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Chemical evolution and estimated flow velocity of water in the Trinity Aquifer, south-central Texas

Water-Resources Investigations Report 97-4078

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Abstract

Three permeable zones with varying lithology and water chemistry compose the Trinity aquifer, a principal source of water in the 5,500-square-mile study area in south-central Texas. The upper permeable zone locally yields small quantities of water to wells and was not included in this study. The middle permeable zone primarily is composed of limestone with minor amounts of dolostone. Terrigenous sand and marine limestone, with minor amounts of dolostone, are the principal lithologic units in the lower permeable zone. Dissolved solids concentrations range from 329 to 1,820 milligrams per liter in water samples from the middle permeable zone and from 518 to 3,030 milligrams per liter in water samples from the lower permeable zone. Principal hydrochemical facies in the middle permeable zone are calcium magnesium bicarbonate and calcium magnesium sulfate. Hydrochemical facies in ground-water samples from the lower permeable zone vary. Tritium concentrations as large as 5.3 tritium units in the southeastern part of the study area are indicative of relatively recent recharge. Results of a geochemical mass balance simulation along a flowpath in the middle permeable zone indicate a mass transfer of 4.25 millimoles per liter of dolomite dissolved, 5.74 millimoles per liter of gypsum dissolved, 0.46 millimole per liter of sodium chloride dissolved, 8.07 millimoles per liter of calcite precipitated, and 0.67 millimole per liter of calcium-for-sodium cation exchange between solid and aqueous phases. These results support dedolomitization as a principal chemical process in the middle permeable zone of the Trinity aquifer. Results of a simulation along a flowpath in the lower permeable zone indicate a mass transfer of 0.41 millimole per liter of dolomite dissolved, 0.001 millimole per liter of gypsum dissolved, 9.58 millimoles per liter of sodium chloride dissolved, 1.09 millimoles per liter of calcite precipitated, and 1.11 millimoles per liter of sodium-for-calcium cation exchange between solid and aqueous phases. Lower permeable zone processes indicate sodium chloride dissolution, dedolomitization, and cation exchange. Ground-water-flow velocities determined from adjusted carbon-14 ages, calculated using NETPATH, for selected flowpaths in the middle and lower permeable zones were about 1.7 feet per year and less than about 4.4 feet per year, respectively.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Chemical evolution and estimated flow velocity of water in the Trinity Aquifer, south-central Texas
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
97-4078
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1997
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
Description:
iv, 22 p. : ill., maps ; 28 cm.