UMass Sesquicentennial

Fracture patterns across two terrane boundaries in eastern Massachusetts; implications for regional groundwater flow and recharge

TitleFracture patterns across two terrane boundaries in eastern Massachusetts; implications for regional groundwater flow and recharge
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsMabee, SB, Kopera, JP
Conference NameAbstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America
Pagination434 - 434
Date Published2006/10/01/
PublisherGeological Society of America (GSA) : Boulder, CO, United States
Conference LocationUnited States
ISBN Number00167592
Keywords#StaffPubs, Avalon Zone, BEDROCK, eastern Massachusetts, faults, foliation, fractures, ground water, Hydrogeology 21, joints, massachusetts, Merrimack Belt, movement, observations, patterns, properties, recharge, shear zones, style, terranes, United States

The integration of structural data and field-based observations is becoming increasingly critical in understanding groundwater flow behavior and recharge potential. Over the past 3 years, the Office of the Massachusetts State Geologist (OMSG) has collected 8225 fracture measurements from 187 stations across 3 adjacent quadrangles as part of its bedrock geologic mapping program. These data provide a north-south transect across the Nashoba Terrane and its boundaries with the Merrimack Belt and Avalon Terranes in eastern Massachusetts. Areas with similar fracture patterns can be grouped into "hydrostructural domains" with distinct hydrogeologic properties. Within the above transect, hydrostructural domains were observed to closely correspond with bedrock lithology and ductile structure, and therefore, tectonic history. Such domains are commonly bounded by faults or intrusive contacts. Common features observed across all domains include a NE-striking regional foliation with corresponding NW-striking, steeply-dipping cross-joints. Strongly layered metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks of the Merrimack Belt and the Marlborough Formation in the Nashoba Terrane tend to have the most pervasive and closely-spaced foliation-parallel fractures (FPF). Foliation intensity and FPF generally increases towards shear zones and regional fault systems, especially within granites and gneisses. The moderate to steeply dipping, well-developed FPF in these rocks provides a potentially excellent conduit for vertical recharge and a strong NE-trending regional anistropy that may control groundwater flow. Granitoidal rocks have very consistent NS-EW orthogonal networks of vertical fractures and subhorizontal sheeting joints, providing excellent potential for vertical recharge and near-surface lateral flow. Features such as small brittle faults, fracture zones, fold axes, and fracture sets distinct to each domain may dominate local groundwater flow and recharge. Abstract 116563 modified by on 7-12-2006

Short TitleAbstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America
For more info contact: 


The MA Geological Survey
Department of Geosciences
269 Morrill Science Center
University of Massachusetts
611 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003-9297

Contact Us

Ph: (413) 545-4814
Fax: (413) 545-1200

stategeologist at geo dot umass dot edu

Follow us!