|Abstract:||The National Water-Quality Assessment pilot project for the Central Oklahoma aquifer examined the chemical and isotopic composition of ground water, the abundances and textures of minerals in core samples, and water levels and hydraulic properties in the flow system to identify geochemical reactions occurring in the aquifer and rates and directions of ground-water flow. The aquifer underlies 3,000\x11square miles of central Oklahoma and consists of Permian red beds, including parts of the Permian Garber Sandstone, Wellington Formation, and Chase, Council Grove, and Admire Groups, and Quaternary alluvium and terrace deposits.
In the part of the Garber Sandstone and Wellington Formation that is not confined by the Permian Hennessey Group, calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate are the dominant ions in ground water; in the confined part of the Garber Sandstone and Wellington Formation and in the Chase, Council Grove, and Admire Groups, sodium and bicarbonate are the dominant ions in ground water. Nearly all of the Central Oklahoma aquifer has an oxic or post-oxic environment as indicated by the large dissolved concentrations of oxygen, nitrate, arsenic (V), chromium (VI), selenium (VI), vanadium, and uranium. Sulfidic and methanic environments are virtually absent.
Petrographic textures indicate dolomite, calcite, sodic plagioclase, potassium feldspars, chlorite, rock fragments, and micas are dissolving, and iron oxides, manganese oxides, kaolinite, and quartz are precipitating. Variations in the quantity of exchangeable sodium in clays indicate that cation exchange is occurring within the aquifer. Gypsum may dissolve locally within the aquifer, as indicated by ground water with large concentrations of sulfate, but gypsum was not observed in core samples. Rainwater is not a major source for most elements in ground water, but evapotranspiration could cause rainwater to be a significant source of potassium, sulfate, phosphate and nitrogen species. Brines derived from seawater are the most likely source of bromide and chloride in the aquifer.
The dominant reaction in recharge is the uptake of carbon dioxide gas from the unsaturated zone (about 2.0 to 4.0 millimoles per liter) and the dissolution of dolomite (about 0.3 to 1.0 millimoles per liter). This reaction generates calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate water composition. If dolomite does not dissolve to equilibrium, pH values range from 6.0 to 7.3; if dolomite dissolves to equilibrium, pH values are about 7.5 By the time recharge enters the deeper flow system, all ground water is saturated or supersaturated with dolomite and calcite.
After carbonate-mineral equilibration has occurred, cation exchange of calcium and magnesium for sodium is the dominant geochemical reaction, which occurs to a substantial extent only in parts of the aquifer. Mass transfers of cation exchange greater than 2.0 millimoles per liter occur in the confined part of the Garber Sandstone and Wellington Formation and in parts of the Chase, Council Grove, and Admire Groups. Associated with cation exchange is dissolution of small quantities of dolomite, calcite, biotite, chlorite, plagioclase, or potassium feldspar, which produces pH values that range from 8.6 to 9.1.
Large tritium concentrations indicate ground-water ages of less than about 40 years for most samples of recharge. Carbon-14 ages for samples from the unconfined aquifer generally are less than 10,000 years. Carbon-14 ages of ground water in the confined part of the aquifer range from about 10,000 to 30,000 years or older. These ages produce a time trend in deuterium values that qualitatively is consistent with the timing of the transition from the last glacial maximum to the present interglacial period.
The most transmissive geologic units in the Central Oklahoma aquifer are the Garber Sandstone and Wellington Formation and the alluvium and terrace deposits; the Chase, Council Grove, and Admire Groups are less transmissive on the bas