Hydrologic Testing in the Salt-Dissolution Zone of the Palo Duro Basin, Texas Panhandle

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1985

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Salt dissolution around the perimeter of the Southern High Plains is driven by meteoric groundwater that most likely moves downward from aquifers in the Dockum Group and Ogallala Formation into the Upper Permian section. Hydraulic conductivities measured at two test wells in the salt-dissolution zone below the Rolling Plains and Canadian River valley are 0.7 to 1.6 ft/day (0.2 to 0.5 m/day), greater than hydraulic conductivities of 0.0002 to 0.002 ft/day (0.00006 to 0.0006 m/day) measured at a test well in the salt-dissolution zone below the Southern High Plains. Groundwater velocity in the salt-dissolution zone below the Southern High Plains may be less than the groundwater velocity in the salt-dissolution zone below the Rolling Plains and Canadian River valley because of lower hydraulic conductivity and lower hydraulic-head gradient. The inferred differences in flow rate correspond to differences in salinity and probably account for some variation in the rate of solution of halite. The salt-dissolution zone around the perimeter of the Palo Duro Basin is confined and has a coefficient of storage of approximately 10^-3.5 to 10^-4.6. Although groundwater in the salt-dissolution zone below the Rolling Plains and Canadian River valley is 10,000 to 20,000 years old, with salinity of 68,000 to 95,000 mg/L, the Na-Cl-type water remains capable of dissolving halite that it contacts.

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