Ground and surface water in the Mesabi and Vermilion Iron Range area, northeastern Minnesota

Water Supply Paper 1759-A
Prepared in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation
By: , and 



Within the Mesabi-Vermilion Iron Range area, water of good quality is available from the Biwabik Iron-Formation, from stratified drift, and from lakes and streams. About 700 bgy (billion gallons a year) leaves the area as surface water, of which about one-third comes from ground water.

Leached, oxidized, and fractured parts of the Biwabik Iron-Formation yield as much as 1,000 gpm (gallons per minute) to wells. Much of the permeable stratified drift within the area underlies the Ice-Contact region and the Horainal and Ice-Contact region, and several wells drilled in drift have been pumped at rates of more than 1,000 gpm.

Parts of three major drainage basins lie within the area, and lakes compose about 5 percent of the area. Low-flow and flood-frequency data have been compiled for many of the streams. Large quantities of surface water are available from the Border-Lakes region and the Morainal and Ice-Contact region.

The quality of ground water from the Biwabik Iron-Formation and from the drift is similar. The water is generally moderately siliceous, hard or very hard, and contains much iron and manganese. Surface water is generally soft, contains much iron, and is highly colored.

Large uses of water in the area include: taconite processing (50 bgy), wash-ore processing (19 bgy), power plants (63 bgy), municipal water supplies (3 bgy) and paper processing (1 bgy). Optimum development of the water resources might be achieved by using streamflow in the spring and stunner and ground-water and surface-water storage in the fall and winter.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Ground and surface water in the Mesabi and Vermilion Iron Range area, northeastern Minnesota
Series title Water Supply Paper
Series number 1759
Chapter A
DOI 10.3133/wsp1759A
Year Published 1965
Language English
Publisher U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location Washington, DC
Contributing office(s) Minnesota Water Science Center
Description Document: iv, 35 p.; 1 Plate: 23.00 x 17.00 inches
Country United States
State Minnesota
Other Geospatial Mesabi and Vermilion Iron Range area
Scale 303000
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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