Fractured-aquifer hydrogeology from geophysical logs: Brunswick group and Lockatong Formation, Pennsylvania

Ground Water

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The Brunswick Group and the underlying Lockatong Formation are composed of lithified Mesozoic sediments that constitute part of the Newark Basin in southeastern Pennsylvania. These fractured rocks form an important regional aquifer that consists of gradational sequences of shale, siltstone, and sandstone, with fluid transport occurring primarily in fractures. An extensive suite of geophysical logs was obtained in seven wells located at the borough of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, in order to better characterize the areal hydrogeologic system and provide guidelines for the refinement of numerical ground water models. Six of the seven wells are approximately 120 m deep and the seventh extends to a depth of 335 m. Temperature, fluid conductivity, and flowmeter logs are used to locate zones of fluid exchange and to quantify transmissivities. Electrical resistivity and natural gamma logs together yield detailed stratigraphic information, and digital acoustic televiewer data provide magnetically oriented images of the borehole wall from which almost 900 fractures are identified.

Analyses of the geophysical data indicate that the aquifer penetrated by the deep well can be separated into two distinct structural domains, which may, in turn, reflect different mechanical responses to basin extension by different sedimentary units:

1. In the shallow zone (above 125 m), the dominant fracture population consists of gently dipping bedding plane partings that strike N46°E and dip to the northwest at about 11 degrees. Fluid flow is concentrated in the upper 80 m along these subhorizontal fractures, with transmissivities rapidly diminishing in magnitude with depth.

2. The zone below 125 m marks the appearance of numerous high-angle fractures that are orthogonal to the bedding planes, striking parallel but dipping steeply southeast at 77 degrees.

This secondary set of fractures is associated with a fairly thick (approximately 60 m) high-resistivity, low-transmissivity sandstone unit that is abruptly terminated by a thin shale bed at a depth of 190 m. This lower contact effectively delineates the aquifer's vertical extent at this location because no detectable evidence of ground water movement is found below it. Thus, fluid flow is controlled by fractures, but fracture type and orientation are related to lithology. Finally, a transient thermal-conduction model is successfully applied to simulate observed temperature logs, thereby confirming the effects of ground-surface warming that occurred in the area as a result of urbanization at the turn of the century. The systematic warming of the upper 120 m has increased the transmissivity of this aquifer by almost 10%, simply due to changes in fluid viscosity and density.

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Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Fractured-aquifer hydrogeology from geophysical logs: Brunswick group and Lockatong Formation, Pennsylvania
Series title:
Ground Water
Year Published:
National Ground Water Associaton
Publisher location:
Westerville, OH
Contributing office(s):
Pennsylvania Water Science Center
11 p.
First page:
Last page:
United States