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Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5068

Groundwater Resources Program

Characterization of the Structure, Clean-Sand Percentage, Dissolved-Solids Concentrations, and Estimated Quantity of Groundwater in the Upper Cretaceous Nacatoch Sand and Tokio Formation, Arkansas

By Jonathan A. Gillip

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (3.5 MB)Abstract

The West Gulf Coastal Plain, Mississippi embayment, and underlying Cretaceous aquifers are rich in water resources; however, large parts of the aquifers are largely unusable because of large concentrations of dissolved solids. Cretaceous aquifers are known to have large concentrations of salinity in some parts of Arkansas. The Nacatoch Sand and the Tokio Formation of Upper Cretaceous age were chosen for investigation because these aquifers produce groundwater to wells near their outcrops and have large salinity concentrations away from their outcrop areas. Previous investigations have indicated that dissolved-solids concentrations of groundwater within the Nacatoch Sand, 2–20 miles downdip from the outcrop, render the groundwater as unusable for purposes requiring freshwater. Groundwater within the Tokio Formation also exhibits large concentrations of dissolved solids downdip. Water-quality data showing elevated dissolved-solids concentrations are limited for these Cretaceous aquifers because other shallower aquifers are used for water supply. Although not suitable for many uses, large, unused amounts of saline groundwater are present in these aquifers. Historical borehole geophysical logs were used to determine the geologic and hydrogeologic properties of these Cretaceous aquifers, as well as the quality of the groundwater within the aquifers. Based on the interpretation of borehole geophysical logs, in Arkansas, the altitude of the top of the Nacatoch Sand ranges from more than 200 to less than -4,000 feet; the structural high occurs in the outcrop area and the structural low occurs in southeastern Arkansas near the Desha Basin structural feature. The thickness of the Nacatoch Sand ranges from 0 to over 550 feet. The minimum thickness occurs where the formation pinches out in the outcrop area, and the maximum thickness occurs in the southwestern corner of Arkansas. Other areas of large thickness include the area of the Desha Basin structural feature in southeastern Arkansas and in an area on the border of Cross and St. Francis Counties in eastern Arkansas. The clean-sand percentage of the total Nacatoch Sand thickness ranges from less than 20 percent to more than 60 percent and generally decreases downdip. The Nacatoch Sand contains more than 120.5 million acre-feet of water with a dissolved-solids concentration between 1,000 and 10,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L), more than 57.5 million acre-feet of water with a dissolved-solids concentration between 10,000 and 35,000 mg/L, and more than 122.5 million acre-feet of water with a dissolved-solids concentration more than 35,000 mg/L. The altitude of the top of the Tokio Formation, in Arkansas, ranges from more than 200 feet to less than -4,400 feet; the structural high occurs in the outcrop area and the structural low occurs in southeastern Arkansas near the Desha Basin structural feature. The thickness of the Tokio Formation, in Arkansas, ranges from 0 to over 400 feet. The minimum thickness occurs where the formation pinches out in the outcrop area, and the maximum thickness occurs in the southwestern corner of Arkansas. The clean-sand percentage of the total Tokio Formation thickness ranges from less than 20 percent to more than 60 percent and generally decreases away from the outcrop area. The Tokio Formation contains more than 2.5 million acre-feet of water with a dissolved-solids concentration between 1,000 and 10,000 mg/L, more than 12.5 million acre-feet of water with a dissolved-solids concentration between 10,000 and 35,000 mg/L, and nearly 43.5 million acre-feet of water with a dissolved-solids concentration more than 35,000 mg/L.

First posted April 25, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, Arkansas Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
401 Hardin Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72211-3528
http://ar.water.usgs.gov/

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Suggested citation:

Gillip, J.A., 2014, Characterization of the structure, clean-sand percentage, dissolved-solids concentrations, and estimated quantity of groundwater in the Upper Cretaceous Nacatoch Sand and Tokio Formation, Arkansas: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5068, 23 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20145068.

ISSN 2328-0328 (online)



Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Purpose and Scope

Previous Investigations

Methods

Altitude of the Tops and Thicknesses of the Nacatoch Sand and Tokio Formation

Thickness and Clean-Sand Percentage of the Nacatoch Sand and the Tokio Formation

Dissolved-Solids Concentrations in the Nacatoch Sand and Tokio Formation

Estimated Quantity of Groundwater in the Nacatoch Sand and Tokio Formation

Limitations

Summary

References Cited


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