Hydrogeologic Framework of the Virginia Coastal Plain

U.S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper 1404-C

by Andrew A. Meng III, and John F. Harsh

This report is available as a pdf below


This report defines the hydrogeologic framework of the Virginia Coastal Plain and is a product of a comprehensive regional study to define the geology, hydrology, and geochemistry of the northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system extending from North Carolina to Long Island, New York.

The Virginia Coastal Plain consists of an eastward-thickening wedge of generally unconsolidated, interbedded sands and clays, ranging in age from Early Cretaceous to Holocene. These sediments range in thickness from more than 6,000 feet beneath the northeastern part of the Eastern Shore Peninsula to nearly 0 feet along the Fall Line. Eight confined aquifers, eight confining units, and an uppermost water table aquifer are delineated as the hydrogeologic framework of the Coastal Plain sediments in Virginia. The nine regional aquifers, from oldest to youngest, are lower, middle, and upper Potomac, Brightseat, Aquia, Chickahominy-Piney Point, St. Marys-Choptank, Yorktown-Eastover, and Columbia. The Brightseat is a newly identified and correlated aquifer of early Paleoceneage. This study is one of other, similar studies of the Coastal Plain areas in North Carolina, Maryland-Delaware, New Jersey, and Long Island, New York. These combined studies provide a system of hydrogeologic units that can be identified and correlated throughout the northern Atlantic Coastal Plain.

Data for this study were collected and analyzed from October 1979 to May 1983. The nine aquifers and eight confining units are identified and delineated by use of geophysical logs, drillers' information, and stratigraphic and paleontologic data. By correlating geophysical logs with hydrologic, stratigraphic, and paleontologic data throughout the Coastal Plain, a comprehensive multilayered framework of aquifers and confining units, each with distinct lithologic properties, was developed.

Cross sections show the stratigraphic relationships of aquifers and confining units in the hydrogeologic framework of the Virginia Coastal Plain. Maps show confining-unit thicknesses and altitudes of aquifer tops, provide the basis for assigning aquifers to screened intervals of observation and production wells, and are used for the development of a comprehensive observation-well network in the Virginia Coastal Plain.

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