Geology and ground-water resources of Rock County, Wisconsin

Water Supply Paper 1619-X
Prepared in cooperation with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey



Rock County is in south-central Wisconsin adjacent to the Illinois State line. The county has an area of about 723 square miles and had a population of about 113,000 in 1957 ; it is one of the leading agricultural and industrial counties in the State. The total annual precipitation averages about 32 inches, and the mean annual temperature is about 48 ? F. Land-surface altitudes are generally between 800 and 00 feet, but range from 731 feet, where the Rock River flows into Illinois, to above 1,080 feet, at several places in the northwestern part of the county. The northern part of Rock County consists of the hills and kettles of a terminal moraine which slopes southward to a flat, undissected outwash plain. The southeastern part of the county is an area of gentle slopes, whereas the southwestern part consists of steep-sided valleys and ridges. Rock County is within the drainage basin of the Rock River, which flows southward through the center of the county. The western and southwestern parts of ,the county are drained by the Sugar River und Coon Creek, both of which flow into the Pecatonica River in Illinois and thence into the Rock River. The southeastern part of the county is drained by Turtle Creek, which also flows into Illinois before joining the Rock River. Nearly all the lakes and ponds are in the northern one-third of the county, the area of most recent glaciation. The aquifers in Rock County are of sedimentary origin and include deeply buried sandstones, shales, and dolomites of the Upper Cambrian series. This series overlies crystalline rocks of Precambrian age and supplies water to all the cities and villages in the county. The St. Peter sandstone of Ordovician age underlies all Rock County except where the formation has been removed by erosion in the Rock and Sugar River valleys, and perhaps in Coon Creek valley. The St. Peter sandstone is the principal source of water for domestic, stock, and small industrial wells in the western half of the county. This sandstone also yields some water to uncased wells that tap the deeper rocks of the Upper Cambrian series. East of the Rock River the Platteville, Decorah, and Galena formations undifferentiated, or Platteville-Galena unit, is the principal source of water for domestic and stock wells. Unconsolidated deposits of glacial origin cover most of Rock County and supply water to many small wells. In the outwash deposits along the Rock River, wells of extremely high capacity have been developed for industrial and municipal use. The most significant feature of the bedrock surface in Rock County is the ancestral Rock River valley, which has been filled with glacial outwash to a depth of at least 396 feet below the present land surface. East of the buried valley the bedrock has a fiat, relatively undissected surface. West of the valley the bedrock surface is rugged and greatly dissected. Ground water in Rock County occurs under both water-table and artesian conditions; however, because of the interconnection and close relation of all ground water in the county, the entire system is considered to be a single groundwater body whose surface may be represented by one piezometric map. Recharge occurs locally, throughout the county. Nearly all recharge is derived directly from precipitation that percolates downward to become a part of the groundwater body. Natural movement of water in the consolidated water-bearing units is generally toward the buried Rock and Sugar River valleys. Movement of water in the sandstones of Cambrian age was calculated to be about 44 million gallons a day toward the Rock River. Discharge from wells in Rock County in 1957 was about 23 million gallons a day. Nearly 90 percent of this water was drawn from the area along the Rock River. Drilled wells, most of which were drilled by the cable-tool method, range in diameter from 3 to 26 inches, and in depth from 46 to 1,225 feet. Driven wells in alluvium and glacial drift are usually 1? to 2? in

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Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Geology and ground-water resources of Rock County, Wisconsin
Series title Water Supply Paper
Series number 1619
Chapter X
DOI 10.3133/wsp1619X
Year Published 1964
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Wisconsin Water Science Center
Description Report: iv, 50 p.; 5 Plates: 36.5 x 28.75 inches or smaller
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Contributions to the hydrology of the United States
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Rock County
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details