2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


CAMPBELL, Elizabeth V., DMR, 900 Natural Resources Dr, Charlottesville, VA 22903 and DUNCAN, Ian J., Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, Univ of Texas, University Staion Box X, Austin, TX 78713, elizabeth.campbell@dmme.virginia.gov

One aim of the National Geologic Mapping Program, being pursued jointly by the USGS and the state geological surveys, is to create a digital geological map data set that seamlessly spans state boundaries. A prerequisite to achieving this aim is to create a consistent and clearly documented way to describe and classify mapped rock units. Although progress has been made in developing science languages or ontologies to describe bedrock units little work has been done in the field of mapping unconsolidated deposits. A cursory examination of the surficial geology literature and related maps shows little consistency in the use of feature names. Geologists producing surficial geologic maps, even within a limited area such as the Central Appalachians, appear to use different names for the same feature and/or uses different definitions for the same unit name. It is not uncommon to have great difficulty discovering precisely how an author is defining a particular term or unit name. The Glossary of Geology is of little assistance in resolving such issues as it simply reflects much of the inconsistent terminology and does not attempt to resolve such conflicts. In this study we have developed a hierarchical set of well defined, internally consistent, terms for describing unconsolidated deposits and related geomorphologic features in the Central Appalachians. Our aim is not to enforce a particular set of interpretative biases but rather to provide a clear standard for regional compilations.