The ground-water conditions in Marshall County are discussed below by regions that are established on the basis of the chief aquifer or group of aquifers within the area. The boundaries of the regions as shown on Plate 3 are generalized, and the following discussion does not apply to each individual well within a given region. Some wells which were constructed to supply a rather limited need do not penetrate deeply enough to obtain water from the most productive aquifer.
Within the regions designated 1, glacial till and associated deposits are the chief aquifers. The depth to water and the quantity and quality of water available are extremely variable in these regions. An adequate supply of water suitable for domestic and stock needs can be developed nearly everywhere within these areas. Many wells extend a few feet into the underlying bedrock but derive their water from glacial gravel deposits overlying the bedrock.
Moderate to large supplies of water are available from sand and gravel in the alluvium and terrace deposits of Marshall County. Such deposits locally attain thicknesses as great as 75 feet and contain considerable thicknesses of saturated coarse gravel. The regions in which alluvium and terrace deposits are the chief aquifers are designated 2 on Plate 3.
Permian rocks younger than the Barneston limestone are the chief aquifers in the regions designated 3 on Plate 3. Most wells within these regions supply only small quantities of water. In some parts of these regions larger supplies of water could be obtained by constructing wells deep enough to penetrate the Barneston limestone, but the water would be more highly mineralized than in areas in which the Barneston limestone is not so deeply buried.
The Barneston limestone is the chief aquifer in the regions designated 4 on Plate 3. The Barneston limestone yields moderate quantities of water of generally good quality to wells in these regions. Both the Fort Riley limestone member and the Florence limestone member are good aquifers, but in general, the Florence limestone member yields the most water. In areas where the Barneston limestone is deeply dissected, as near the west valley wall of Big Blue River, the formation may not yield water. If the formation is deeply buried, the water may be too highly mineralized for domestic use.
Within the regions designated 5 on Plate 3, wells obtain water from Permian rocks older than the Barneston limestone. The Wreford, Bader, Beattie, and Grenola limestones are the chief aquifers in these regions, and all furnish small to moderate quantities of water. In some parts of these regions where dissection is most pronounced, a few wells obtain water from the Red Eagle and Foraker limestones. Rocks older than the Foraker limestone yield only meager water supplies and are not generally tapped by wells in Marshall County because they are generally overlain by more productive Permian or Pleistocene aquifers.
Kansas Geological Survey, Geologic History of Kansas
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Web version March 2004. Original publication date March 1954.