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Shoreface and Holocene sediment thickness offshore of Rockaway Peninsula, New York

November 5, 2021

During September and October 2019, the U.S. Geological Survey mapped the shoreface and inner continental shelf offshore of the Rockaway Peninsula in New York using high-resolution chirp seismic reflection and single-beam bathymetry geophysical techniques. The results from this study are important for assessing the Quaternary evolution of the Rockaway Peninsula and determining coastal sediment availability, which is crucial for establishing sediment budgets, understanding sediment dispersal, and managing coastlines. This report presents preliminary interpretations of seismic profiles and maps of shoreface and Holocene sediment thickness from the shoreline to about 2 kilometers offshore. The results indicate that shoreface and Holocene sediment thickness demonstrates zonal variability because of underlying geology and sediment availability. Based on geomorphic features and underlying stratigraphy, the study area is separated into west, west-central, east-central, and east zones. Holocene sediment, which includes the shoreface and seafloor features with positive morphology (for example, nearshore bars, ebb-tide deltas, and sorted bedforms), thickens to the west and may be related to accommodation and westward dip of the regional unconformity. Shoreface units, which are thought to represent the active volume of littoral sediment, are thickest in the west-central peninsula where the geologic base of the shoreface is deeper. Shoreface units with moderate thickness are in the western and eastern peninsula where there are positive morphological features (for example, deposits accumulating updrift from the jetty, ebb-tide deltas, and so on). The thinnest shorefaces are in the east-central Rockaway Peninsula because of less accommodation caused by the shoaling regional unconformity.