The Springfield Plateau and Ozark aquifers are important sources of ground water in the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system. Water from these aquifers is used for agricultural, domestic, industrial, and municipal water sources. Changing water use over time in these aquifers presents a need for updated potentiometric-surface maps of the Springfield Plateau and Ozark aquifers.
The Springfield Plateau aquifer consists of water-bearing Mississippian-age limestone and chert. The Ozark aquifer consists of Late Cambrian to Middle Devonian age water-bearing rocks consisting of dolostone, limestone, and sandstone. Both aquifers are complex with areally varying lithologies, discrete hydrologic units, varying permeabilities, and secondary permeabilities related to fractures and karst features.
During the spring of 2006, ground-water levels were measured in 285 wells. These data, and water levels from selected lakes, rivers, and springs, were used to create potentiometric-surface maps for the Springfield Plateau and Ozark aquifers. Linear kriging was used initially to construct the water-level contours on the maps; the contours were subsequently modified using hydrologic judgment. The potentiometric-surface maps presented in this report represent ground-water conditions during the spring of 2006. During the spring of 2006, the region received less than average rainfall. Dry conditions prior to the spring of 2006 could have contributed to the observed water levels as well.
The potentiometric-surface map of the Springfield Plateau aquifer shows a maximum measured water-level altitude within the study area of about 1,450 feet at a spring in Barry County, Missouri, and a minimum measured water-level altitude of 579 feet at a well in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. Cones of depression occur in Dade, Lawrence and Newton Counties in Missouri and Delaware and Ottawa Counties in Oklahoma. These cones of depression are associated with private wells. Ground water in the Springfield Plateau aquifer generally flows to the west in the study area, and to surface features (lakes, rivers, and springs) particularly in the south and east of the study area where the Springfield Plateau aquifer is closest to land surface.
The potentiometric-surface map of the Ozark aquifer indicates a maximum measured water-level altitude of 1,303 feet in the study area at a well in Washington County, Arkansas, and a minimum measured water-level altitude of 390 feet in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. The water in the Ozark aquifer generally flows to the northwest in the northern part of the study area and to the west in the remaining study area. Cones of depression occur in Barry, Barton, Cedar, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Newton, and Vernon Counties in Missouri, Cherokee and Crawford Counties in Kansas, and Craig and Ottawa Counties in Oklahoma. These cones of depression are associated with municipal supply wells. The flow directions, based on both potentiometric-surface maps, generally agree with flow directions indicated by previous studies.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Potentiometric Surfaces in the Springfield Plateau and Ozark Aquifers of Northwestern Arkansas, Southeastern Kansas, Southwestern Missouri, and Northeastern Oklahoma, 2006