We used sidescan-sonar imagery detailing almost 300 km2 of the sea floor in west-central Long Island Sound in conjunction with bathymetry, sediment samples, bottom video, and seismic data to interpret the area's surficial geology. The distribution of sediments and sedimentary environments interpreted from these data sets represents the Quaternary geology, regional bathymetry, and effects of modern tidal- and wave-driven currents. Four distinct sedimentary environments consisting of 1) fine-grained deposition, 2) sorting and reworking, 3) coarse-grained bedload transport, and 4) erosion or nondeposition, were identified and mapped. Relatively low-energy environments prevail where deposition of clayey silts occurs in deeper water throughout the central part of the study area, and in the protected areas of the far northeastern corner. As low-energy environments transition to relatively high-energy environments, sorting and reworking of sand, silty sand, and sand-silt-clay takes place on the flanks of the shoals and over smaller bathymetric highs. Environments of coarse-grained bedload transport, distinguished by sandy sediments with current-derived bedforms, are located on an unnamed shoal in the northwestern part of the study area and directly to the south of this on Stratford Shoal. High-energy conditions are reflected by environments of erosion or nondeposition, which occur on bathymetric highs where gravel and gravelly sediments are present.
Additional publication details
Surficial geology of the sea floor in west-central Long Island Sound as shown by sidescan-sonar imagery