The Yonge Street Aquifer (YSA) in the Greater Toronto Area of south-central Ontario is a prolific municipal supply aquifer. It has been considered to be channelized sand and gravel linked to a bedrock valley. Despite considerable work, the fundamental conceptual model for the YSA is not well developed and documented. Based on high-quality data, a revised conceptual model of the aquifer is presented. Seismic profiles define the geometry of the regional stratigraphy with four distinct units: bedrock, Lower sediments, Newmarket Till, and Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM) sediment. Seismic data reveal two generations of roughly north–south channels: older sub-Newmarket Till channels within Lower sediments (termed Thorncliffe channel) and ORM-related channels (termed ORM channel) that incise both Newmarket Till and Lower sediments. The YSA is interpreted to occur within a Thorncliffe channel, with possible vertical connection to younger ORM channels and lateral connection to inter-channel Lower sediments. Thorncliffe channel deposits consist of fining-upward transitions from coarse gravel, to sand, to rhythmically bedded mud interpreted to be deposited within a channel – esker – subaqueous fan complex. Upper Thorncliffe channel mud facies and overlying Newmarket Till provide a capping aquitard. The YSA conceptual model benefits from a strong understanding of facies changes in the Thorncliffe Formation. The deposits with highest permeability occur within up to 80 m thick gravel and sand sequences at the base of the Thorncliffe channel, with transmissivity ranging from 1500 to 4500 m2/day. Groundwater level response to municipal pumping confirms connection along the channel with muted hydraulic response laterally. Thorncliffe channels are interpreted to be up to 20 km long and approximately 2 km wide.

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