Controls on ground-water chemistry in the Horse Heaven Hills, south-central Washington

Water-Resources Investigations Report 85-4048
By: , and 



Miocene basaltic aquifers are the source of domestic and municipal water, and about 20,000 acre-feet of irrigation water annually, in the Horse Heaven Hills in south-central Washington State. Groundwater chemical variations derive from the hydraulic characteristics is of the geohydrologic system, from groundwater basalt reactions, and from irrigation. Some dissolved species concentrations increase with residence time; others decrease. Recharge area groundwaters are calcium magnesium sodium bicarbonate waters with sodium-adsorption ratios (SAR's) less than 1.0. They evolve to sodium potassium bicarbonate waters with SAR 's as high as 17. Glassy and cryptocrystalline phases of the basalt are the main sources of dissolved sodium. They dissolve by silicate hydrolysis in carbon dioxide charged waters that recharge the aquifer system. Dissolved silicon, iron, and aluminum concentrations are controlled by the solubilities of amorphous secondary alteration products, which order to silica phases, oxyhydroxides, and smectite. Carbonate mineral precipitation is induced by increasing pH from the hydrolysis reaction. Sodium and potassium concentrations increase until clinoptilolite saturation is reached and precipitation begins. Deviations from the general variation patterns are due to localized geologic structures which distort the groundwater flow system, and to the irrigation use of Columbia River water. (USGS)

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Controls on ground-water chemistry in the Horse Heaven Hills, south-central Washington
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 85-4048
DOI 10.3133/wri854048
Edition -
Year Published 1985
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey,
Description v, 26 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.