Geology of the Kent Window area, Wythe County, Virginia

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute


The Kent Window is located along U.S. Highway 11 between Wytheville, Fort Chiswell, and Max Meadows. It is surrounded by the Elbrook formation to the northwest and the Rome formation to the southeast and southwest, which make up part of the Pulaski thrust block. The rocks exposed within the window are the Conococheague formation, limestones and dolomites of Beekmantown age, the Mosheim limestone, the Lenoir and Fetzer limestones and the Liberty Hall black shaly limestone.

The window is bounded by a prominent zone of tectonic breccia and brecciated limestones and dolomites nearly a mile wide on the northwest side but only a few hundred feet wide on the southeast side.

The rocks within the window have been folded into a recumbent overturned anticline whose roots lie to the southeast. In the southwest corner of the window, a small asymmetric anticline is thrust northward obliquely over the nose of the recumbent anticline.

The evolution of this structure involves a single episode of compression. The Cambro-Ordovician rocks were folded into a recumbent overturned anticline. Subsequently, the top part of the anticline and the overlying rocks were thrust to the northwest. The final stages of compression resulted in the warping of the Pulaski fault surface.