Meherrin is located in the Piedmont region of Virginia. The Piedmont region is at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountain range, which is part of the Appalachian Mountain system. The Piedmont features rolling hills and deeply weathered bedrock.
Geology of the Piedmont Region
• Most of the igneous and metamorphic rocks in the province range in age from Proterozoic to Paleozoic. They form the internal core of the Appalachian Mountain belt.
• Triassic sedimentary rocks, diabase dikes, and basalt flows are present in several grabens and half-grabens that formed during rifting associated with the opening of the Atlantic Ocean.
• Rivers and streams carrying sand, silt, and mud flowed into these lowland rift basins, burying swamps and marshes and later producing small coal measures.
• Site “MA” consists of Lloyd Clay Loam and not prime farmland.
• Site “MB” consists of Iredell Loam and farmland of state-wide importance.
• Site “MC” is a bit southwest of our site in Keysville, VA. It is much like site “MA.”
Area Soil Description
• Northeast of Meherrin, the soil consists of a yellow to brown decomposed granite with streaks and patches of red.
• The soil in the county is generally fertile, but the ridges are thin and poor. The lower eastern part of the county is a light gray or sandy soil.
• There is a strip of land, running almost through the center of the county, that is about 10 miles wide and has stiff red soil.
• Stream clay is known to occur one mile southwest of Meherrin. Between Meherrin and Keysville (also Southwest), the town of Simplicity has pre-Cambrian volcanics that yield a residual clay 3 to 4 feet in depth.
Aim and Objective
• Consisting of Ultisols of the Georgeville series, Meherrin’s soil has a high amount of clay (27%) in comparison with the rest of the Georgeville series.
• A geochemical analysis was conducted to understand the differences of the soil characteristics in Meherrin, with respect to the nearby soils of the Piedmont region.
• Several nearby sites have been assessed for comparison.
• Samples were size partitioned by wet sieving.
• The sample fractions, less than 63 microns and greater than 63 microns, were analyzed by an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrophotometer to understand elemental composition, soil color, and properties.
• After thoroughly washing and drying the greater than 63-micron fractions, magnetic particles were manually separated using a strong hand magnet, and the composition was studied using XRF.
• Separated magnetic particles were analyzed with an Olympus® TERRA® X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyzer.
• A scanning electron microscope (SEM) was used for micromorphological and elemental analysis.
For more information, visit: https://www.olympus-ims.com/en/innovx-xrf-xrd/