Rock Topics

Sedimentary Rocks (Part 2)

Sedimentary Rocks of the Mesozoic Basins 

• The Mesozoic Basins include feldspar-rich conglomerates, sandstones, and red shales.  Black shales are also common. 

Culpeper quarry and conglomerate
Mesozoic Basins sedimentary rocks (Photographs by Stan Johnson)

MapSedimentary rocks are present in the Mesozoic Basins.  Sandstone layers can be seen in a quarry near Culpeper (left).  The right photograph shows a conglomerate found in the same area.


Sedimentary Rocks of the Valley and Ridge

• Many types of sedimentary rocks are present in the Valley and Ridge.  Limestone, dolomite, and shale are common in the valleys.  Sandstone and conglomerate are found on most ridges.  Halite and gypsum are found at Saltville in Smyth County.

Natural Bridge and Rainbow Arch
Natural Bridge (left) and Rainbow Arch (right) (Photographs by Robert Whisonant)

MapThe Valley and Ridge is made up almost entirely of sedimentary rocks.  Natural Bridge, shown left, is composed of limestone.  White sandstone layers (right) form the Rainbow Arch near Covington.



 Sedimentary Rocks of the Appalachian Plateaus

Wise Sedimentary Layers
(Photograph by Stan Johnson)

• The Appalachian Plateaus are also made up of sedimentary rocks, including abundant conglomerate, sandstone, and shale.  Limestone is also present.  Coal is a major economic product from the area.

The Appalachian Plateaus in Virginia is made up almost entirely of sedimentary rocks.  This photograph shows sedimentary layers in a strip mine in Wise County.  A 4-foot coal seam is present at the base of the cut.  Note the man (oval) for scale.