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Rappahannock Landing Archaeological Survey ... - Fauquier County

Rappahannock Landing Archaeological Survey ... - Fauquier County

ENVIRONMENTAL SETTING

ENVIRONMENTAL SETTING The project area is located in Fauquier County, approximately 13.4 miles (21.57 km) southeast of Warrenton (Figure 1). It is situated in the Piedmont geologic region of Virginia. Fauquier County is a region that has historically been rural but is experiencing growth due to it’s proximity to Washington D.C. However, Fauquier County has been more successful at managing this growth than many of the adjacent counties. Nonetheless, there has been a dramatic increase in residential and commercial development over the last decade or two. The project area is situated within an area that was once a private farm (Figure 2, p. 5). As such, the general project setting is decidedly rural. Geology The project area is in the southwestern portion of the county and according to Commonwealth of Virginia geologic studies, it is within the Piedmont geologic region of Virginia. The Rappahannock River flows in a northwest/southeast direction to the south west of the project area. The area is situated within the Triassic lowland physiographic region. The general topography of the larger area ranges from gently rolling uplands to hilly and undulating along the streams. The area is underlain by bedrock of red shale and sandstone with inclusions of dibase sills and dikes (Fisher 1982). Fauquier County, Virginia Figure 1: Map of Virginia and Fauquier County. 3

Soils Five soil types are mapped within the project area: Starr silt loam on 2 to 7 percent slope, Croton fine sandy loam found on 0 to 5 percent slopes, Penn silt loam, rolling phase found on 7 to 14 percent slope in the central portion of the field, Penn silt loam eroded rolling phase, also found on 7 to 14 percent slope, and Penn silt loam, eroded hilly phase, found on 14 to 25 percent slope (Petro 1956). Starr silt loam is a deep, well drained soil of the recent colluvial lands. These soils are found at the base of slopes, in depressions, and in draws along small drainages. Because these soils are so young distinct profile layers have yet to be developed. Starr soils generally have an A-horizon that is a brown-dark brown granular silt loam that extends approximately 22.8 cm (9 inches) below ground surface (BGS). This is underlain by Bhorizon soils that are compose of a reddish-brown friable silty clay loam (Petro 1956). Croton loam, 0 to 5 percent slopes, is a poorly drained light colored soil that is a member of the group of upland soils overlying Triassic red shale and sandstone (Petro 1956:60). These soil areas are generally irregularly shaped throughout the county. Croton soils typically have an A-horizon that consists of a light yellowish-brown very friable silt loam that extends 58.42 cm (23 inches) BGS. This is underlain by a series of B-horizons extending to approximately 78.74 cm (31 inches) BGS. At 31 inches or more a highly mottled light olive gray, yellowish-brown, and yellowish-red plastic clay or silty clay containing abundant fragments of weathered shale grades into more solid bedrock of shale (Petro 1956:60). Penn silt loam rolling phase, 7 to 14 percent slope, is a well drained soil that occurs on slopes or breaks near drainageways. These soils are suitable for crops, however they are susceptible to excessive runoff and erosion and have a poor water-supplying capacity (Petro 1956). Penn silt loams typically have an A-horizon that consists of a reddishbrown very friable silt loam that extends 15.24 cm (6 inches) BGS. This is underlain by a B-horizon extending to approximately 38.1 cm (15 inches) BGS. At 15 inches or more, a reddish brown soft weathered Triassic shale grades into a more solid bedrock of shale (Petro 1956:105). Penn silt loam eroded rolling phase, 7 to 14 percent slopes, highly eroded, are well drained soil that occurs on slopes along streams and drainageways. In most places, Penn silt loam eroded rolling phase soils have a thin soil mantle over consolidated shale or bedrock (Petro 1956:107). Penn silt loam eroded hilly phase, 14 to 25 percent slopes, highly eroded, are well drained soil that occurs on strong slopes where larger drainageways have deeply dissected the original Triassic plain (Petro 1956:107). Sheet erosion has removed most of the original A-horizon and some of the subsurface layer with the consolidated bedrock no more than 25.4 cm (10 inches) BGS (Petro 1956:107). 4

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