Paper version: In stock and available from the USGS Store
Natrona County covers an area of 5.369 square miles in central Wyoming. The climate is arid except in the mountainous areas. The county includes parts of the Great Plains, Middle Rocky Mountains, Wyoming Basin, and Southern Rocky Mountains physiographic provinces. There is wide variation of topography. More than 30 geologic formations are exposed in the county, 28 of which are known to yield water to wells and springs. The formations range in age from Precambrian to Holocene. Ground water in approximately 40 percent of the county contains more than 1.000 mg/l (milligrams per liter) of dissolved solids. Water chemically suitable for livestock can be developed at depths of less than 1,000 feet throughout most of the area.
Many of the geologic formations were deposited under similar conditions and have similar water-bearing properties; also. water from these rocks deposited under similar conditions tends to have similar chemical characteristics. For this report, the stratigraphic section has been arbitrarily divided into six rock units based on similarity of deposition.
The igneous and metamorphic rock unit includes rocks of Precambrian age and igneous intrusives and extrusives of Tertiary age. These rocks probably would not yield more than about 5 gpm (gallons per minute) to wells. The water is usually calcium bicarbonate type and contains less than 500 mg/l of dissolved solids.
The marine rock unit includes formations of Cambrian, Mississippian, and Pennsylvanian and Permian age, having a maximum total thickness of about 1,900 feet. The Madison Limestone of Mississippian age and the Tensleep Sandstone and the Casper Formation of Pennsylvanian and Permian age supply the largest yields to wells and springs in the county. In the northeastern part of the county, flow from each of three wells in the Madison reportedly is more than 4.000 gpm. Each of three wells in the Tensleep in the same area flows more than 400 gpm. Yields of springs in the Casper Formation near Casper Mountain range from about 1.0 to 17 cubic feet per second. Ground water from near the outcrop of all these formations usually contains less than 500 rag/l of dissolved solids. The dissolved-solids content increases with distance from the outcrop and in places is more than 3.200 mg/l. Several types of water were found in this unit including sodium sulfate, calcium sodium sulfate, calcium sulfate, sodium calcium sulfate, sodium chloride, and calcium bicarbonate.