The position of Long Island between the Hartford Basin of Connecticut and graben structures reported from seismic reflection studies offshore to the south of the island suggests the possibility that other grabens associated with the early Mesozoic rifting might be buried beneath central Long Island. The hypothesis that post-rift tectonic activity would be related to the rift grabens and that such activity would be expressed in the post-rift sedimentary deposits led to a study of the Cretaceous and Pleistocene section to seek clues for buried grabens on Long Island. The Pleistocene glacial deposits in central and eastern Long Island have been mapped and a pollen zonation in the Upper Cretaceous section in the central part established. This work, combined with literature research, suggests the following: 1. (1) In central Long Island, the spacing of wells which reach basement enables a NE- striking zone free of basement samples to be defined where a buried graben could occur. This zone is referred to as the "permissible zone" because within it the data permit the existence of a hidden graben. 2. (2) The abrupt changes in the thickness of some pollen zones in the Upper Cretaceous deposits of central Long Island may be related to Cretaceous faulting. 3. (3) Buried preglacial valleys, the confluence of glacial lobes and major glacial outwash channels seem concentrated in west central and central Long Island. The loci of these drainage features may reflect structural control by a basement depression. 4. (4) The "permissible zone" is aligned with the zone of structures in an offshore zone south of central Long Island and with the Hartford Basin in Connecticut. Geophysical anomalies also fit into this pattern. 5. (5) A definitive answer to the question of a buried graben on Long Island will require a seismic line across the "permissible zone", or further drilling. ?? 1989.
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Search for clues to Mesozoic graben on Long Island