Exploratory water-well drilling in the Houston District, Texas

Water Supply Paper 889-D

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In the spring and summer of 1939 a program of exploratory drilling wad undertaken in the Houston district, Tx., in conjunction with a general initiation of the water resources of the district. The main purposes of the program were to determine the thickness and character of water-bearing sands down to a maximum depth of 2,000 feet, the chemical character of the water at different depths, and the artesian pressure and to provide additional observation wells for studying fluctuations in artesian pressure and possibilities of intrusion of salt water from the direction of the Gulf. Thirteen deep test wells, 5? inches in diameter and ranging in depth from 360 to 2,000 feet, were put down with a hydraulic rotary drill by the city of Houston. The combined drilling footage of all of the wells amounted to 17,460 feet, and their averse depth was 1,246 feet. All were electrically logged. Samples of cuttings were collected from the drilling mud after every 20 feet of drilling. In 6 of the wells sand samples were obtained by core drilling in beds at selected horizons, about 230 feet being recovered. A total of 15 samples of sand and water were obtained in 8 wells by the drill-stem method. Side-wall sampling was attempted. Six of the test holes were cased with 3? casing (inside diameter) and equipped with screens so that water-level measurements could be made and samples of water collected for chemical analyses , Selected sand samples were analyzed and tested in a field laboratory for mechanical composition, permeability, and porosity. The field and laboratory data were studied with special reference to the significance of the electrical logs. A comparison of the electrical logs of the test wells with the driller's logs shows that, on the whole, they agree remarkably well in fixing the upper and lower limits of the thicker beds of sand and clay, but that the agreement is not so close where the beds are thin. Variable results were obtained from attempts to correlate the second curve of the electrical log with the permeability and mechanical composition of the sand samples obtained by core drilling and drill-stem sampling. In the case of the core samples there was no apparent relationship between any of the three characteristics in well 3, but in well 5 a slight but distinct increase in the resistivity was accompanied by a large increase in permeability. In well 6 the resistivity in nearly every case varied with the permeability and coarseness of the samples. In well 6 the drilling mud was local clay enriched with Aquagel, whereas in wells 3 and 5 only local clay was used; the data obtained, however, are too meager to be used on a basis for even a tentative conclusion as to the effect of artificial mud on the correlations. In the 15 drill-stem sand samples the data show that, in general, the resistivity of sands having fluid content varies with but is not proportional to the permeability, but there seems to be little or no relationship between the coarseness of the sands and either the resistivity or the permeability. Studies of the relationship of the electrical logs to the salinity of the water indicate that increasing chloride is accompanied by decreasing resistivity. They suggest .that changes in the chloride content are accompanied by large changes in resistivity when the water contains less than 100 parts per million of chloride and by relatively small changes when the chloride content is over 100 parts per million. On the whole, the results of the test drilling from Houston tend to show that, although electrical logs give much information that is useful in the development of water wells, for the present at least these logs should be used in conjunction with driller's logs and drill-stem sampling of both sand and water in all the more promising sand horizons. The tests indicate that an average of 600 feet of .water-bearing sands occurs between the surface and a depth of 1,500 feet along the line of test wells we

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Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Exploratory water-well drilling in the Houston District, Texas
Series title:
Water Supply Paper
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Texas Water Science Center
32 p.
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