Reconnaissance of geology and ground water in the lower Grand River valley, South Dakota, with a section on Chemical quality of the ground water

Water Supply Paper 1298

, , and



The area described in this report is the flood plain of the Grand River and the bordering benchlands in Perkins and Corson Counties, S. Dak., from a point about 6 miles west of the town of Shadehill to the confluence of the Grand and Missouri Rivers near Mobridge.

The exposed bedrock formations include the Pierre shale, the Fox Hills sandstone, and the Hell Creek formation of Late Cretaceous age, and-the Ludlow member of the Fort Union formation of Tertiary (Paleocene) age. Some stringers of the Cannonball formation probably interfinger with beds of the Ludlow member but none of the former was identified during the field investigations. The Pierre shale is exposed from the mouth of the Grand River to approximately the center of the area. Although a few wells in the area obtain water from this formation, it is not generally considered to be a source of supply. The Fox Hills sandstone, the Hell Creek formation, and the Ludlow member of the Fort Union formation are exposed successively upstream and, where saturated, yield small to moderate quantities of water to wells.

Unconsolidated deposits of silt, sand, and gravel occur in several physiographic positions; they underlie the high benchland on both sides of the river, the poorly defined terraces along the river, and the flood plain throughout its entire length. Possibly all these unconsolidated deposits are water bearing; however, where the deposits on the benchland and in the terraces are dissected by streams, they probably contain little or no water.

The average depth to ground water along the lower Grand River valley is about 17 feet. Probably, the flow of ground water in the bottom lands is nearly parallel to and slightly toward the surface stream. The measurements of the water level in observation wells for the period 1946-48 indicate that the fluctuations of the water table are small.

The results of analyses of 13 samples of ground water from the alluvium and the Hell Creek formation show that the suitability of the ground water for use varies because of the considerable range in mineralization and composition. Dissolved solids ranged from 343 to 4,250 parts per million (ppm), hardness from 11 to 1,130 ppm, and percentage of sodium from 25 to 98. Concentrations of some of the individual constituents exceed standards of the United States Public Health Service. The water is moderately hard and contains undesirable amounts of iron and moderate to large amounts of dissolved solids. In general, the water quality ranges from excellent to unsuitable for irrigation use. The result of the mixing of the ground water with recharge water from Shadehill Reservoir cannot be predicted on the basis of available data.

The geologic and hydrologic data in this report were obtained from earlier reports and from field observations during the period 1946-48. The report includes a geologic map and tabulated well records.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Reconnaissance of geology and ground water in the lower Grand River valley, South Dakota, with a section on Chemical quality of the ground water
Series title:
Water Supply Paper
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Government Print Office
Publisher location:
Washington, DC
Report: iv, 33 p.; 2 Plates: 30.00 x 18.15 inches and 27.50 x 9.69 inches
United States
South Dakota
Other Geospatial:
Grand River Valley
Online Only (Y/N):
Additional Online Files (Y/N):