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Historical saturated thickness of the Edwards-Trinity aquifer system and selected contiguous hydraulically connected units, west-central Texas

Water-Resources Investigations Report 92-4125

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Abstract

The Edwards-Trinity Regional Aquifer-System Analysis (RASA) is one of 25 completed or ongoing studies conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey on regional aquifer systems that individually provide essential quantities of ground water to large parts of the country. Underlying about 42,000 mi2 of west-central Texas, the Edwards-Trinity aquifer system extends approximately from Atascosa County in the southeast to Culberson County in the northwest and from the Rio Grande in the southwest to the Colorado River in the northeast (sheet 2). The Edwards-Trinity aquifer system spans four geographic subareas: Trans-Pecos, Edwards Plateau, Hill Country, and Balcones fault zone (fig. 1). The names of all aquifers in the study area were adopted for RASA purposes directly from nomenclature mandated by the Texas Water Plan (Texas Water Development Board, 1990).

The Cretaceous rocks that compose the Edwards-Trinity aquifer system are primarily limestone and dolomite rock, with lesser quantities of terrigenous sand. Although the lithology varies locally and the rocks are not everywhere permeable in all directions, they combine to form a single regional aquifer system. The aquifer system comprises three aquifers and two confining units (figs. 2 and 3). The water-yielding units are the Edwards aquifer of the Balcones fault zone, the Trinity aquifer of the Balcones fault zone and Hill Country, and the Edwards-Trinity aquifer of the Edwards Plateau and Trans-Pecos. The confining units are the Hammett confining unit, which confines basal parts of the Trinity aquifer in the Hill Country and the Edwards-Trinity aquifer in the eastern part of the Edwards Plateau, and the Navarro-Del Rio confining unit, which confines the Edwards and Trinity aquifers along the southeastern margin of the Balcones fault zone. Parts of the aquifer system not overlain by one of these confining units are unconfined, or nearly so.

The purposes of this report are to illustrate the historical distribution of saturated thickness (hereafter referred to as the saturated thickness) in the Edwards-Trinity aquifer system, summarize the reasons for the variation in the saturated thickness, and relate the regional effects of this variation to the distribution of transmissivity. The saturated thickness map (sheet 2) was determined for most of the area by subtracting the altitude of the base of the aquifer system (Barker and Ardis, 1992) from the altitude of the historical potentiometric surface (Bush and others, 1993). Where the Edwards and Trinity aquifers are confined in the Balcones fault zone, the saturated thickness is defined by the thickness of the aquifer system, which was determined by subtracting the altitude of the base of the aquifer system from the altitude of the base of the Navarro-Del Rio confining unit (G.E. Groschen and W.G. Stein, U.S. Geological Survey, written commun, 1990).

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Historical saturated thickness of the Edwards-Trinity aquifer system and selected contiguous hydraulically connected units, west-central Texas
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
92-4125
Year Published:
1993
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Austin, TX
Contributing office(s):
Texas Water Science Center
Description:
2 Plates: 36.50 x 25.82 inches
Country:
United States
State:
Texas
Other Geospatial:
Edwards-Trinity aquifer system
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N