Hydrogeologic framework of the New Jersey coastal plain

Open-File Report 84-730



Results are presented of a water-resources-oriented subsurface mapping program within the Coastal Plain of New Jersey. The occurrence and configuration of 15 regional hydrogeologic units are defined based primarily on the interpretation of borehole geophysical data. The nine aquifers and six confining beds are composed of unconsolidated clay, silt, sand, and gravel and range in age from Cretaceous to Quaternary.

Electric and gamma-ray logs from more than 1,000 Coastal Plain wells were examined. Of these, interpretive data for 302 sites, selected for log depth, quality, and distribution, were used to prepare structure contour and thickness maps for each aquifer, and a thickness map for each confining bed. These maps, along with 14 hydrogeologic sections, show the geometry, lateral extent, and vertical and horizontal relationships among the 15 hydrogeologic units.

The hydrogeologic maps and sections show that distinct lower, middle, and upper aquifers are present within the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer system near the Delaware River from Burlington County to Salem County. Although the lower aquifer is recognized only in this area, the middle aquifer extends into the northeastern Coastal Plain of New Jersey where it is stratigraphically equivalent to the Farrington aquifer. The upper aquifer extends throughout most of the New Jersey Coastal Plain and is stratigraphically equivalent to the Old Bridge aquifer in the northeastern Coastal Plain. The overlying Merchantville-Woodbury confining bed is the most regionally extensive confining bed within the Coastal Plain of New Jersey. Its thickness ranges from less than 100 feet near the outcrop to more than 450 feet along the coast. The Englishtown aquifer system acts as a single aquifer throughout most of its subsurface extent, but contains two water-bearing sands in parts of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. The overlying Marshalltown-Wenonah confining bed is a thin, leaky unit ranging in thickness from approximately 20 to 80 feet. The Wenonah-Mount Laurel aquifer is identified in the subsurface throughout the New Jersey Coastal Plain southeast of its outcrop area.

Sediments that overlie the Wenonah-Mount Laurel aquifer and that are subjacent to the major aquifers within the Kirkwood Formation and Cohansey Sand are described hydrologically as a composite confining bed. These include the Navesink Formation, Red Bank Sand, Tinton Sand, Hornerstown Sand, Vincentown Forma-tion, Manasquan Formation, Shark River Formation, Piney Point Formation, and the basal clay of the Kirkwood Formation. The Vincentown Formation functions as an aquifer within 3 to 10 miles downdip of its outcrop area. In areas farther downdip the Vincentown Formation functions as a confining bed. The Piney Point aquifer is laterally persistent from the southern New Jersey Coastal Plain northward into parts of Burlington and Ocean Counties. The Atlantic City 800-foot sand of the Kirkwood Formation can be recognized in the subsurface along coastal areas of Cape May, Atlantic, and southern Ocean Counties, but inland only as far west as the extent of the overlying confining bed. In areas west of the extent of the overlying confining bed, the Kirkwood Formation is in hydraulic connection with the overlying Cohansey Sand and younger surficial deposits and functions as an unconfined aquifer. (USGS)

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Hydrogeologic framework of the New Jersey coastal plain
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 84-730
DOI 10.3133/ofr84730
Year Published 1984
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Description Report: vi, 61 p.; 24 Plates: 41.22 x 31.58 inches or smaller
Country United States
State New Jersey
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