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Sequence stratigraphic framework of upper pliocene to holocene sediments of the Los Angeles Basin, California: Implications for aquifer architecture

January 1, 2015

Executive Summary
Groundwater provides more than one-third of the municipal water supply for the coastal Los Angeles Basin and defining the aquifer architecture is a high priority for ground-water managers. Sequence stratigraphy,
the state-of-the-art method for delineating reservoir geometry and continuity in the petroleum industry, is now being incorporated into ground water resource assessments and environmental investigations. By
evaluating subsurface data using sequence stratigraphy, the geometry and distribution of aquifer and aquitard sediments are linked to the original depositional processes that formed the sediments. Skyline Ridge, Inc.,
the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (LACDPW) and the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRDSC) completed an
investigation of the Wilmington – Long Beach area by integrating data from new exploratory research boreholes, marine reflection seismic, vintage land reflection seismic, and high-resolution gravity measurements.
Sequence stratigraphy is shown to define pathways for saltwater intrusion into freshwater coastal aquifers by integrating preexisting data with (1) the new borehole observations and (2) structural and physical
properties data derived from the geophysical measurements.
By constructing a series of seismic reflection and well log cross sections (presented as sheets), this investigation further defines and delineates ten sequences of Late Pliocene to Holocene age in the Wilmington –
Long Beach area of the Los Angeles Basin. These sequences were first described by Ponti and others (2007), and the implications for sea water intrusion was discussed by Edwards and others (2009a). In addition,
this investigation presents regional seismic facies – environment of deposition maps for the five youngest sequences: 1) the Dominquez Sequence; 2) the Mesa Sequence; 3) the Pacific Sequence; the Harbor
Sequence; and 4) the Bent Spring Sequence.
The stratigraphic framework established in the Wilmington – Long Beach area is extended into the Central Basin of the greater Los Angeles area by utilizing 1980s and older vintage petroleum exploration land
seismic reflection data. Tying this data to the available groundwater monitoring well network in the Central and West Coast Basins demonstrate aquifer correlation problems, and may provide insights into
establishing a more robust groundwater model for the greater Los Angeles Basin area.

Publication Year 2015
Title Sequence stratigraphic framework of upper pliocene to holocene sediments of the Los Angeles Basin, California: Implications for aquifer architecture
Authors Kenneth D. Ehman, Brian D. Edwards, Daniel J. Ponti
Publication Type Book
Series Number 12
Index ID 70156831
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center