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Structural and stratigraphic framework and spatial distribution of permeability of the Atlantic coastal plain, North Carolina to New York

Professional Paper 796

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Abstract

This report describes and interprets the results of a detailed subsurface mapping program undertaken in that part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain which extends from the South Carolina and North Carolina border through Long Island, N.Y. Data obtained from more than 2,200 wells are analyzed. Seventeen chronostratigraphic units are mapped in the subsurface. They range in age from Jurassic(?) to post-Miocene. The purpose of the mapping program was to determine the external and internal geometry of mappable chronostratigraphic units and to derive and construct a permeability-distribution network for each unit based upon contrasts in the textures and compositions of its contained sediments. The report contains a structure map and a combined isopach, lithofacies, and permeability-distribution map for each of the chronostratigraphic units delineated in the subsurface. In addition, it contains a map of the top of the basement surface. These maps, together with 36 stratigraphic cross sections, present a three-dimensional view of the regional subsurface hydrogeology. They provide focal points of reference for a discussion of regional tectonics, structure, stratigraphy, and permeability distribution. Taken together and in chronologic sequence, the maps constitute a detailed sedimentary model, the first such model to be constructed for the middle Atlantic Coastal Plain. The chronostratigraphic units mapped record a structural history dominated by lateral and vertical movement along a system of intersecting hinge zones. Taphrogeny, related to transcurrent faulting, is the dominant type of deformation that controlled the geometry of the sedimentary model. Twelve of the seventeen chronostratigraphic units mapped have depositional alinements and thickening trends that are independent of the present-day configuration of the underlying basement surface. These 12 units, classified as genetically unrooted units, are assigned to a first-order tectonic stage. A structural model is proposed whose alinements of positive and negative structural features are accordant with the depositional geometry of the chronostratigraphic units assigned to this tectonic stage. The dominant features of the structural model are northeast-plunging half grabens arranged en echelon and bordered by northeast-plunging fault-block anticlines. Tension-type hinge zones that strike north lie athwart the half grabens. Five of the seventeen chronostratigraphic units mapped have depositional alinements and thickening trends that are accordant with the present-day configuration of the underlying basement surface. These five units, classified as genetically rooted units, are assigned to a second-order tectonic stage. A structural model is proposed whose alinements of positive and negative features are accordant with the depositional geometry of the chronostratigraphic units assigned to this tectonic stage. The dominant feature of this model is a graben that stands tangential to southeast-plunging asymmetrical anticlines. Tension-type hinge zones that strike northeast lie athwart the graben. To account for the semiperiodic realinement of structural features that has characterized the history of the region and as a working hypothesis, we propose that the dominant tectonic element, which is present in the area between north Florida and Long Island, N.Y., is a unit-structural block, a ?basement? block, bounded by wrench-fault zones. We propose that forces derived principally from the rotation and precession of the earth act on the unit-structural block and deform it. Two tectonic models are proposed. One model is compatible with the structural and sedimentary geometries that are associated with chronostratigraphic units assigned to a first-order tectonic stage. It features tension-type hinge zones that strike north and shear-type hinge zones that strike northeast. The other model is compatible with the structural and sedimentary geometries associated with chronostratigraphi

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Structural and stratigraphic framework and spatial distribution of permeability of the Atlantic coastal plain, North Carolina to New York
Series title:
Professional Paper
Series number:
796
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1972
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Govt. Print. Off.,
Description:
79 p.