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Water resources of the Rattlesnake Butte area, a site of potential lignite mining in west-central North Dakota

Water-Resources Investigations Report 83-4228

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Abstract

The D and E lignite beds, the two mineable beds in the lower Sentinel Butte Member (Fort Union Formation), underlies the entire Rattlesnake Butt study area, North Dakota but are unsaturated over much of their area of occurrence. Ground-water flow in both lignite aquifers is largely controlled by topography. Interconnected sand beds form aquifers between the E and D beds (E-D aquifer) and below the D bed (D-HT aquifer). Both aquifers underlie the central part of the study area and consist of fine silty sand. Depth to the aquifers is as much as 320 feet. Aquifers also occur in strata of Late Cretaceous and early Tertiary age. Aquifers in the Fox Hills Sandstone (Cretaceous) and lower Tongue River Member (Tertiary) lie at depths of about 1,700 and 750 feet, respectively. All aquifers yield a sodium bicarbonate or sodium sulfate type water. Mean dissolved-solids concentrations in the four shallowest aquifers ranged from 1,290 to 1,970 milligrams per litter. North Creek and an unnamed tributary of Green River drain most of the study area. North Creek, the major drain, ceases to flow during several months of most years, while the Green River tributary, with a smaller basin area, has sustained base flows of 0.15 to 0.25 cubic foot per second. Mining-induced impacts on the shallow ground-water flow system would be very localized because of the already low water levels and the segmented nature of the flow system in the lignite aquifers. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Water resources of the Rattlesnake Butte area, a site of potential lignite mining in west-central North Dakota
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
83-4228
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1983
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
vi, 53 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.