WRRCPR No.99-05 Subsurface geology and hydrogeology of downtown Honolulu, with engineering and environmental implications

Finstick, Sue A.
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Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa
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In the downtown Honolulu area, detailed site investigations are required prior to the design and construction of high-rise buildings and other engineering structures. Hence, over the years, numerous soil borings, environmental assessments, and groundwater measurements have been conducted. As a result, much data on the subsurface geology of downtown Honolulu exists, but it is spread out among individual consulting firms and various governmental agencies. The purpose of this study is to compile the existing data and interpret the subsurface geology, engineering geology, hydrogeology, and environmental problems within the downtown Honolulu area. This study commenced with collecting and interpreting data from 2,276 soil boring logs from consulting firms in Honolulu, along with data from the Groundwater Index database and environmental databases maintained by the State of Hawaii. The subsurface materials are classified into nine categories: fill, lagoonal (low-energy) deposits, alluvial deposits, coralline debris, coral ledges, cinders, tuff, basalt, and residual soil or weathered volcanics. The study area is divided into 157 quadrangles (1,000 feet x 1,000 feet each). The subsurface conditions within each quad are described in detail, and nine cross-sections are presented for further clarification of the subsurface geology. Foundation-bearing layers and buried alluvial channels are mapped. Environmental problems and groundwater data are summarized in tables and maps. Coral ledges, tuff, and basalt are the most suitable foundation-bearing layers within the caprock. Coral ledges, coralline debris, coarse-grained lagoonal sediments, and cinder sands are characterized by higher hydraulic conductivities than other materials that comprise the caprock. However, the caprock as a whole is characterized by much lower hydraulic conductivities than the underlying Koolau basalt that forms the main aquifer for the island. The caprock groundwater is not only brackish and nonpotable but also highly vulnerable to contamination. Petroleum hydrocarbons and heavy metals from leaking underground storage tanks are the primary soil and groundwater contaminants. Caprock groundwater is generally found within ±5 feet of sea level. Dewatering is often necessary at sites involving the construction of basements.
subsurface mapping, engineering geology, hydrology, subsurface geology, subsurface hydrology, environmental implications, downtown Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, Engineering geology -- Hawaii -- Oahu., Honolulu (Hawaii), Hydrogeology -- Hawaii -- Oahu., Tall buildings -- Design and construction -- Hawaii -- Oahu.
Finstick SA. 1998. Subsurface geology and hydrogeology of downtown Honolulu, with engineering and environmental implications. Honolulu (HI): Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa. WRRC project report, 99-05.
xii + 225 pages
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