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Open-File Report 2014–1076


Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Onondaga Lake Partnership

The Hydrogeology of the Tully Valley, Onondaga County, New York—An Overview of Research, 1992–2012

By William M. Kappel

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (10.4 MB)Introduction

Onondaga Creek begins approximately 15 miles south of Syracuse, New York, and flows north through the Onondaga Indian Nation, then through Syracuse, and finally into Onondaga Lake in central New York. Tully Valley is in the upper part of the Onondaga Creek watershed between U.S. Route 20 and the Valley Heads end moraine near Tully, N.Y. Tully Valley has a history of several unusual hydrogeologic phenomena that affected past land use and the water quality of Onondaga Creek; the phenomena are still present and continue to affect the area today (2014). These phenomena include mud volcanoes or mudboils, landslides, and land-surface subsidence; all are considered to be naturally occurring but may also have been influenced by human activity. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Onondaga Lake Partnership, began a study of the Tully Valley mudboils beginning in October 1991 in hopes of understanding (1) what drives mudboil activity in order to remediate mudboil influence on the water quality of Onondaga Creek, and (2) land-surface subsidence issues that have caused a road bridge to collapse, a major pipeline to be rerouted, and threatened nearby homes. Two years into this study, the 1993 Tully Valley landslide occurred just over 1 mile northwest of the mudboils. This earth slump-mud flow was the largest landslide in New York in more than 70 years (Fickies, 1993); this event provided additional insight into the geology and hydrology of the valley. As the study of the Tully Valley mudboils progressed, other unusual hydrogeologic phenomena were found within the Tully Valley and provided the opportunity to perform short-term, small-scale studies, some of which became graduate student theses—Burgmeier (1998), Curran (1999), Morales-Muniz (2000), Baldauf (2003), Epp (2005), Hackett, (2007), Tamulonis (2010), and Sinclair (2013). The unusual geology and hydrology of the Tully Valley, having been investigated for more than two decades, provides the basis for this report.

First posted June 16, 2014

  • Appendix 1 - Video 1 and 2

    Video 1

    Rogue area subsidence - June through December 2011. Pictures taken at noon each day and played at 7 frames per second. Area of subsidence viewed from north side of Rogue area looking southwest
    mov (20.1 MB)
    wmv (21.8 MB)

    Video 2
    Rogue area subsidence - March through September 2013. Pictures taken at noon each day and played at 7 frames per second. Area of subsidence viewed from north side of Rogue area looking south
    mov (16.4 MB)
    wmv (17.3 MB)

  • Appendix 2 and 3 html
    Appendix 2: Map showing locations of streamgages, depressurizing wells, and monitoring wells in and near the Onondaga Creek mudboil corridor. Clicking on a site number will give you access to water-quality data for stream sites and depressurizing wells, and water-level data for monitoring wells.

    Appendix 3: Stratigraphic well logs in and near the Onondaga Creek mudboil corridor

For additional information, contact:
Director, New York Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
425 Jordan Road
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 285-5600
http://ny.water.usgs.gov

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Suggested citation:

Kappel, W.M., 2014, The hydrogeology of the Tully Valley, Onondaga County, New York—An overview of research, 1992–2012: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1076, 28 p., plus 3 appendixes https://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20141076.

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)

 


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