ODP Leg 150X   Leg 174AX  
-Island Beach -Bass River -Fort Mott -Medford
-Atlantic City -Ancora -Millville -Double Trouble
-Cape May -Ocean View -Sea Girt -Wilson Lake
  -Bethany Beach -Cape May Zoo -Sandy Hook

Geophysical Log Data for all onshore cores

General Statement

The Coastal Plain Drilling Project is the onshore portion of the Ocean Drilling Program/Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (ODP/IODP) New Jersey sea level/Mid-Atlantic Transect. The Transect focuses on reconstructing global sea-level variations during the past 100 m.y. and global events in Earth History (Figure 1). Eleven onshore coreholes have been continuously cored and logged as part of the Transect.


The Coastal Plain Drilling Project is funded by the National Science Foundation (Earth Science Division, Continental Dynamics Program and Ocean Science Division, Ocean Drilling Program), the New Jersey Geological Survey (NJGS), the Delaware Geological Survey, and the United States Geological Survey Eastern Earth Surface Processes Team (EESPT).


Recognizing the link between onshore drilling and offshore drilling by Ocean Drilling Program Legs 150 (Mountain, Miller, Blum, et al., 1994) and 174A (Austin, Christie-Blick, Malone, et al., 1997), the JOIDES Planning Committee (PCOM) designated onshore drilling as Leg 150X (Island Beach, Atlantic City, and Cape May coreholes; Miller et al., 1994, 1996; Miller and Snyder, eds., 1997) and 174AX (Bass River, Ancora, Ocean View, Bethany Beach, Fort Mott, Millville, Sea Girt, Cape May Zoo, Medford, Double Trouble, and Wilson Lake coreholes; Miller et al., 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006, in prep.; Sugarman et al., 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010; Browning et al. in prep.).

Leg 150X. Onshore drilling began in 1993 with drilling of the Island Beach (total depth [TD] 1223 ft in the uppermost Cretaceous) and Atlantic City coreholes (TD 1452 ft in upper middle Eocene strata; Miller et al., 1994). Drilling continued in 1994 at Cape May (Miller et al., 1996; TD 1500 ft in upper Eocene strata) to complete ODP Leg 150X onshore drilling. These three sites targeted Oligocene-Miocene sequences, trying to unravel Icehouse sea-level changes (Miller and Mountain, 1994; Miller et al., 1996, 1998).

Leg 174AX. Onshore drilling continued as ODP leg 174AX by continuously coring at:

  1. Bass River in Oct.-Nov. 1996 (TD 1956.5 ft in Cenomanian strata; Miller, Sugarman, Browning, et al., 1997), targeting Upper Cretaceous to Paleocene strata poorly sampled by Leg 150X;
  2. Ancora in July-Aug. 1998, an updip, less deeply buried Cretaceous-Paleocene section complimentary to Bass River (TD 1170 ft in Cenomanian strata; Miller, Sugarman, Browning, et al., 1999);
  3. Ocean View in Sept.-Oct. 1999, targeting upper Miocene-middle Eocene sequences (TD 1575 ft in lowermost Eocene strata; Miller, Sugarman, Browning, Pekar, et al., 2001); and
  4. Bethany Beach, DE in May-June 200, targeting the thick Miocene sequences in the depocenter of the Salisbury Embayment in collaboration with the Delaware Geological Survey (TD 1470 ft in uppermost Oligocene strata; Miller, McLaughlin, Browning, et al., 2002).
  5. Ft. Mott (Oct. 2001), targeting aquifers in Coniacian through Aptian sediments. The Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer was found to consist of thick apparently continuous delta front sands of the transgressive systems tract overlain by anastomosing river facies of the highstand systems tract. (TD 820 ft in Lower Cretaceous [Aptian/?Barremian] strata; Sugarman et al., 2004).
  6. Millville, NJ (May-June 2002) targeting Late Cretaceous sequences from southern New Jersey. Cretaceous sequences at Millville are more similar to sections in Delaware (with a thin Magothy formation and less deltaic influence) than they are to sections in northern New Jersey suggesting the South Jersey High was influencing sedimentation patterns at that time. (TD 1500 ft in Upper Cretaceous [Cenomanian] strata; Sugarman et al., 2005).
  7. Sea Girt (September-November 2003) targeting Late Cretaceous sequences from northern New Jersey. Direct ties between lithofacies and gamma logs at Sea Girt have allowed the mapping of Cretaceous sequences and sedimentation patterns throughout northern New Jersey. (TD 1600 ft in lower Miocene strata; Miller et al., 2006).
  8. Cape May Zoo (September-October 2004) targeting middle Miocene through Pleistocene sequences. Continuing studies are helping define the distribution of Miocene sequences and aquifers in the Cape May peninsula. (TD 720 ft in Upper Cretaceous [Cenomanian] strata; Sugarman et al., 2007).
  9. Medford (April-May, 2007) targeted Cretaceous sequences and aquifers. Helped define the regional extent of sequences first descrbed in the Ft. Mott core (TD 1090 ft in Lower Cretaceos strata [Aptian/?Barremian]; Sugarman et al. 2010)
  10. Double Trouble (October, 2008) targeted Oligocene and late to middle Eocene sequences and aquifers and the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (TD 858 ft in Upper Cretaceous strata [Maastrichtian]; Browning et al., in prep.)
  11. Wilson Lake (May 2011) targeted the Paleocene-Eocene and the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundaries (TD 460 ft in Upper Cretaceous strata [Maastrichtian]; Miller et al., in prep.).
  12. Sandy Hook - North Maintenance Yard (May 2014) three holes were drilled at Sandy Hook to understand the Quaternary evolution of the spit and to understand the differential sinking rate between coastal plain and bedrock locations.
  13. Sandy Hook - South Maintenance Yard (May 2014) three holes were drilled at Sandy Hook to understand the Quaternary evolution of the spit and to understand the differential sinking rate between coastal plain and bedrock locations.
  14. Sandy Hook - Salt Shed (May 2014) three holes were drilled at Sandy Hook to understand the Quaternary evolution of the spit and to understand the differential sinking rate between coastal plain and bedrock locations.
  15. Sandy Hook - South Maintenance Yard - Deep Hole (October-November 2014) was drilled to help understand the facies and continuity of aquifer units in the Magothy Formation (Coniacian-?Santonian) and to determine the depth and nature of bedrock.

In total, these coreholes recovered 14,928.7 ft from 18,793.5 ft drilled (79% recovery).

Scientific Accomplishments

Successful drilling onshore in the New Jersey Coastal Plain (onshore ODP Legs 150X and 174AX) and offshore on the NJ shelf and slope (ODP Legs 150, 174A) has provided:

  1. ages for major Late Cretaceous-Cenozoic sequence boundaries;
  2. causal links between the formation of sequence boundaries and the growth of ice sheets between ca. 42 and ca. 10 Ma, and hints that such a link exists in the older, supposedly ice-free world (e.g., ca. 71 Ma);
  3. preliminary estimates of the amplitudes of global sea-level changes;
  4. timing of major sea level falls and generation of new sea level curve for the Late Cretaceous to Recent;
  5. evaluation of links among sequence stratigraphic architecture, global sea-level variations, and margin evolution; and
  6. constraints on the causes of major global events in Earth history, including the middle Eocene-earliest Oligocene global cooling, the late Paleocene thermal maximum, the K/T boundary, early and late Maastrichtian events, and the Cenomanian/Turonian carbon extraction event.



Corehole Latitude Longitude Date Drilled
Elevation (ft)
Elevation (m)
Depth of
penetration (ft)
ODP 150X            
Island Beach 39°48'10"N 74°05'37"W March-May, 1993 12 3.7 1223
Atlantic City 39°22.7'N 74°25.4'W June-July, 1993 5 1.5 1452
Cape May 38°56'52"N 74°53'00"W March-April, 1994 5 1.5 1500
ODP 174AX            
Bass River 39°36'42"N 74°26'12"W October-November, 1996 28 8.5 1956.5
Ancora 39°41'31.975"N 74°50'56.459"W July-August, 1998 103.9 31.7 1170
Ocean View 39°10'43.826"N 74°43'31.643"W September-October, 1999 9.4 2.9 1575
Bethany Beach 38°32'53"N 75°03'45"W May-June, 2000 4.6 1.4 1470
Fort Mott 39°36'19.956"N 75°33'07.175"W October, 2001 3.79 1.2 820
Millville 39°24'16.67"N 75°05'19.99"W May-June, 2002 89.7 27.3 1500
Sea Girt 40°07'12.698"N 74°01'58.25"W September-November, 2003 9.8 3.0 1600
Cape May Zoo 39°06.279" N 74°48.855"W September-October, 2004 22 6.7 720
Medford 39°53’48.815” N 74°49’15.904' W April-May, 2007 34 10.4 1090
Double Trouble 39° 53.747’ N 74° 13.402 W October, 2008 50


Wilson Lake 39°39.590' N 75°02.830' W May, 2011 118 36


Sandy Hook (NMY) 40°26.165' N 74°00.297' N May, 2014 7 2.1


Sandy Hook (SMYA) 40°26.010' N 73°59.197' N May, 2014 6 1.8


Sandy Hook (SS) 40°27.052' N 73°59.793' N May, 2014 11 3.4


Sandy Hook (SMYB) 40°26.010' N 73°59.197' N October, 2014 6 1.8


Sandy Hook (SMYC) 40°26.010' N 73°59.197' N Oct-Nov, 2014 6 1.8 744


Depth of
penetration (m)
Core recovered
Age of oldest strata 7.5'quardrangle
ODP 150X        
Island Beach 372.8 1060 Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) Barnegat Light, NJ
Atlantic City 442.6 977.0 middle Eocene Oceanville, NJ
Cape May 457.2 1229.0 upper Eocene Cape May, NJ
ODP 174AX        
Bass River 596.3 1685.9 Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian) New Gretna, NJ
Ancora 356.6 1285.3 Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian) Hammonton, NJ
Ocean View 480.1 1271.1 middle Eocene Sea Isle City, NJ
Bethany Beach 448.1 1166.5 uppermost Oligocene Bethany Beach, DE
Fort Mott 249.9 638.9 Lower Cretaceous (Aptian/?Barremian) Delaware City, DE
Millville 457.2 1261.3 Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian) Millville, NJ
Sea Girt 487.7 1215.6 Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian) Point Pleastant, NJ
Cape May Zoo 219.5 499.4 lower Miocene Stone Harbor, NJ
Medford 332.2 762.7 Lower Cretaceous (Aptian/?Barremian) Mount Holly
Double Trouble 261.5 635 Maastrichtian Toms River
Wilson Lake 140 347.6 Campanian Pitman East
Sandy Hook (NMY) 285 183.95 Holocene Sandy Hook
Sandy Hook (SMYA) 175 89.5 Coniacian-?Santonian Sandy Hook
Sandy Hook (SS) 255 174.5 Coniacian-?Santonian Sandy Hook
Sandy Hook (SMYB) 730 449.35 Coniacian-?Santonian Sandy Hook
Sandy Hook (SMYC) 744 18.15 Coniacian-?Santonian Sandy Hook


Corehole Boxes Reference
ODP 150X    
Island Beach 173 Miller, et al., 1994
Atlantic City 138 Miller, et al., 1994
Cape May 179 Miller, Liu et al., 1996
ODP 174AX    
Bass River 206 Miller, Sugarman et al., 1998
Ancora 151 Miller, Sugarman et al., 1999
Ocean View 177 Miller, Sugarman et al., 2001
Bethany Beach 164 Miller, McLaughlin et al., 2002
Fort Mott 119 Sugarman, Miller et al., 2004
Millville 176 Sugarman, Miller et al., 2005
Sea Girt 168 Miller, Sugarman et al., 2006
Cape May Zoo 72 Sugarman, Miller et al., 2007
Medford 110 Sugarman, Miller et al., 2010
Double Trouble 83 Browning, Sugarman, Miller et al., 2011
Wilson Lake 50