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Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 1998-42

Approximate Analysis of Aquifer Mineralization by Paleodrainage Channels

Hillel Rubin and Robert W. Buddemeier

KGS Open File Report 1998-42
September 27, 1998


Mineralization of groundwater resources in south central Kansas can occur due to the penetration of saline water from deep bedrock formation, into small bedrock features of high permeability located in places occupied by streams and rivers in past geological eras. These geological formations are termed "paleodrainage channels." The comparatively fast migration of saline water through these channels of high permeability is associated with the transfer of salinity into the overlying freshwater aquifer. The permeability of the overlying aquifer is significantly smaller than that of the "channel formation". This study develops a set of boundary layer (BL) approaches to quantify the process of salinity transfer from the channels into the aquifer. The methods used in the present study provide quick estimation and evaluation of the dilution of the channel flow, as well as of the salinity profile changes in the mineralized zone created in the overlying aquifer.

The application of the method is exemplified by a complete set of calculations characterizing the possible mineralization process at a specific channel in south central Kansas. Sensitivity analyses are performed and provide information about the importance of the various parameters that affect the mineralization process. Some possible scenarios for the aquifer mineralization phenomena are described and evaluated. It is shown that the channel mineralization may create either several stream tubes of the aquifer with high salinity, or many stream tubes mineralized to a lesser extent. Characteristics of these two patterns of aquifer mineralization are quantified and discussed.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geohydrology
Placed online Oct. 16, 2013
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