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Fact Sheet 2009-3009

Prepared in cooperation with the Maryland Geological Survey (MGS) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE)

Sustainability of Water Resources in the Fractured-Rock Area of Maryland

By David W. Bolton (MGS), James M. Gerhart (USGS), and Saeid Kasraei (MDE)

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.28 MB)


The fractured-rock area of Maryland encompasses the region of the State west of the Fall Line, which is approximated by the Interstate 95 corridor. It includes the Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, and Appalachian Plateau Physiographic Provinces (fig. 1). Surface water and ground water are important and interconnected water sources in this area. Streamflow characteristics vary in response to different land use, geology, topography, soil, and other factors. Ground-water flow is quite localized, tending to be controlled by local watersheds. Water in this region moves down through the soil and decomposed rock (saprolite) and along joints, faults, and fractures in the underlying rock (fig. 2). Water availability depends upon the size of fractures as well as the interconnections between fractures.

For additional information contact:
U.S. Geological Survey
Director, MD-DE-DC Water Science Center
5522 Research Park Drive
Baltimore, MD 21228

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Bolton, D.W., Gerhart, J.M., and Kasraei, Saeid, 2009, Sustainability of water resources in the fractured-rock area of Maryland: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009–3009, 2 p.

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