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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-188
Version 1.3

Geology of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and Potomac River Corridor, District of Columbia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia

By C. Scott Southworth, David K. Brezinski, Randall C. Orndorff, Peter G. Chirico, and Kerry M. Lagueux

Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service, Maryland Geological Survey, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, and Virginia Division of Mineral Resources

Open-File Report 01-188-A, Geologic Map and GIS Files

Open-File Report 01-188-B, Geologic Report and Figures


The Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal National Historical Park, herein called the C&O Canal, crosses three physiographic provinces along the Potomac River. From Georgetown, District of Columbia, to Cumberland, Maryland, the C&O Canal provides an opportunity to examine the geologic history of the central Appalachian region.

The geologic map (Chapter A) depicts the 184.5-mile-long park in a 2-mile wide corridor centered on the Potomac River. The geologic report (Chapter B) is presented east to west, by provinces and sections, -- the Piedmont (including the Potomac terrane, the Culpeper basin, the Westminster terrane, and the Frederick Valley synclinorium), the Blue Ridge, and the Valley and Ridge (including the Great Valley). Geologic features are keyed to the NPS mile markers (MM) that are found along the towpath from Georgetown (MM 0) to Cumberland (MM 184.5).


This report is preliminary and has not been reviewed for conformity with U.S. Geological Survey editorial standards or with the North American Stratigraphic code. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Although all data and software released with this open file have been used by the USGS, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by the USGS as to the accuracy of the data and related materials and (or) the functioning of the software.

Contact Scott Southworth
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