Hydrogeologic framework of Pennsylvanian and Late Mississippian rocks in the central lower peninsula of Michigan

Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4107




Late Mississippian and Pennsylvanian sedimentary rocks form part of a regional system of aquifers and confining units in the central Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The upper part of the Pennsylvanian rock sequence constitutes the Saginaw aquifer, which consists primarily of sandstone. This sandstone aquifer overlies the Saginaw confining unit, which consists primarily of shale. The Saginaw confining unit separates the Saginaw aquifer from the Parma-Bayport aquifer, which consists primarily of permeable sandstones and carbonates; these permeable units are interpreted to be hydraulically connected and stratigraphically continuous at the scale of the regional aquifer system.

The Saginaw aquifer ranges in thickness from 100 to 370 feet along a 30- to 45-milewide south-trending corridor through the approximate center of the aquifer system. The Saginaw aquifer typically contains freshwater along this corridor of thick sandstone. Most municipalities that use water from the Saginaw aquifer are located along this corridor. On either side of this corridor, the Saginaw aquifer generally is less than 100-feet thick, and typically contains saline water. Altitude of the surface of the Saginaw aquifer ranges from 800 to 900 feet in the northern part of the aquifer system, and from 500 to 600 feet in the southern part. Altitude of the top of the Saginaw aquifer is lower in the western and eastern parts of the aquifer system (typically 400 to 500 feet). The Saginaw confining unit is thickest in the northwestern part of the aquifer system (100 to 240 feet thick); however, thickness decreases to 50 feet in the southeast. Thickness of the Parma-Bayport aquifer generally ranges from 100 to 150 feet. The surface configuration of this aquifer is similar in shape to the Saginaw aquifer; altitudes are highest in the southern and northern parts of the aquifer system (900 and 500 feet, respectively). Lowest altitude (approximately -100 feet) of the Parma-Bayport aquifer is in the east-central part of the basin. The Parma-Bayport aquifer contains freshwater in subcrop areas where it is in direct-hydraulic connection to permeable glacial deposits; however, this aquifer contains saline water or brine down dip from subcrop areas.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeologic framework of Pennsylvanian and Late Mississippian rocks in the central lower peninsula of Michigan
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Michigan Water Science Center
iv, 44 p.
United States