Hydrogeologic and water-quality characteristics of the Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer, Southeast Minnesota

Water-Resources Investigations Report 83-4045

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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Quality of water in the Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer is generally good, except for some localized contamination, Coal-tar derivatives that contaminate the aquifer in St. Louis Park, a western suburb in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, pose the most serious threat to water quality. High hardness and iron concentration limit suitability for municipal and industrial u se in parts of extreme southeast Minnesota. Confining beds of bedrock and drift, however, protect most of the aquifer from surface pollutants.

The Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer is part of a sequence of sedimentary bedrock units in southeast Minnesota. The Jordan Sandstone is a white to yellow, fine- to coarse-grained sandstone. The Prairie du Chien Group comprises two dolomitic formations that are vuggy and fractured and interbedded with thin layers of shale. The aquifer formations were deposited in Paleozoic seas that occupied the Hollandale embayment. The aquifer dips toward the interior of the embayment where it is as deep as 750 feet below land surface and as thick as 500 feet.

Permeability is secondary in the Prairie du Chien Group because of solution cavities and fractures, and intergranular in the Jordan Sandstone. Water in the aquifer is confined except in the eastern part. Water generally flows to the north and east into the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. A ground-water divide separates part of the flow southward into Iowa. This aquifer supplies more water than any other bedrock one in the State.

Calcium magnesium bicarbonate type water is most common in the aquifer. Calcium and sulfate and, to a lesser degree sodium and magnesium, increase in concentration toward the southwestern part of the study area. Bicarbonate concentration, on the other hand, decreases toward the southwestern corner of the study area. Leakage from overlying Cretaceous deposits is the source of much of the sulfate and other minerals in the southwest.

This report is one of a series on the hydrogeology and water quality of the 14 principal aquifers in Minnesota prepared by the U. S. Geological Survey. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency requested these studies because of the need for information to develop its Underground Injection Control Program.

Study Area

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Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeologic and water-quality characteristics of the Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer, Southeast Minnesota
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Minnesota Water Science Center
2 Plates: 39.28 x 33.33 inches and 39.08 x 33.41 inches
United States
Other Geospatial:
Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer
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