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Quaternary Geologic Atlas of the United States

The Quaternary Geologic Atlas of the United States is a product of collaboration among State and Canadian Provincial geological surveys, universities, the Geological Survey of Canada, the U.S. Geological Survey, and private industry. The Atlas consists of 1:1,000,000-scale 4° x 6° quadrangle maps that show bedrock of Quaternary age (emplaced or formed during the past 1.8 million years) and surficial deposits and materials of Quaternary age that overlie bedrock of all ages. Thirty-three maps have been published.

Published Maps

maps of the USGS i-1420 series

Figure 1. Index to International Map of the World 1:1,000,000-scale Topographic Series showing locations of the published maps of the Quaternary Geologic Atlas Series I-1420 quadrangles. Quadrangles available in digital edition are shown in purple; maps only available as image files are shown in yellow. Digitization of the quadrangles in yellow is in progress.


Status of the maps of the Quaternary Geologic Atlas of the United States (USGS I-1420 Series)
Quadrangle Name Map Designation Status (as of December 2012)
Austin I-1420 (NH-14) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Blue Ridge I-1420 (NJ-17) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Boston I-1420 (NK-19) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Chesapeake Bay I-1420 (NJ-18) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Chicago I-1420 (NK-16) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Dallas I-1420 (NI-14) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Des Moines I-1420 (NK-15) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Dakotas I-1420 (NL-14) Digital edition of map and Image file of map available.
Florida Keys I-1420 (NG-17) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Hatteras I-1420 (NI-18) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Hudson River I-1420 (NK-18) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Jacksonville I-1420 (NH-17) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Lake Erie I-1420 (NK-17) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Lake Nipigon I-1420 (NM-16) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Lake of the Woods I-1420 (NM-15) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Lake Superior I-1420 (NK-16) Digital edition of map available.
Lethbridge I-1420 (NM-12) In progress
Lookout Mtn I-1420 (NI-16) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Louisville I-1420 (NJ-16) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Minneapolis I-1420 (NL-15) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Mobile I-1420 (NH-16) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Monterrey I-1420 (NG-14) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Ottawa I-1420 (NL-18) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Ozark Plateau I-1420 (NJ-15) Digital edition of map available.
Pikes Peak I-1420 (NJ-13) In progress
Platte River I-1420 (NK-14) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Quebec I-1420 (NL-19) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Regina I-1420 (NM-13) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
San Francisco Bay I-1420 (NJ-10) Image file of map available.
Savannah I-1420 (NI-17) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Sudbury I-1420 (NL-17) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
White Lake I-1420 (NH-15) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Wichita I-1420 (NJ-14) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Winnipeg I-1420 (NM-14) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.
Vicksburg I-1420 (NI-15) Digital edition of map and image file of map available.

Example of Mapping in the Quaternary Geologic Map of the United States Map Series

USGS Quaternary Geologic Map of the Chicago 4° x 6° Quadrangle I-1420 (NK-16)

Chicago map NK-16

detail of Chicago map NK-16 The surficial deposits are distinguished on the basis of environment of origin (genesis), grain size (texture), mineral and clast composition, stratigraphic relations, and age. The arcuate pattern of map units shows the distribution of glacial till (end moraine and ground moraine) of late Wisconsin age in parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. Grain size or textural differences in the till matrix (clayey vs. loamy vs. sandy loamy) are indicated by different colors and letter symbols; end moraine and ground moraine are distinguished by different shades of the same color. Most of the area in the northwest corner here (mapped as colluvium and sheetwash alluvium) was not glaciated. The area between the "Driftless Area" and the arcuate moraines is chiefly till of pre-Wisconsin age. Extensive areas of glaciofluvial deposits (outwash), glacial lake deposits, windblown deposits, and alluvium also are mapped.

Map units are distinguished on the basis of:

Important stratigraphic sections and paleontologic sites, and also features or phenomena such as faults with Quaternary displacement, dune fields, paleowind directions, volcanic ash sites, glaciotectonic phenomena, drumlins, buried bedrock valleys, and limits of past glaciations and glacial advances are shown as symbols on some maps.

On some quadrangles, geologic hazards are mapped (e.g., faults with Quaternary displacement; landslide deposits or landslide-prone surficial deposits and materials; volcanic rocks and related deposits). In some regions, sediments (such as till) that contain significant swelling clay are distinguished from similar sediments that contain little or no swelling clay.

Natural resources such as clay, peat, and coquina are mapped, as are rocks, deposits, and materials used as aggregate.

The Quaternary Period includes the time of all activities of man. Some maps show areas of man-modified land (e.g., surface mines, mine tailings and spoil, settling ponds, artificial fill, and reclaimed land). The rocks, deposits, and materials mapped in most regions are the surface mantle of the earth, in which man's activities are concentrated. Because the map units are distinguished in part on the basis of physical, chemical, sedimentologic, and engineering properties, the maps provide a regional database of interest to scientists who are concerned with shallow groundwater aquifers, soil and groundwater contamination and pollution, and toxic and other shallow waste disposal. Many of the map units are closely related to soils as recognized in engineering geology, and to substrata or parent materials of agricultural soils. Consequently, the maps have direct relevance to engineering construction, land-use planning, land management, and current and future environmental problems and decisions.

A regional database for interpretation and reconstruction of past environments and climatic changes, and also for documentation of modern climatic and environmental conditions is provided by mapping of:

The maps provide a database for scientific reconstruction of regional geologic history. Because map units are distinguished on the basis of genesis (environment of origin), stratigraphic relations, and age differences, and because the units on each map are placed in a stratigraphic and chronologic framework, regional sequences of geologic events can be interpreted.

Institution Collaborators for Published Maps

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