The effectiveness of 28 methods used to characterize the fractured Galena-Platteville aquifer at eight sites in northern Illinois and Wisconsin is evaluated. Analysis of government databases, previous investigations, topographic maps, aerial photographs, and outcrops was essential to understanding the hydrogeology in the area to be investigated. The effectiveness of surface-geophysical methods depended on site geology. Lithologic logging provided essential information for site characterization. Cores were used for stratigraphy and geotechnical analysis. Natural-gamma logging helped identify the effect of lithology on the location of secondary- permeability features. Caliper logging identified large secondary-permeability features. Neutron logs identified trends in matrix porosity. Acoustic-televiewer logs identified numerous secondary-permeability features and their orientation. Borehole-camera logs also identified a number of secondary-permeability features. Borehole ground-penetrating radar identified lithologic and secondary-permeability features. However, the accuracy and completeness of this method is uncertain. Single-point-resistance, density, and normal resistivity logs were of limited use.
Water-level and water-quality data identified flow directions and indicated the horizontal and vertical distribution of aquifer permeability and the depth of the permeable features. Temperature, spontaneous potential, and fluid-resistivity logging identified few secondary-permeability features at some sites and several features at others. Flowmeter logging was the most effective geophysical method for characterizing secondary-permeability features.
Aquifer tests provided insight into the permeability distribution, identified hydraulically interconnected features, the presence of heterogeneity and anisotropy, and determined effective porosity. Aquifer heterogeneity prevented calculation of accurate hydraulic properties from some tests.
Different methods, such as flowmeter logging and slug testing, occasionally produced different interpretations. Aquifer characterization improved with an increase in the number of data points, the period of data collection, and the number of methods used.