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Maryland Water Science Center

Lithologic and Ground-Water-Quality Data Collected Using Hoverprobe Drilling Techniques at the West Branch Canal Creek Wetland, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, April-May 2000

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-446

By Daniel J. Phelan, Michael P. Senus, and Lisa D. Olsen

This report is available as a pdf.


This report presents lithologic and ground-water- quality data collected during April and May 2000 in the remote areas of the tidal wetland of West Branch Canal Creek, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Contamination of the Canal Creek aquifer with volatile organic compounds has been documented in previous investigations of the area. This study was conducted to investigate areas that were previously inaccessible because of deep mud and shallow water, and to support ongoing investigations of the fate and transport of volatile organic compounds in the Canal Creek aquifer. A unique vibracore drill rig mounted on a hovercraft was used for drilling and ground-water sampling. Continuous cores of the wetland sediment and of the Canal Creek aquifer were collected at five sites. Attempts to sample ground water were made by use of a continuous profiler at 12 sites, without well installation, at a total of 81 depths within the aquifer. Of those 81 attempts, only 34 sampling depths produced enough water to collect samples.

Ground-water samples from two sites had the highest concentrations of volatile organic compounds—with total volatile organic compound concentrations in the upper part of the aquifer ranging from about 15,000 to 50,000 micrograms per liter. Ground-water samples from five sites had much lower total volatile organic compound concentrations (95 to 2,100 micrograms per liter), whereas two sites were essentially not contaminated, with total volatile organic compound concentrations less than or equal to 5 micrograms per liter.

Table of Contents



Purpose and scope

Site history

Description of study area

Hydrogeologic setting

Previous investigations


Methods of investigation

Clearing sites of unexploded or5

Description of the hoverprobe and drilling techniques

Sample-numbering convention

Sediment coring

Coring of the wetland sedi6

Coring of the Canal Creek aquifer sediments

Water-quality analyses

Ground-water-quality profiling

Lithologic data

Ground-water-quality data

Evaluation of quality-assurance data

Quality assurance of major ion data

Quality assurance of methane data

Quality assurance of volatile organic compound data

Inorganic water-quality data

Redox parameters

Organic water-quality data


References cited


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