Spring Types and Contributing Aquifers from Water-Chemistry and Multivariate Statistical Analyses for Seeps and Springs in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, 2018

Scientific Investigations Report 2020-5121
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service
By:  and 

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Abstract

Water resources in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, support wildlife, visitors, and staff, and play a vital role in supporting the native ecology of the park. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the National Park Service, completed field work in 2018 for a study to address concerns about water availability and possible sources of groundwater contamination for seeps and springs in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The objective of the study was to improve hydrologic knowledge and determine the water composition of 11 seeps and springs in the park by collecting water-chemistry data at springs, streams, wells, and rain collectors.

Water samples were collected at 26 sites at springs, streams, wells, and rain collectors in the North and South Units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Samples in the North Unit were collected at 5 springs, 1 stream, 2 wells, and 1 rain collector. Samples in the South Unit were collected at 6 springs, 2 streams, 8 wells, and 1 rain collector. Samples from springs, streams, and wells were collected in May, July, and September 2018. Samples from rain collectors were collected when enough daily precipitation accumulated in the collectors. Sampled precipitation events during the study period were in May, June, July, August, and September 2018. Physical properties of sampled water—temperature, pH, and specific conductance—were measured in the field. Water samples were analyzed for stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen and for chloride concentration. Recharge rates for aquifers supplying springs were determined using precipitation volume and chloride concentrations for a 12-day period before the sample-collection date. Multivariate statistical analysis methods used on water-chemistry data included principal component analysis, cluster analysis, and end-member mixing analysis.

Water composition was used to determine the spring type and contributing aquifers for 11 springs in the North and South Units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park from analyses of water-chemistry data between May and September 2018. In the North Unit, Achenbach Spring was classified as a filtration spring with water from an unconfined part of the upper Fort Union aquifer and infiltration of precipitation. Hagen Spring, Mandal Spring, and Stevens Spring were classified as contact springs supplied by semiconfined parts of the upper Fort Union aquifer. Overlook Spring at one time may have been a natural spring or seep but now is a developed spring that behaves like a flowing artesian well completed in a confined part of the upper Fort Union aquifer. In the South Unit, six springs were classified into two spring types: filtration and contact springs. Boicourt Spring and Sheep Butte Spring were classified as filtration springs that have water supplied by unconfined parts of the upper Fort Union aquifer and infiltrated precipitation. Big Plateau Spring, Lone Tree Spring, Sheep Pasture Spring, and Southeast Corner Spring were classified as contact springs that receive waters from a semiconfined part of the upper Fort Union aquifer.

Suggested Citation

Medler, C.J., and Eldridge, W.G., 2021, Spring types and contributing aquifers from water-chemistry and multivariate statistical analyses for seeps and springs in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, 2018: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5121, 48 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205121.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

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Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods for Sample Collection and Water-Chemistry Data Analysis
  • Water-Chemistry and Multivariate Statistical Analyses
  • Spring Types and Contributing Aquifers
  • Data and Method Limitations
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Principal Component Analysis and Cluster Analysis with Water-Chemistry Data from a 1980s National Park Service Study in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Spring types and contributing aquifers from water-chemistry and multivariate statistical analyses for seeps and springs in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, 2018
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2020-5121
DOI 10.3133/sir20205121
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston VA
Contributing office(s) Dakota Water Science Center
Description Report: viii, 48 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State North Dakota
Other Geospatial Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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