Aquifer Characteristics, Water Availability, and Water Quality of the Quaternary Aquifer, Osage County, Northeastern Oklahoma, 2001-2002

By S.L. Mashburn, C.C. Cope, and M.M. Abbott

Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4235


Prepared in cooperation with the
Osage Tribal Council amd Bureau of Indian Affairs


The report is available in PDF format.


Additional sources of water are needed on the Osage Reservation for future growth and development. The Quaternary aquifer along the Arkansas River in the Osage Reservation may represent a substantial water resource, but limited amounts of hydrogeologic data were available for the aquifer. The study area is about 116 square miles of the Quaternary aquifer in the Arkansas River valley and the nearby upland areas along the Osage Reservation. The study area included the Arkansas River reach downstream from Kaw Lake near Ponca City, Oklahoma to upstream from Keystone Lake near Cleveland, Oklahoma.

Electrical conductivity logs were produced for 103 test holes. Water levels were determined for 49 test holes, and 105 water samples were collected for water-quality field analyses at 46 test holes. Water-quality data included field measurements of specific conductance, pH, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and nitrate (nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen). Sediment cores were extracted from 20 of the 103 test holes.

The Quaternary aquifer consists of alluvial and terrace deposits of sand, silt, clay, and gravel. The measured thickness of the alluvium ranged from 13.7 to 49.8 feet. The measured thickness of the terrace sediments ranged from 7 to 93.8 feet. The saturated thickness of all sediments ranged from 0 to 38.2 feet with a median of 24.8 feet. The weighted-mean grain size for cores from the alluvium ranged from 3.69 to 0.64 φ, (0.08- 0.64 millimeter), and ranged from 4.02 to 2.01 φ (0.06-0.25 millimeter) for the cores from terrace deposits. The mean of the weighted-mean grain sizes for cores from the alluvium was 1.67 φ (0.31 millimeter), and the terrace deposits was 2.73 φ (0.15 millimeter). The hydraulic conductivity calculated from grain size of the alluvium ranged from 2.9 to 6,000 feet per day and of the terrace deposits ranged from 2.9 to 430 feet per day. The calculated transmissivity of the alluvium ranged from 2,000 to 26,000 feet squared per day with a median of 5,100 feet squared per day. Water in storage in the alluvium was estimated to be approximately 200,000 acre-feet. The amount of water annually recharging the aquifer was estimated to be approximately 4,800 acre-feet.

Specific conductance for all water samples ranged from 161 to 6,650 microsiemens per centimeter. Median specific conductance for the alluvium was 683 microsiemens per centimeter and for the terrace deposits was 263 microsiemens per centimeter. Dissolved-solids concentrations, estimated from specific conductance, for water samples from the aquifer ranged from 88 to 3,658 milligrams per liter. Estimated median dissolved- solids concentration for the alluvium was 376 milligrams per liter and for the terrace deposits was 145 milligrams per liter. More than half of the samples from the Quaternary aquifer were estimated to contain less than 500 milligrams per liter dissolved solids. Field-screened nitrate concentrations for the sampling in December 2001-August 2002 ranged from 0 to 15 milligrams per liter. The field-screened nitrate concentrations for the second sampling in September 2002 were less than corresponding laboratory reported values.




Purpose and Scope


Description of study area

Description of Quaternary aquifer


Site selection

Field procedures

Electrical conductivity logs

Water levels and water samples

Laboratory core analysis

Aquifer characteristics

Sediment thickness

Saturated thickness

Sediment grain size

Net sand

Calculated hydraulic conductivity and transmissivity

Water availability

Water quality


Selected references


  1. Test hole data for the Quaternary aquifer, western Osage County, Oklahoma
  2. Water-quality data for the Quaternary aquifer, western Osage County, Oklahoma, 2001-2002.
  3. Sieve data and calculated hydraulic conductivity for the Quaternary aquifer, western Osage County, Oklahoma


For additional information write to:


District Chief

U.S. Geological Survey

Water-Resources Division

202 NW 66 St., Bldg. 7

Oklahoma City, OK 73116


Copies of this report can be purchased from:


U.S. Geological Survey

Information Services

Box 25286

Federal Center

Denver, CO 80225

Download the PDF version of the report for high-resolution, printable pages (3.5MB).

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