Reconnaissance investigation of the geology and hydrogeology of Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas

Water-Resources Investigations Report 93-4037

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force, Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas



An investigation at Lackland Air Force Base and Lackland Air Force Base Training Annex (Medina Base) was conducted from May to September 1988 to delineate the subsurface geology, to describe the hydrogeology within the study area, and to determine possible migration pathways for contaminants. Data from this investigation supplement data collected in conjunction with other Air Training Command studies conducted under the Installation Restoration Program.

The geologic formations in the vicinity of Lackland Air Force Base and Medina Base consist of sedimentary rocks of Cretaceous, Tertiary, and Quaternary age. The lithology of these formations consists primarily of limestone and marl, with lesser amounts of gravel, sand, silt, shale, and clay. The formations that comprise the geologic setting at Lackland Air Force Base and Medina Base include the Navarro Group of Late Cretaceous age, the Midway Group and Uvalde Gravel of Tertiary age, and the Leona Formation and fluviatile terrace deposits of Quaternary age.

The age of the faulting within the study area has not been determined accurately, but the faulting might have occurred during intervals from Early Cretaceous to Holocene time. During these tectonic episodes, uplift of the Edwards Plateau might have occurred. This uplift could have enhanced erosion of the Cretaceous age Edwards Group, which is north of the study area, causing deposition of alluvial deposits south of this tectonic activity. The Leona Formation is composed of limestone gravel deposits forming terraces in the valleys of present streams. In general, these terraces are topographically lower than those formed by the Uvalde Gravel. In contrast, the fluviatile terrace deposits are above flood level along entrenched streams such as Leon and Medio Creeks. The Leona Formation is generally above the level of these fluviatile terrace deposits.

A review of the hydrogeologic literature indicated that the Navarro and Midway Groups do not yield water to wells in Bexar County. However, recent studies by the U.S. Geological Survey at Kelly Air Force Base indicate that the uppermost beds of the Navarro Group can be saturated but yield little or no water to wells. Each stream terrace deposit of the Leona Formation and the fluviatile terrace deposits are separate water-bearing units. At Lackland Air Force Base, shallow ground water is present in the Leona Formation and the flow probably is toward Leon Creek. At Medina Base, the fluviatile terrace deposits are present along both banks of Medio Creek and probably are separate water-bearing units. Furthermore, ground-water flow in each of these units probably is toward Medio Creek. The Uvalde Gravel, present only at and west of Medina Base, is not a source of shallow ground water. However, during periods of precipitation, the formation can readily absorb precipitation and surface runoff. Water drains quickly through the formation because of its topographically high position and substantial hydraulic conductivity.

Major pathways of potential contaminant migration off the bases include the local streams of Medio and Leon Creeks, and to a lesser extent, the shallow ground water beneath the bases. Although the Uvalde Gravel is not a source of shallow ground water at Medina Base, it drains water quickly, and wastes that might be buried in the gravel could be a potential source of contamination during brief ground-water recharge periods resulting from major precipitation.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Reconnaissance investigation of the geology and hydrogeology of Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Austin, TX
Contributing office(s):
Texas Water Science Center
iv, 20 p.
United States
San Antonio
Other Geospatial:
Lackland Air Force Base
Online Only (Y/N):
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