2nd Presumpscot Formation Symposium Logo

2nd Symposium on the Presumpscot Formation
Advances in Geotechnical, Geologic, and Construction Practice

8 am – 5 pm, Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Hannaford Hall, Abromson Center
University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME


The coastal region of Maine and New Hampshire is famous for its scenic beauty and rugged coastline. The coastal region is also known as an area of glacial soils that cause many dramatic landslides, building settlements, and challenges to the construction of all types and sizes of structures. The soil unit was given the name Presumpscot Formation by Arthur Bloom in his 1959 Ph.D. Dissertation*.  Art told a GSA session on the formation in 1989 that he originally called it the Portland Formation, but the name was rejected by his Ph.D. committee based on the code of stratigraphic nomenclature because it was already assigned. In a hurry to finish his disserations, Art had to find a name that had no chance of having been used by others, and so the Presumpscot Formation (Fm) was named. Prior to that, the Formation  was locally referred to as “blue clay, “Leda Clay” and possibly other names. Strictly speaking, the name refers only to areas mapped by Art Bloom in southwest Maine, however others have adopted it for coastal and offshore glacial-marine deposits within Maine and New Hampshire. The broader Presumpscot Formation as we know it today has a unique character and variability. Engineers have developed unique methods to evaluate its behavior and contractors have devised innovative means of building on it.

The first symposium on the Presumpscot Formation, entitled Geologic and Geotechnical Characteristics of the Presumpscot Formation Maine’s Glaciomarine “Clay”, was held in March 1987. Over the past 28 years there have been great advances in the tools available for investigating site and depositional characterization, engineering design and long-term performance, and construction techniques.

The 2nd Symposium on the Presumpscot Formation will focus on advances in the investigation, design, and implementation of geological, geotechnical, and construction on the sensitive glacial marine clay found in coastal Maine and New Hampshire. Session categories include Geology, Soil Properties, Design and Performance, and Construction Practices.

Directions to venue. 

*Bloom, Arthur L. (1959). Late Pleistocene changes of sea level in southwestern Maine. Ph.D. Disseration for Yale University, published by Maine Dept. of Economic Development.
Research sponsor: Office of Naval Research (Project NR 388-040) and Maine Geological Survey.