Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) has installed many test borings as part of an effort to delineate the extent of ground-water contamination at the site. In 1994, the U.S. Geological Survey began a study in cooperation with BNL to define the stratigraphy in the 28-square-mile area encompassing BNL, and to monitor ground-water levels in the 300 squaremile area of central Suffolk County that surrounds BNL. The uppermost geologic units at BNL are of Pleistocene age. These sediments are underlain unconformably by the Matawan Group-Magothy Formation, undifferentiated (referred to as the Magothy Formation), of Cretaceous age, which typically consists of light- to dark-gray, variably sorted sand interbedded with light- to dark-gray clay layers; it also contains beds of grayish-brown to brownish-gray sand. Bed thicknesses differ substantially within each boring and tend to be laterally discontinuous as a result of their terrestrial deltaic depositional environment, although a prominent clay unit, referred to as the ?grayish-brown clay? in this report, was encountered at many borings. Pollen-sample analyses confirm that this unit is of Cretaceous age and is the uppermost unit of Cretaceous sediments in several parts of the study area. The upper surface of the Cretaceous deposits is irregular within the 28-square-mile study area and has relief of about 120 feet. Several prominent channels and ridges in the surface are aligned generally northwest-southeast. The Cretaceous surface beneath BNL is characterized more by local erosional features than by the regional cuesta shape that was suggested by previous authors. The overlying Pleistocene-aged units include (1) a sand layer overlain by the Gardiners Clay, (2) the Gardiners Clay, and (3) upper Pleistocene deposits, which include the Upton unit, glacial outwash, glaciolacustrine deposits, and terminal moraine deposits. The sand unit below the Gardiners Clay was the first Pleistocene unit to be deposited atop the irregular surface of the Cretaceous deposits in this area. The Gardiners Clay was deposited during a major rise in sea level as the sea encroached into parts of the present-day BNL study area. The shallow part of the upper Pleistocene deposits generally consists of light-brown sand and gravel but overlies green to grayish-green, variably sorted sand, silt, and clay at altitudes of 50 to 70 feet below sea level in some parts of the study area. This lower part of the upper Pleistocene deposits in the study area was referred to by previous investigators as the unidentified unit and has been designated as the Upton unit in this report. The discharge of ground water to the Peconic and Carmans Rivers locally affects the water-table configuration. The main ground-water divide on Long Island is about 0.5 miles north of the site; a secondary divide originates near the start of flow of the Peconic River and extends east-southeastward toward the South Fork. The water-table configuration on the BNL site is affected by pumping from supply wells and remediation wells, by infiltration of the water through recharge basins, by discharge from the sewage-treatment plant, and by local near-surface clay units. The horizontal hydraulic gradient at BNL typically is 0.001 foot per foot but can steepen near recharge basins and pumping wells. Vertical flow gradients within the upper Pleistocene deposits (upper glacial aquifer) were as large as 0.007 foot per foot (downward) in the northern part of BNL and were negligible in the southern part. Downward vertical gradients between the lower part of the upper glacial aquifer and the upper part of the Magothy Formation (Magothy aquifer) were about 0.018 foot per foot throughout the site.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Stratigraphy and hydrologic conditions at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and vicinity, Suffolk County, New York, 1994-97
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ;
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