Hydrologic framework of Long Island, New York

Hydrologic Atlas 709

, , and



Long Island, N.Y., is underlain by a mass of unconsolidated geologic deposits of clay, silt, sand, and gravel that overlie southward-sloping consolidated bedrock. These deposits are thinnest in northern Queens County (northwestern Long Island), where bedrock crops out, and increase to a maximum thickness of 2,000 ft in southeastern Long Island. This sequence of unconsolidated deposits consists of several distinct geologic units ranging in age from late Cretaceous through Pleistocene, with some recent deposits near shores and streams. These units are differentiated by age, depositional environment, and lithology in table 1.
Investigations of ground-water availability and flow patterns may require information on the internal geometry of the hydrologic system that geologic correlations and interpretation alone cannot provide; hydrologic interpretations in which deposits are differentiated on the basis of water-transmitting properties are generally needed also. This set of maps and vertical sections depicts the hydrogeologic framework of the unconsolidated deposits that form Long Island's ground-water system. These deposits can be classified into eight major hydrogeologic units (table 1). The hydrogeologic interpretations presented herein are not everywhere consistent with strict geologic interpretation owing to facies changes and local variations in the water-transmitting properties within geologic units.
These maps depict the upper-surface altitude of seven of the eight hydrogeologic units, which, in ascending order, are: consolidated bedrock, Lloyd aquifer, Raritan confining unit, Magothy aquifer, Monmouth greensand, Jameco aquifer, and Gardiners Clay. The upper glacial aquifer—the uppermost unit—is at land surface over most of Long Island and is, therefore, not included. The nine north-south hydrogeologic sections shown below depict the entire sequence of unconsolidated deposits and, together with the maps, provide a detailed three-dimensional interpretation of Long Island's hydrogeologic framework.
The structure-contour map that shows the upper-surface altitude of the Cretaceous deposits is included to illustrate the erosional unconformity between the Cretaceous and overlying Pleistocene deposits. Pleistocene erosion played a major role in determining the shape and extent of the Lloyd aquifer, the Raritan confining unit, and the Magothy aquifer, and thus partly determined their hydrogeologic relation with subsequent (post-Cretaceous) deposits.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrologic framework of Long Island, New York
Series title:
Hydrologic Atlas
Series number:
Year Published:
7 maps on 3 sheets :col. ;32 x 79 cm., sheets 117 x 89 cm., folded in envelope 30 x 24 cm.
Online Only (Y/N):
Additional Online Files (Y/N):