as thick as 25 feet.
Our area of observation is part of the Appalachian Plateau. The rock formations
of the plateau that cover the western part of the state are relatively flat, except on
the east side where there are dominant folds and faults. These hold some of the
oldest rocks of the region and range in age from late Ordovician up through the
Mississippian. The rest of the Appalachian Plateau is of Pennsylvanian and
Permian age and is where coal seams are located. The folded and thrusted rock of
the plateau is made up mainly of marine sedimentary rock and volcanic rock.
They are some of the oldest rocks in the world.
In addition, much of this portion of the Plateau has deep bedded salt deposits
nearly 50 feet thick. These deposits can be found some 5000-9000 feet below the
surface. It is estimated that there is enough salt in this area to supply the needs of
our nation for nearly 2000 more years.
Youghiogheny River, Ohiopyle, PA
Yough river area consists mostly of Pottsville sandstone while outlying areas are shale. The rock
exposures and landscape of the area tell the story of sedimentation, deformation and erosion that is
typical of this part of the Appalachians. The oldest rocks are part of the Pottsville group and consist
of brown, gray and reddish-colored sandstones and shale. Younger rocks range from light-gray
conglomerates, made up of small, white quartz pebbles, to red and green shale, to gray, very sandy
limestone. The youngest rocks in the area contain the coal seams and are economically important to
the area.
The geology of West Virginia was first investigated in the mid
late 1700’s to early 1800’s. The first official research was
conducted my geologist William Barton Roger from 18351842. Geological mapping was established by Israel Charles
White between 1906-1939 and is still used today. These maps
and discoveries have allowed better definition of the coal
areas, rock layers, paleontology, oil and gas fields, and mineral
Discussion—Interpret results. Interpret what we saw and
The group would like to thank Dr. Nancy Hoalst Pullen and
Dr. Jay Gatrell for their organization and leadership. Thanks
to fellow students for their notes, opinions, and other input
on the research and observations conducted. Thanks WVU
and Patriot Mining Co (need names).
Sources cited go here—use smaller font
TEMPLATE PROVIDED BY Jeffrey L. Helms, Department of Psychology, Kennesaw State University, 1000 Chastain Rd. #2202, Kennesaw, GA 30144. Send e-mail to [email protected]