Cenomanian-Turonian aquifer of central Israel, its development and possible use as a storage reservoir

Water Supply Paper 1608-F




The Cenomanian-Turonian formations constitute a highly permeable dolomite and limestone aquifer in central Israel. The aquifer is on the west limb of an anticlinorium that trends north-northeast. In places it may be as much as 800 meters thick, but in the report area, largely the foothills of the Judean-Ephraim Mountains where the water development is most intensive, its thickness is generally considerably less. In some places the aquifer occurs at or near the land surface, or it is covered by sandy and gravelly coastal-plain deposits. However, in a large part of the area, it is overlain by as much as 400 meters of relatively impermeable strata, and it is probably underlain by less permeable Lower Cretaceous strata. In general the aquifer water is under artesian pressure. The porosity of the aquifer is characterized mainly by solution channels and cavities produced by jointing and faulting. In addition to the generally high permeability of the aquifer, some regions, which probably coincide with ancient drainage patterns and (or) fault zones, have exceptionally high permeabilities. The source of most of the water in the aquifer is believed to be rain that falls on the foothills area. The westward movement of ground water from the mountainous outcrop areas appears to be impeded by a zone of low permeability which is related to structural and stratigraphic conditions along the western side of the mountains. Gradients of the piezometric surface are small, and the net direction of water movement is westward and northwestward under natural conditions. Locally, however, the flow pattern may be in other directions owing to spatial variations in permeability in the aquifer, the location of natural discharge outlets, and the relation of the aquifer to adjacent geologic formations. There probably is also a large vertical component of flow. Pumping has modified the flow pattern by producing several irregularly shaped shallow depressions in the piezometric surface although, to date, no unwatering of the aquifer has occurred. In the central part of the area, pumping has induced some infiltration from overlying coastal-plain formations. Injecting and storing surplus water seasonally in the aquifer should be feasible at almost any place. However, the movement and recovery of the injected water probably could be controlled most easily if the water were injected where depressions have been formed in the piezometric surface.

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Cenomanian-Turonian aquifer of central Israel, its development and possible use as a storage reservoir
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Water Supply Paper
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U.S. G.P.O.,
iii, 20 p. :ill. ;24 cm. + plates folded in pocket.