This report describes a digital, three-dimensional faulted hydrostratigraphic model constructed to represent the geologic framework of the Edwards aquifer system in the area of San Antonio, northern Bexar County, Texas. The model is based on mapped geologic relationships that reflect the complex structures of the Balcones fault zone, detailed lithologic descriptions and interpretations of about 40 principal wells (and qualified data from numerous other wells), and a conceptual model of the gross geometry of the Edwards Group units derived from prior interpretations of depositional environments and paleogeography. The digital model depicts the complicated intersections of numerous major and minor faults in the subsurface, as well as their individual and collective impacts on the continuity of the aquifer-forming units of the Edwards Group and the Georgetown Formation. The model allows for detailed examination of the extent of fault dislocation from place to place, and thus the extent to which the effective cross-sectional area of the aquifer is reduced by faulting. The model also depicts the internal hydrostratigraphic subdivisions of the Edwards aquifer, consisting of three major and eight subsidiary hydrogeologic units. This geologic framework model is useful for visualizing the geologic structures within the Balcones fault zone and the interactions of en-echelon fault strands and flexed connecting fault-relay ramps. The model also aids in visualizing the lateral connections between hydrostratigraphic units of relatively high and low permeability across the fault strands. Introduction The Edwards aquifer is the principal source of water for municipal, agricultural, industrial, and military uses by nearly 1.5 million inhabitants of the greater San Antonio, Texas, region (Hovorka and others, 1996; Sharp and Banner, 1997). Discharges from the Edwards aquifer also support local recreation and tourism industries at Barton, Comal, and San Marcos Springs located northeast of San Antonio (Barker and others, 1994), as well as base flow for agricultural applications farther downstream. Average annual discharge from large springs (Comal, San Marcos, Hueco, and others) from the Edwards aquifer was about 365,000 acre-ft from 1934 to1998, with sizeable fluctuations related to annual variations in rainfall. Withdrawals through pumping have increased steadily from about 250,000 acre-ft during the 1960s to over 400,000 acre-ft in the 1990s in response to population growth, especially in the San Antonio metropolitan area (Slattery and Brown, 1999). Average annual recharge to the system (determined through stream gaging) has also varied considerably with annual rainfall fluctuations, but has been about 635,000 acre-ft over the last several decades.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Three-dimensional geologic framework modeling of faulted hydrostratigraphic units within the Edwards Aquifer, Northern Bexar County, Texas
Scientific Investigations Report
17 p.; 1 CD-ROM : ill. (some col.), maps (some col.) ; 4 3/4 in.