Digital surfaces of selected Tertiary and younger age hydrogeologic units within the Mississippi embayment aquifer system were created using more than 2,600 geophysical logs for an area that covers approximately 70,000 square miles and encompasses parts of eight states. The digital surfaces were developed to define and display the hydrogeologic framework for the Mississippi Embayment Regional Aquifer Study (MERAS). The digital surfaces also provide a foundation of the selected hydrogeologic units for development of a steady-state and transient regional ground-water flow model of the Mississippi embayment aquifer system from the top of the Midway confining unit upwards to land surface. The ground-water flow model is under development as part of the U.S. Geological Survey Ground-Water Resources Program.
Using a Geographic Information System, nine digital surfaces of the tops of selected hydrogeologic units were created using the Australian National University Digital Elevation Model method as an interpolation scheme. Thickness maps also were constructed using the Geographic Information System by calculating the difference between the altitude of the interpreted base of an overlying unit and the altitude of the interpreted top of an underlying unit. In general, the highest hydrogeologic unit altitudes are located along the eastern edge of the study area in the outcrop, and the lowest altitudes, in general, are located along the southern edge of the study area along the axis of the embayment. The Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer and the lower Claiborne aquifer are the thinnest aquifers of importance in the study area; the thickest aquifer of importance is the middle Claiborne aquifer.