Effects of Hydrostratigraphy and Basin Development on Hydrodynamics of the Palo Duro Basin, Texas

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Senger, Rainer K.
Fogg, Graham E.
Kreitler, Charles W.

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A two-dimensional groundwater flow model was developed along a cross-section through the Palo Duro Basin to understand regional groundwater flow paths and investigate factors influencing underpressuring below the Evaporite aquitard, as well as recharge and discharge mechanisms to and from the Deep-Basin Brine aquifer. Steady-state flow simulations were employed to examine the effects of lithostratigraphy and topography on groundwater flow. Additionally, transient flow simulations were used to describe changes in regional hydrodynamics resulting from various tectonic and geomorphologic processes.

The groundwater flow pattern in the Palo Duro Basin is characterized by a shallow groundwater flow system primarily controlled by topography. Deeper flow regimes recharge in the New Mexico area and pass beneath the Pecos River into the deep section of the Palo Duro Basin. The Evaporite aquitard effectively separates the deeper flow regime from the more rapidly circulating shallow aquifer system, although leakage through the aquitard is significant and could contribute up to 27 percent of the water passing through the deep section.

Within the Deep-Basin Brine aquifer, groundwater flow patterns are strongly influenced by the spatial distribution of more permeable strata, such as granite-wash deposits, which facilitate drainage of the deep aquifer system more readily than recharge occurs.


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