A geologic map is a special-purpose map made to show various geological features. Geological mapping survey represent the distribution of different types of rock and surficial deposits, as well as locations of geologic structures such as faults and folds. Rock units or geologic strata are shown by color or symbols. Bedding planes and structural features such as faults, folds are shown with strike and dip or trend and plunge symbols which give three-dimensional orientations features.
A geologic map shows the distribution of materials at or near the Earth’s surface. Rock types or unconsolidated materials are generally grouped into map units and depicted using different colors. Geologic maps show information collected manually in the field by walking Vermont’s landscape. Maps are labor-intensive and are based on detailed fieldwork in a variety of terrains. Maps are interpretive and the degree of certainty is limited by the exposures of materials. Geologists measure features where outcrop or surficial materials are exposed, then infer geologic contacts based on these measurements. A variety of lines, symbols, and text convey information in the form of a geologic map. Measurements taken at the surface are used to predict the location of geologic units and structures at depth and these predictions are shown on cross-sections. Thus, a geologic map is a major tool for communicating geological mapping survey information to other geologists and the public.
A bedrock geological map shows the type of intact, solid bedrock at or near the earth’s surface. A bedrock map generally includes rock descriptions, age relationships (stratigraphic sequence), major and minor structural data, and other information. A surficial geologic map shows the type of unconsolidated materials which are beneath the topsoil layers. In Vermont, most of these materials were deposited during glacial ice advance and retreat or are recent stream deposits (alluvium). Some of these deposits may be important aquifers or sources of sand and gravel.
Stratigraphic contour lines may be used to illustrate the surface of a selected stratum illustrating the subsurface topographic trends of the strata. Isopach maps detail the variations in the thickness of stratigraphic units. It is not always possible to properly show this when the strata are extremely fractured, mixed, in some discontinuities, or where they are otherwise disturbed.
Geological mapping is the process of a geologist physically going out into the field and recording geological information from the rocks that outcrop at the surface. Information the geologist looks for will include: boundaries between different rock types and structures e.g. fault-lines and evidence of the rocks undergoing deformation. Mapping is not exclusive to mineral exploration and is an extremely important step in many investigations, as understanding the nature of the underlying rocks in an area is the foundation of all geologically related studies. When conducting mapping as an early stage of mineral exploration, the geologist will be keeping an eye out for ore minerals, evidence of metal-rich fluids passing through the rock, and recording mineralized veins and their distribution.
Depending on the scale and extent of the mapping, it may take a team of geologists anywhere from several days to several months to complete.
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