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Delineation of fractures, foliation, and groundwater of the bedrock at a geothermal feasibility site on Roosevelt Island, New York County, New York

April 11, 2015

Advanced borehole-geophysical methods were used to investigate the hydrogeology of the crystalline bedrock in three boreholes on Roosevelt Island, New York County, New York. Cornell University was evaluating the feasibility of using geothermal energy for a future campus at the site. The borehole-logging techniques were used to delineate bedrock fractures, foliation, and groundwater-flow zones of the Fordham Gneiss in test boreholes at the site. Three fracture populations dominated by small (0.04 in or less) fractures were delineated in the three boreholes. A sub-horizontal population with low to moderate dipping fractures, a northeast dipping population with moderate to high angle fractures, and a small northwest dipping high angle fracture population. One large southwest dipping transmissive fracture underlies the entire study area with a mean dip azimuth of 235º southwest and a dip angle of 31º (N325ºW 31ºSW). The mean foliation dip azimuth was 296º northwest with a mean dip angle of 73º (N26ºE 73ºNW). Groundwater appears to flow through a network of fractures dominated by a large fracture underlying the site that is affected by tidal variations from the nearby East River. The total number of fractures penetrated by each borehole was 95, 63, and 68, with fracture indices of 0.26, 0.20, and 0.20 in GT-1 (NY292), GT-2 (NY293), and GT-3 (NY294), respectively. Aquifer test data indicate the specific capacity of boreholes GT-1 (NY292), GT-2 (NY293), and GT-3 (NY294) was 1.9, 1.5, and 3.7 gal/min/ft, respectively. The large contribution of flow from the leaking casing in borehole GT-3 (NY294) caused the doubling in specific capacity compared to boreholes GT-1 (NY292) and GT-2 (NY293). The transmissivities of the large fracture intersected by the three boreholes tested (GT-1, GT-2, and GT-3), calculated from aquifer-test analyses of time-drawdown data and flowmeter differencing, were 133, 124, and 65 feet squared per day (ft2/d), respectively. Gringarten analysis indicated the large fracture intersects a low transmissivity boundary or distant fracture network with an average transmissivity of 69 ft2/d, this distant hydraulic boundary averages about 200 ft away from boreholes GT-1 and GT-2. Field measurements of specific conductance of the three boreholes under ambient conditions at the site indicate an increase in conductivity toward the southwest part of the site. Specific conductance was 5, 6, and 23 millisiemens per centimeter (mS/cm) in boreholes GT-2, GT-3, and GT-1, respectively. Three borehole radar reflection logs collected at each of the boreholes indicated increased penetration with depth and the large fracture intersecting all three boreholes was imaged as far as 80 ft from the boreholes. A borehole radar attenuation tomogram from GT-1 to GT-2 indicated the large fracture intersected by the boreholes extends between the boreholes with a low angle southwest dip.

Publication Year 2015
Title Delineation of fractures, foliation, and groundwater of the bedrock at a geothermal feasibility site on Roosevelt Island, New York County, New York
Authors Frederick Stumm, Anthony Chu, Michael D. Como, Michael L. Noll, Peter K. Joesten
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70146256
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New York Water Science Center