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Hydrogeologic terranes and potential yield of water to wells in the Valley and Ridge Physiographic Province in the eastern and southeastern United States

Professional Paper 1422-C

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Abstract

The Valley and Ridge Physiographic Province is underlain by deformed sedimentary rock of Paleozoic age including dolomite, limestone, shale, and sandstone. Regolith (soil, sediment, and weathered rock) covers the Paleozoic rock throughout most of the province. Local differences in lithology, structure, and weathering can result in four orders of magnitude variation in the water-yielding properties of the geologic units that underlie the area. Selected rock types, however, can account for a substantial part of this variation because of the unique way in which these dense, consolidated sedimentary rock types deform and weather to produce secondary openings.

On the basis of relations among rock type, water-yielding openings, and water-yielding properties (as indicated by specific capacity), the regolith and consolidated rock were classified and mapped as five hydrogeologic terranes alluvium, dolomite, limestone, argillaceous carbonate rock, and siliciclastic rock. The hydrogeologic terranes are named after the predominant outcrop lithology within them. The western toe of the Blue Ridge Mountains is classified as a subdivision of the dolomite hydrogeologic terrane that may produce yields of water in excess of 1,000 gallons per minute (gal/min) to public and industrial supply wells.

Specific-capacity data for homogeneous data sets, which consist of all wells that have the same characteristics in regard to casing diameter, primary use of the water, and topographic setting, revealed significant differences in water-yielding properties among the five hydrogeologic terranes. According to results of Tukey statistical tests at a probability (alpha level) of 0.05, 8 out of 10 pairs of hydrogeologic terranes (for example, alluvium/limestone) had significantly different median specific-capacity values. The median value for public and industrial supply wells in the western toe is three times greater than the value for comparable wells in the dolomite hydrogeologic terrane elsewhere.

Estimates of potential yields to public and industrial supply wells were calculated from specific-capacity data for most-productive wells, which have casing diameter of 7 in. or more, discharge water primarily for public or industrial supply, and are in a valley. Median constant drawdowns, calculated from reported drawdowns, were assumed to be between 10 and 90 ft for wells completed in each of the five hydrogeologic terranes, and well-entrance losses were assumed to be negligible. Estimated interquartile ranges in potential yields to 412 mostproductive wells in the five hydrogeologic terranes were 170 to 580 gal/min, alluvium; 210 to 1,400 gal/min, dolomite; 80 to 720 gal/min, limestone; 65 to 850 gal/min, argillaceous carbonate rock; and 70 to 280 gal/min, siliciclastic rock.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Hydrogeologic terranes and potential yield of water to wells in the Valley and Ridge Physiographic Province in the eastern and southeastern United States
Series title:
Professional Paper
Series number:
1422
Chapter:
C
Year Published:
1996
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Government Printing Office
Description:
Report: vi, 30 p.; 5 Plates: 47.0 x 35.5 inches or smaller
First page:
C1
Last page:
C30
Country:
United States
State:
Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia