Bedrock Geology, Northern Appalachians/Acadians

Apr 11, 2014 (Last modified Aug 22, 2017)
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Bedrock geology strongly influences area soil and water chemistry. Even in glaciated landscapes, studies suggest that soil parent material is commonly of local origin, rarely being ice-transported more that a few miles from its source. Bedrock types also differ in how they weather and in the physical characteristics of the residual soil type. Because of this, local lithology is usually the principle determinant of soil chemistry, texture, and nutrient availability. Many ecological community types are closely related to the chemistry and drainage of the soils or are associated with particular bedrock exposures.

We grouped bedrock units on the bedrock geology maps of ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, NY, PA, NJ, and MD into seven general classes (Table 2). We based our scheme on broad classification schemes developed by other investigators which emphasize chemistry and texture, and on bedrock settings that are important to many ecological communities, particularly to herbaceous associations. Please refer to another file accompanying this metadata, bedgeo_src.doc, for information on bedrock geology source materials.

In some settings deep sediments of glacial origin mantle the bedrock. The consolidated bedrock of valleys of pro-glacial lakes, for example, may lie under many meters of fine lacustrine sediments, and deep coarse deltaic or outwash deposits often overlay the bedrock in pine barrens and sand plains in the northeast. In these settings it is the nature of the sediments—their texture, compactness, and moisture-holding capacity, their nutrient availability, their ability to anchor overstory trees in a wind disturbance--that is ecologically relevant, and not the nature of the underlying bedrock. We used a USGS dataset of sediments of the glaciated northeast to identify such places. The USGS map was compiled at a coarse scale (1:1,000,000), but we made the data a little “smarter” by informing it with our landform map (please see the document on landforms that accompanies this metadata). Our landform layer was compiled at a much finer scale (the scale of the digital elevation models from which they were shaped, 1:24,000), and we allowed the deep coarse or fine sediments of the USGS dataset to be mapped only on those landforms on which they would naturally be expected to occur. In the case of sandy, coarse sediments, this would be in broad basin and valley/toe slope settings; in the case of fine clayey lacustrine or marine sediments, in these same settings, plus low hills and lower sideslopes. The seven bedrock classes were numbered 100 through 700 (See attached table), and the coarse and fine sediments classes were numbered 800 and 900, respectively.

Geology is part of The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) Resiliency Analysis.  More information on this project can be found here: 
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2014-04 (Acquisition)
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The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Division Conservation Science
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The Nature Conservancy compiled this data set from publicly available data sources and this data is freely distributable without permission from Eastern Division Conservation Science. This data set must be cited on all electronic and hard copy products using the language of the Data Set Credit. The Nature Conservancy shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described and/or contained herein. Any sale, distribution, loan, or offering for use of these digital data, in whole or in part, is prohibited without the approval of The Nature Conservancy. The use of these data to produce other GIS products and services with the intent to sell for a profit is prohibited without the written consent of The Nature Conservancy. All parties receiving these data must be informed of these restrictions. The Nature Conservancy shall be acknowledged as data contributors to any reports or other products derived from these data.
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[{"url": "", "title": "Download All Attached Files from ScienceBase"}, {"url": "", "title": "Download Original Metadata"}, {"url": "", "title": "Bedrock Geology Classes Table.docx"}, {"url": "", "title": "DOWNLOAD ORIGINAL DATA HERE"}]

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