Laramie County, an area of 2,709 square miles, is in the southeast corner of Wyoming. Rocks exposed there range in age from Precambrian to Recent. The most extensive aquifers in the county are the White River Formation of Oligocene age, which is as much as 500 feet thick and consists predominantly of siltstone ; the Arikaree Formation of Miocene age, which consists of as much as 450 feet of very fine grained to fine-grained sandstone; and the Ogallala Formation of Miocene and Pliocene age, which consists ,of as much as 330 feet of gravel, sand, silt, and some cobbles and boulders. These formations are capable of yielding large ,supplies of water locally. Terrace deposits of Quaternary age yield moderate .to large supplies of water in the southeastern and northeastern parts of the county.
In the Federal well field, large yields of water from the White River Formation are obtained from gravel lenses. In the eastern part of the county near Pine Bluffs, large yields are obtained from openings in .the siltstone of the White River. Previous investigators reported that the large yields were obtained in areas where the formation is fractured and fissured. The authors of this report believe that .the large yields from siltstone in the White River Formation are from pipes, sometimes called natural tunnels, rather than from fractures ,or fissures.
Little is known about the water-bearing properties of the pro-Tertiary aquifers in the county, but water derived from the pro-Tertiary formations would probably be of poor quality, except in the vicinity of the outcrop near the western edge of the county.
Precipitation is the principal source of recharge to the ground-water reservoirs. About 5 percent of the annual precipitation, or about 108,400 acre-feet per year, is estimated to be recharged. Only a small amount of additional recharge is from streams. The general movement of ground water is eastward, and the average gradient of the water table is about 40 feet per mile. The total amount ,of ground water pumped from wells in Laramie County during 1964 is estimated to be 28,000 acre-feet; about 6,000 acre-feet was used for municipal and industrial supplies, about 17,000 acre-feet was used for irrigation in the Pine Bluffs-Carpenter area, and about 5,000 acre-feet was used for other purposes. The balance of the recharge (80,400 acre-feet) is estimated to be discharged by the following means: 20 percent by underflow, 20 percent by streamflow, and 60 percent by evapotranspiration.
The coefficient of transmissibility of the Ogallala Formation, determined by averaging data from 28 pumping tests made in the Cheyenne municipal well field, is about 16,000 gallons per day per foot. However, this figure is an average of the more permeable zones, and the average coefficient of transmissibility of the Ogallala in the county is probably much less because of the heterogeneous character of the formation. A coefficient of transmissibility of 3,800 gallons per day per foot was calculated for the Ogallala, in the same vicinity that the pumping tests were made, by using a regional method of analysis. Although the average transmissibility of the Ogallala is considered to be low, large yields are obtained from gravel stringers and lenses in the formation. The maximum perennial yield from the Cheyenne well field is estimated to be about 1.6 billion gallons per year.
Moderate to large yields of water can be obtained in the north-central part of the county where the saturated thickness of the Arikaree Formation, or combined Arikaree and Ogallala Formations, is 200 feet or more.
Ground water has been developed throughout the county, but development has been intensive only in the Cheyenne municipal well fields near Cheyenne and Federal and in the Pine Bluffs lowland. The water level has been lowered as much as 40 feet in the Cheyenne well field and somewhat less in the Federal well field.
Interference between wells occurs in the Pine Bluffs
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Geology and ground-water resources of Laramie County, Wyoming; with a section on Chemical quality of ground water and of surface water
Water Supply Paper
U.S. Govt. Print. Off.,
iv, 71 p. :illus., maps (2 fold. col. in pocket) ;24 cm.