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Open-File Report 2009-1151

Continuous Resistivity Profiling and Seismic-Reflection Data Collected in 2006 from the Potomac River Estuary, Virginia and Maryland

By V.A. Cross, D.S. Foster, and J.F. Bratton

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In 2006 the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a geophysical survey on the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River Estuary in order to test hypotheses about groundwater flow under and into Chesapeake Bay. Resource managers are concerned about nutrients that are entering the estuary via submarine groundwater discharge and are contributing to eutrophication. The research carried out as part of this study was designed to help refine nutrient budgets for Chesapeake Bay by characterizing submarine groundwater flow and groundwater discharge beneath part of the bay’s mainstem and a major tributary, the Potomac River Estuary. The data collected indicate that plumes of reduced-salinity groundwater are commonly present along the shorelines of Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River Estuary. Data also show that buried paleochannels generally do not serve as conduits for flow of groundwater from land to underneath the bay and estuary but rather may focus discharge of reduced-salinity water along their flanks, and provide routes for migration of saltwater into the sediments.

Posted September 2010

For additional information contact:
U.S. Geological Survey
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
384 Woods Hole Road
Quissett Campus
Woods Hole, MA 02543


Suggested citation:

Cross, V.A., Foster, D.S., and Bratton, J.F., 2010, Continuous resistivity profiling and seismic-reflection data collected in 2006 from the Potomac River Estuary, Virginia and Maryland: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1151. (Also available at





Continuous Resistivity Profiling(CRP)

Summary of CRP survey details

Seismic-Reflection Profiles

Summary of seismic survey details

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Continuous Resistivity Profile Previews

Seismic-Reflection Profile Previews


Data Catalog


References Cited


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