The Green River-Moab area encompasses about 7,800 square kilometers or about 25 percent of the Paradox basin. The entire Paradox basin is a part of the Colorado Plateaus that is underlain by a thick sequence of evaporite (salt) beds of Pennsylvanian age. The rock units that underlie the area have been grouped into hydrogeologic units based on their water-transmitting ability. Confining beds consist of evaporite beds of mostly salt, and overlying and underlying thick sequences of rocks with minimal permeability; above and below these confining beds are aquifers. The upper Mesozoic sandstone aquifer, probably is the most permeable hydrogeologic unit of the area and is the subject of this investigation. The principal component of groundwater outflow from this aquifer probably is subsurface flow to regional streams (the Green and Colorado Rivers) and is about 100 million cubic meters per year. All other components of outflow are relatively small. The average annual recharge to the aquifer is about 130 million cubic meters, of which about 20 million cubic meters is from local precipitation. For the lower aquifer, all recharge and discharge probably is by subsurface flow and was not estimated.
The aquifers are generally isolated from the evaporite beds by the hounding confining beds; as a result, most ground water has little if any contact with the evaporites. Brines are present in the confining beds, but solution of beds of salt probably is very slow in most parts of the area. No brine discharges' have been identified.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Regional hydrology of the Green River-Moab area, northwestern Paradox basin, Utah