West Virginia

Spruce Knob
       7 ½’ quadrangle: Spruce Knob, WV
       Pendleton County
       Monongahela National Forest
       Allegheny Mountains

4,863 ft (1,482 m)

Spruce Knob from the south.

View northwest from the summit. Note how tree branches indicate predominant wind direction.

Bedrock: Pottsville Sandstone


White orthoquartzite sandstone and conglomerate at the summit, preserved as an erosional remnant, in the center of the Stony River syncline, surrounded by red beds of the Mississippian Mauch Chunk Formation. The road to Spruce Knob takes you through rocks of the Catskill delta, clastics eroded from mountains produced by the Acadian Orogeny, in contrast to the Taconian sequence exposed along Route 33 east of Judy Gap. Toward the bottom of the road on the east side, rock layers dip steeply and are disrupted - - the last indication of Valley and Ridge Province structures. Quite abruptly the layering flattens out, so that farther up the road you have crossed the "Allegheny front". From there to the summit, dips are moderate to gentle, typical of the Allegheny Province.

Soil Series: Gauley channery loam: moderately deep, well drained, stony, black to dark brown channery loam over reddish-brown subsoil; sandstone at a depth of 30 inches or less. Formed in acidic material weathered from sandstone. ("Channery" is the soil scientist’s term for soils rich in flat rock fragments or "channers".) Red soil along the Spruce Knob road before reaching the summit is residuum from the Mauch Chunk.

Selected References:

  • Cardwell, D.H., R.C. Erwin and H.P. Woodward, 1968, Geologic Map of West Virginia: West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, scale 1:250,000.
  • Darton, N.H., 1896, Franklin Folio, West Virginia-Virginia: USGS Geologic Atlas of the United States, Folio 32, 1:125,000.
  • Diecchio, Richard J., 1986, Taconian clastic sequence and general geology in the vicinity of the Allegheny Front in Pendleton County, West Virginia, in Neathery, Thornton L, Editor: Geological Society of America Centennial Field Guide, Volume 6, Southeast Section, p.85-90.
  • Estepp, Ron, 1992, Soil Survey of Pendleton County, West Virginia: U.S. Soil Conservation Service.

Other suggested sources of information:

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