Northeast Bedrock Mapping Project

Science Center Objects

The Northeast Bedrock Mapping Project consists of scientists conducting geologic mapping and scientific research of complexly deformed crystalline igneous and metamorphic rocks in the Northeastern United States. Current mapping activities are focused in New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and New York. The Project produces high-quality, multi-purpose digital geologic maps and accompanying databases and reports to solve diverse problems in high-priority areas. The research is part of a Federal component of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program called FEDMAP. FEDMAP geologic mapping advances nationwide geologic mapping and associated research as mandated by the National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-285). The FEDMAP program produces world-class digital geologic maps and 3D framework models based on state-of-the art observation and scientific interpretation directed by high priority national issues.

A research geologist prepares to get into a boat on Paradox Lake, located in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

Arthur Merschat conducts geologic mapping of exposed bedrock outcrops along the shore of Paradox Lake in Schroon, NY. (Credit: Gregory Walsh, USGS. Public domain.)

The goal of this project is to produce high quality 1:24,000-scale bedrock geologic maps that improve our understanding of crystalline bedrock in the Northeast United States. New mapping is focused in areas where limited detailed or modern mapping exists. The new maps contribute to framework studies to help characterize the distribution or mineral resources and address outstanding questions about the tectonic evolution of mountain belts and the behavior of groundwater and groundwater contaminants in fractured rock. The large scale geologic maps include detailed fracture information that can be used to characterize the recharge potential of bedrock lithologies and identify potential pathways for groundwater and contaminant flow. Geologic mapping activities are supported by modern geochemistry and geochronology in scientifically appropriate areas.

The project concentrates its mapping activities in selected areas such that they serve a five-fold purpose: 1) conduct modern mapping for mineral resource potential, 2) answer outstanding questions on the nature and timing of the tectonic evolution and framework of metamorphic and igneous rocks, 3) improve our understanding of the distribution, flow paths, and contaminant sources of groundwater in fractured bedrock, 4) maximize the production of geologic maps and associated computer databases, and 5) educate and train a new generation of bedrock mappers.