BOEM and Delaware Sign Agreement to Identify Sand Resources for Coastal Resilience and Restoration Planning
This vector data set contains the rock unit polygons for the surficial geology in the Delaware Coastal Plain covered by DGS Geologic Map No. 16 (Fairmount and Rehoboth Beach quadrangles). The geologic history of the surficial units of the Fairmount and Rehoboth Beach quadrangles is that of deposition of the Beaverdam Formation and its subsequent modification by erosion and deposition related to sea-level fluctuations during the Pleistocene. The geology reflects this complex history both onshore, in Rehoboth Bay, and offshore. Erosion during the late Pleistocene sea-level low stand and ongoing deposition offshore and in Rehoboth Bay during the Holocene rise in sea level represent the last of several cycles of erosion and deposition.
To facilitate the GIS community of Delaware and to release the geologic map of the Fairmount and Rehoboth Beach quadrangles with all cartographic elements (including geologic symbology, text, etc.) in a form usable in a GIS, we have released this digital coverage of DGS Geological Map 16. The update of earlier work and mapping of new units is important not only to geologists, but also to hydrologists who wish to understand the distribution of water resources, to engineers who need bedrock information during construction of roads and buildings, to government officials and agencies who are planning for residential and commercial growth, and to citizens who are curious about the bedrock under their homes. Formal names are assigned to all rock units according to the guidelines of the 1983 North American Stratigraphic Code (NACSN, 1983).
The geologic history of the surficial units of the Fairmount and Rehoboth Beach quadrangles is that of deposition of the Beaverdam Formation and its subsequent modification by erosion and deposition related to sea-level fluctuations during the Pleistocene. The geology reflects this complex history both onshore, in Rehoboth Bay, and offshore. Erosion during the late Pleistocene sea-level low stand and ongoing deposition offshore and in Rehoboth Bay during the Holocene rise in sea level represent the last of several cycles of erosion and deposition.
This report was prepared to provide a concise description of offshore operations related to exploration for petroleum (oil and natural gas} from the initial geologic and geophysical investigations to production. Petroleum deposits differ in their physical and chemical properties and are associated in the rocks with saline water. The origin of petroleum and its migration through rocks are not well understood. Commercial accumulations are found in certain suitable rocks or geologic structures - stratigraphic and structural traps, respectively. Prospective areas offshore are leased to exploration companies by the federal government. Exploration begins with geological and geophysical investigations that lead to the selection of smaller, promising areas. Detailed studies and drilling are then carried out and, if petroleum is found, various tests are performed to determine the volume of oil or gas or both. If the quantities are large, production facilities are designed and located on the site. The petroleum produced is transported to refining facilities or gas companies onshore by pipelines or tankers. Experience has shown that large, damaging oil spills are very rare. The most common cause of spills is marine transportation. To find new, large petroleum accumulations exploration will have to be expanded into deeper waters and into less hospitable regions.
Radiocarbon dates from 231 geologic samples from the offshore, coastal, and upland regions of Delaware have been compiled along with their corresponding locations and other supporting data. These data now form the Delaware Geological Survey Radiocarbon Database. The dates range from a few hundred years to approximately 40,000 yrs (40 ka) BP (before present). All dates younger than about 18,000 yrs have been calibrated using the method of Stuiver and Reimer (1993). A plot of the dates versus the elevations of the samples shows four distinct groupings: those associated with the rise of sea level during the Holocene, those from the uplands, those in modem stream valleys, and those older than the detectable range of present radiocarbon techniques. A fifth group of samples in the 20-38 ka range and from below present sea level are ambiguous and were previously used as evidence for a mid-Wisconsinan high sea stand (Milliman and Emery, 1968).
Since 1992, the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) has compiled a geologic database known as the Delaware Offshore Geologic Inventory (DOGI) that consists of sediment samples, radiocarbon and amino acid racemization dates, seismic profiles, and vibracores taken from the near-shore and inner continental shelf in state and federal waters. Most of the 366 vibracores are stored at the DGS on-site core and sample repository.
Since 1992, the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) has compiled a geologic database known as the Delaware Offshore Geologic Inventory (DOGI) that consists of sediment samples, radiocarbon and amino acid racemization dates, seismic profiles, and vibracores taken from the nearshore and inner continental shelf in state and federal waters. Most of the 366 vibracores are stored at the DGS on-site core and sample repository.
Lithologic logs from 268 vibracores taken from the Delaware Atlantic offshore were evaluated for sediment type and compatibility with historical beach sediment textures. A model of sand resource evaluation, known as "stack-unit mapping" (Kempton, 1981) was applied to all of the cores, and each core was labeled by its lithology in vertical sequence. The results are shown in detailed maps of the beach-quality sand resources offshore in state and federal waters. Results show significant quantities (approximately 54 million cubic yards) of excellent beach-quality sand sources within the three-mile state limit offshore Indian River Inlet, and within the Inner Platform and Detached Shoal Field geomorphic regions. In federal waters, sand is found on Fenwick Shoal Field and farther offshore Indian River Inlet on the Outer Platform (approximately 43.6 million cubic yards combined). Most of the beach-quality sand resources are believed to be reworked tidal delta deposits of a former Indian River Inlet during periods of lower sea level. Farther south, the resources are accumulations of recent surficial sands of the inner shelf (Detached Shoal Field and Fenwick Shoal Field) showing that the geomorphic region does influence sediment quality. This study found that paleochannels and bathymetry had no relationship to grain size. Multiple cut and fill episodes contributed to the diversity in grain sizes.
It is now possible to evaluate some of the earlier assessments and offer tentative conclusions about the hydrocarbon resource potential of the Baltimore Canyon trough, a major northeast-southwest trending sedimentary basin off the Mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. For this purpose the Delaware Geological Survey has examined more than 2,500 miles (4,022 km) of seismic reflection profiles, the results of some offshore magnetic and gravity surveys, the results of the COST B-2 well, and the nonproprietary results through 1978 of exploratory drilling by the petroleum industry on federal leases.
The core of much DGS work culminates in the release of data and findings in official DGS publications, including Open File Reports, Reports of Investigations, Geologic Maps, Hydrologic Maps, and Bulletins.