Geology and potential hazards of the continental slope between Lindenkohl and South Toms Canyons, offshore mid-Atlantic United States

Open-File Report 81-600
By: , and 



Because sediment instability, or slumping, has been identified as a potential hazard to petroleum development of the east-coast Continental Slope, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, began a detailed study of a segment of the Continental Slope between Lindenkohl and South Toms Canyons off New Jersey. This 40-km x 35-km area was chosen for study because it lies within the area of high interest for petroleum development (Lease sales 49 and 59), and because it includes several wells which provide stratigraphic control. This report discusses the results of geologic mapping, using seismic-reflection data acquired in 1978 and 1979. Some initial results from more recently acquired data are included.

The Continental Slope in the study area has a complex surface with ridges, canyons, and valleys. Three slump or slide features were observed in the heads and on the walls of canyons and valleys, and two slides were identified on an intercanyon area. The identified slumps or slides are found in Quaternary sediments and total about 1.3 percent of the Continental Slope area mapped.

The slope is generally mantled by less than 2 m of Holocene sediments. Pleistocene sediment (primarily silty clay) is about 450 m thick at the top of the slope and thins to nearly zero or is absent on much of the mid and lower slope, where sediments of Miocene to Eocene age are exposed. Ridges on the midslope (water depths of 800-1,500 m) and parts of the lowr slope (1,500-2,150 m) result primarily from Pleistocene and older deposition. The intervening valleys show evidence of erosion along the deepest parts of their courses. Mid-range sidescan-sonar data show evidence that processes of bottom-current erosion and downcanyon transport of material may be active in the present day. However, major features of the sea floor appear to be unchanged since late-Pleistocene time.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Geology and potential hazards of the continental slope between Lindenkohl and South Toms Canyons, offshore mid-Atlantic United States
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 81-600
DOI 10.3133/ofr81600
Year Published 1981
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Woods Hole, MA
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description Report: iii, 33 p.; 3 Plates: 29.91 x 36.87 inches or smaller
Country United States
Other Geospatial Lindenkohl and South Toms Canyons
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details