The U.S. Geological Survey is conducting a geologic and geophysical study of the northeastern United States outer continental shelf and the adjacent slope from Georges Bank to Cape Hatteras. The study also includes the adjacent coastal plain because it is a more accessible extension of the shelf. The total study area is about 324,000 sq km, of which the shelf and slope constitute about 181,000 sq km and the coastal plain constitutes 143,000 sq km. The shelf width ranges from about 30 km at Cape Hatteras to about 195 km off Raritan Bay and on Georges Bank. Analyses of bottom samples make it possible to construct a preliminary geologic map of the shelf and slope to a water depth of 2,000 m. The oldest beds cropping out in the submarine canyons and on the slope are of early ate Cretaceous age. Beds of Early Cretaceous and Jurassic age are present in deep wells onshore and probably are present beneath the shelf in the area of this study. Such beds are reported beneath the Scotian shelf on the northeast where they include limestone, salt, and anhydrite. Preliminary conclusions suggest a considerably thicker Mesozoic sedimentary sequence than has been described previously. The region is large; the sedimentary wedge is thick; structures seem favorable; and the hydrocarbon potential may be considerable.
Additional Publication Details
Preliminary report on geology along Atlantic Continental Margin of northeastern United States