Long Island - Location and Physical Setting

Science Center Objects

Long Island, the eastern-most part of New York State, extends east-northeastward roughly parallel to the Connecticut coastline. It is bounded on the north by Long Island Sound, on the east and south by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the west by New York Bay and the East River. Long Island is joined to the mainland specifically, to the Borough of the Bronx, which is one of the five boroughs of New York City by two bridges and it is also joined to Manhattan Island and Staten Island by several bridges and tunnels.

Long Island, the eastern-most part of New York State, extends east-northeastward roughly parallel to the Connecticut coastline. It is bounded on the north by Long Island Sound, on the east and south by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the west by New York Bay and the East River. Long Island is joined to the mainland specifically, to the Borough of the Bronx, which is one of the five boroughs of New York City by two bridges and it is also joined to Manhattan Island and Staten Island by several bridges and tunnels.

Politically, Long Island is divided into four counties — Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties. Kings and Queens, the two westernmost counties, are also boroughs of New York City. Several smaller islands are included within the political boundaries of Long Island; the better known of these are Fire, Shelter, Gardiners, Plum, and Fishers Islands (figure 1).

map of Long Island, NY
Location map of Long Island and the generalized glacial moraines(Public domain.)

Figure 1: Location map of Long Island and the generalized glacial moraines.

The total length of Long Island is about 120 miles, and its maximum width is about 23 miles. The total area of Long Island (including the smaller islands within the political boundaries of the island, but excluding the bordering bays) is about 1,400 square miles. Kings County has an area of about 71 square miles; Queens County about 109 square miles; Nassau County about 291 square miles; and Suffolk County about 934 square miles.

Fire Island is the longest of several barrier beaches that parallel the south shore of Long Island. It's maximum width is about a quarter of a mile, and is separated from Long Island by Great South Bay, a shallow body of salty water that ranges up to 5 miles in width. The other barrier beaches along the south shore also are separated from the main island by salty bays, one of the best known of which is Jamaica Bay along the south shore of Kings and Queens Counties.

The northern and eastern coastlines of Long Island are indented by deep bays that form excellent harbors. Peconic Bay, which is about 30 miles long, divides the eastern end of the island into two long, narrow peninsulas that are locally referred to as the North and South Forks (Cohen and others, 1968).

 

_______________________________

Table of Contents

State of the Aquifer, Long Island, New York - Introduction

Location and Physical Setting

Freshwater

  1. Hydrolgeologic Units
  2. Fresh and Saltwater Relations/Interactions

State of the Aquifer System

  1. Precipitation
  2. NWIS - the USGS Data Archive 
  3. Surface Water - Streamflow
  4. Groundwater Levels
  5. Water Table and Surface Maps
  6. Water Use
  7. Groundwater Budget
  8. Inflow to the Groundwater System
  9. Outflow from the Groundwater System
  1. Case Studies

Interactive Content