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January 9, 2013

New Geologic Map Released for Westernmost Counties

by Martha

Map will guide decisions on best use of landscape

One of the best rock exposures in Maryland, Sideling Hill, Washington County. Photo by Paul Breeding, 1988.

One of the best rock exposures in Maryland, Sideling Hill, Washington County. Photo by Paul Breeding, 1988.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has created a new geological map for Garrett, Allegany and western Washington counties, that will not only provide information on the region’s geology, but guide decisions about the wise use of its landscape and natural resources.

DNR Geological Survey members David K. Brezinski and Robert Conkwright developed the Geological Map of Garrett, Allegany and western Washington Counties in Maryland ─ the first comprehensive geologic map for this region published in more than 50 years. The map covers the westernmost counties of the State, providing a current look at how bedrock units and major surface deposits are distributed.

As residential, commercial and recreational development increases in the western portion of the State, and with the potential for the Marcellus Shale to serve as a natural gas resource, the updated map will serve as a land management tool, helping decision-makers balance the impact of human activity with the preservation of natural resources.

The map includes short descriptions of geologic units and a cross section showing their distribution under the earth’s surface. Among other uses, the map will provide users with a better understanding of the distribution, depths and thickness of Marcellus Shale. This map will be especially useful in showing the interplay between geologic formations and groundwater availability and quality.

The map updates geologic information to be consistent with neighboring states, redefines boundaries between formations from the previous maps, and updates the subsurface cross section based on new review of geologic cores and geophysical logs. The geologic information is available to users in a modern Geographic Information System format, and as a printable map at www.mgs.md.gov/geo/wmdgeomap.html.

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