Highly saline produced water was released from multiple sources during oil field operations from 1913 to 1973 at the USGS research Site A on Skiatook Lake in northeastern Oklahoma. Two pits, designed to hold produced water and oil, were major sources for release of these fluids at the site. Produced water spills from these and other features moved downslope following topography and downdip by percolating through permeable eolian sand and colluvium, underlying permeable sandstone, and, to a lesser extent, through shales and mudstones. Saline water penetrated progressively deeper units as it moved through the gently dipping bedrock to the north and NW. A large eroded salt scar north of the pits coincides with underlying fine-grained rocks that have retained substantial concentrations of salt, causing slow revegetation. Where not eroded, thick eolian sand or permeable sandstone bedrock is near the surface, and vegetation has been little affected or has reestablished itself after the introduced salt was flushed by precipitation. The extent of salt-contaminated bedrock extends well beyond existing surface salt scars. These results indicate that one of the legacies of surface salt spills can be a volume of subsurface salinization larger than the visible surface disturbance. ?? 2007.
Additional publication details
Geologic controls on movement of produced-water releases at US geological survey research Site A, Skiatook lake, Osage county, Oklahoma