GEOLOGY OF WAKE COUNTY, NC: A VIEW FROM THE GREENWAYS
The greenway trails provide unparalleled opportunity for bringing geology to the general public. Aspects of fluvial geomorphology and environmental geology are on constant display, but the diverse bedrock geology of Wake County is also accessible to users of the greenways. We have created a blog (ncgreenwaysgeology.blogspot.com) that describes geological features and the related concepts that can be seen and understood along the trails.
From west to east, the county is underlain by: Triassic sedimentary rocks of the early Mesozoic Deep River basin; late Proterozoic to early Paleozoic metamorphic rocks belonging to five separate terranes; and granite of the late Paleozoic Rolesville batholith. The granite can be best viewed along the Neuse River Trail, which runs from Falls Dam SSE for 27.5 miles to the county line, then continues for about five miles in Johnston County. This Neuse River trip begins in metamorphic rocks of the Raleigh terrane, traverses the granitic batholith, and ends in metamorphic rocks of the Spring Hope terrane. Crabtree and Walnut Creeks both run nearly perpendicular to the NNE regional strike, and feed into the Neuse River; the corresponding greenway trails begin in metamorphics and end in granite. Triassic basin exposures may be seen on additional greenways in the Town of Cary.
When written in non-technical language and accessible to the general public via mobile devices, geological guides of greenways, trails and parks provide a convenient mechanism to introduce citizens to the wonder and significance of geology. We encourage their development.