In southeastern Minnesota, Paleozoic bedrock aquifers have typically been represented in groundwater flow simulations as isotropic, porous media. To obtain a more accurate hydrogeologic characterization of the Ordovician Prairie du Chien Group, a new approach was tested, combining detailed geologic observations, particularly of secondary porosity, with hydraulic data. Lithologic observations of the depositional and erosional history of the carbonate-dominated bedrock unit constrained characterization of both primary (matrix) and secondary porosity from outcrops and core. Hydrostratigraphic data include outcrop and core observations along with core plug permeability tests. Hydrogeologic data include discrete interval aquifer tests, borehole geophysics, water chemistry and isotope data, and dye trace studies. Results indicate that the Prairie du Chien Group can be subdivided into the Shakopee aquifer at the top, consisting of interbedded dolostone, sandstone and shale, and the underlying Oneota confining unit consisting of thickly bedded dolostone. The boundary between these two hydrogeologic units does not correspond to lithostratigraphic boundaries, as commonly presumed. Groundwater flow in the Shakopee aquifer is primarily through secondary porosity features, most commonly solution-enlarged bedding planes and sub-horizontal and vertical fractures. Regional scale preferential development of cavernous porosity and permeability along specific stratigraphic intervals that correspond to paleokarst were also identified, along with a general depiction of the distribution of vertical and horizontal fractures. The combination of outcrop and core investigations, along with borehole geophysics, discrete interval aquifer tests, water chemistry and isotope data and dye trace studies show that the Prairie du Chien Group is best represented hydrogeologically as heterogeneous and anisotropic. Furthermore, heterogeneity and anisotropy within the Prairie du Chien Group is mappable at a regional scale (>15,000 km2). ?? 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Evidence for hydraulic heterogeneity and anisotropy in the mostly carbonate Prairie du Chien Group, southeastern Minnesota, USA