Appraisal of water in bedrock aquifers, northern Cascade County, Montana

Open-File Report 82-1025



Suburban residential expansion of the city of Great Falls has resulted in an increased demand on water supplies from bedrock aquifers in northern Cascade County. The unconsolidated deposits aquifer of Quaternary age, including alluvium and glacial lake deposits, also is an important source of water in the area. Water levels in the Madison-Swift aquifer and all overlying aquifers, including the Quaternary deposits aquifer, reflect unconfined (water-table) conditions in the Great Falls vicinity. This interconnected hydrologic system is the result of breaching of the major anticlinal structure, by ancestral and present day erosion of drainage channels by the Missouri River and its tributaries. Significant vertical inter-aquifer mixing of water, as well as surface water/groundwater interchange, probably occurs in the central part of the study area. Characterization of the chemical composition of water in individual aquifers based on samples from wells in this area probably is unreliable because of this mixing. Quality of water from two wells in the Madison-Swift aquifer near Giant Springs is similar to water from the springs. Water from these three samples is less mineralized than most groundwater in the study area; dissolved solids concentrations for the three samples range from 516 to 550 mg/L. The quality of water varies among aquifers and throughout the study area. The ranges of dissolved solids concentrations determined by chemical analysis are Madison-Swift aquifer, about 520 to 1,570 mg/L; Morrison Formation, 908 to 1 ,480 mg/L; Kootenai Formation, 558 to 1,550 mg/L; Colorado Group , 2,690 and 2,740 mg/L (two samples); and unconsolidated Quaternary deposits, 383 to 2,060 mg/L. The chemical quality of water from the Colorado Group in the western one-third of the area generally is more mineralized than water from aquifers in the rest of the area. Specific conductance of water from eight wells completed in the Colorado Group averages 4,440 micromhos at 25 C. (Author 's abstract)

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Appraisal of water in bedrock aquifers, northern Cascade County, Montana
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 82-1025
DOI 10.3133/ofr821025
Edition -
Year Published 1982
Language ENGLISH
Description iv, 33 p.; : ill., maps ; 28 cm.