Barton and Stafford County Geohydrology

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Table of Contents






Geologic History

Ground Water

Records of Typical Wells

Logs of Test Holes




Ground Water, continued

Discharge of Ground Water

Ground water is discharged from the underground reservoir in Barton and Stafford Counties by seepage into streams and marshes, evaporation and transpiration, and subsurface movement from the area, and by wells.

Seepage into Streams and Marshes

The water-table contours in Plate 1 show that ground water is moving toward many of the streams in this area and, in places, is discharging as effluent seepage into those streams. Ground water is discharged by this means into Arkansas River, into Rattlesnake, North Fork of Ninnescah, Cow, Walnut, and Little Cheyenne Creeks, and into Big and Little Marshes.

Evaporation and Transpiration

Transpiration is the process by which water is taken into the roots of plants directly from the zone of saturation or from the capillary fringe just above it, and is discharged into the atmosphere. The depth from which plants will lift the ground water varies with different plant species and different types of soil. Ordinary grasses and field crops will not send their roots more than a few feet in the search for water, but alfalfa and certain desert plants may send their roots several tens of feet to reach the water table.

In Barton and Stafford Counties the discharge of ground water by transpiration and evaporation occurs in the valley areas, near Big and Little Marshes, and in low places in the sand hills where the water table is shallow. Discharge of ground water by these two processes is particularly high in areas where the water table intersects the land surface or where the capillary fringe extends to the surface. Such areas are rather common in Big and Little Marshes and in the valleys of Rattlesnake, North Fork of Ninnescah, and Little Cheyenne Creeks, where seepage areas and marshy lands with abundant vegetation are characteristic. Ground water is also lost through transpiration and evaporation in parts of Arkansas and Blood Creek Valleys, in Cheyenne Bottoms, and in parts of the sand hills in Stafford and southern Barton Counties, where the water table is less than 10 feet below the surface. In Walnut, Dry Walnut, and Cow Creek Valleys the discharge of ground water from the zone of saturation by transpiration and evaporation is limited to areas adjacent to the stream channels where the water table is comparatively close to the surface.


The above discussion treats of the natural discharge of ground water, which probably accounts for the greatest part of ground water discharged in Barton and Stafford Counties. Additional ground water is discharged from the underground reservoir through wells for domestic, stock, municipal, industrial, and irrigation use. The total amount thus discharged annually is not known.

The development of groundwater supplies from wells is discussed in the following section.

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  Kansas Geological Survey, Barton and Stafford County Geohydrology
Comments to
Web version Dec. 2001. Original publication date Dec. 1950.