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Mineral Point, WI, United States

Hart D.J.,Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey | Wang H.F.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Geophysics | Year: 2010

Gassmann's original equation provides a means to relate bulk elastic parameters of a porous material with the compressibility of the pore fluid. The original analysis assumed microhomogeneity and isotropy, which assumed that pore compressibility was equal to grain compressibility. Although subsequent theoretical arguments have shown that Gassmann's original assumption is violated for most rocks and that pore compressibility need not equal grain compressibility, few experimental studies have compared the two compressibilities; the assumption that pore compressibility equals grain compressibility is still commonly made. We measured hydrostatic poroelastic constants of Berea sandstone and Indiana limestone under drained, undrained, and unjacketed conditions over a range of confining and pore pressures to test the assumption that pore compressibility equals grain compressibility. These two rocks were chosen because they havesimilar values of porosity but different elastic behaviors: Berea sandstone is nonlinearly elastic, especially at low effective stresses, but Indiana limestone is linearly elastic at nearly all stresses. At low effective stresses below MPa, the pore compressibility for Berea sandstone does not equal grain compressibility but approaches fluid compressibility. Even at higher effective stresses, pore compressibility for Berea sandstone does not equal bulk grain compressibility but approaches a value approximately two to three times the bulk grain compressibility. In contrast, pore compressibility for Indiana limestone does seem to be equal to grain compressibility except perhaps at low effective stresses below MPa. The difference between pore compressibilities of these two rocks is likely from the presence of more compliant clay minerals mixed with quartz grains with more microcracks in the Berea sandstone as compared to the well-cemented Indiana limestone. © 2010 Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

In many regions of the world, crystalline bedrock aquifers are the only choice for groundwater supply. This is the case in northern Wisconsin, located in the upper Midwest of the continental United States. Here, groundwater flow to wells occurs only through fractures in the granitic basement. Although hydrofracturing of these wells is common and generally increases well yield, the precise mechanism for the increased yields remained unknown. Stressed and ambient flow logs were obtained in two 305-m-deep granitic boreholes in northern Wisconsin prior to hydrofracturing. From those logs, it was determined that nearly all of the groundwater flow to the boreholes occurred in less than 10 fractures in the upper 80 m, with no measureable contribution below that depth. Following hydrofracturing of the boreholes, stressed and ambient flow logs were again obtained. The transmissivity of the two boreholes increased by factors of 8.6 and 63 times. It was found that (1) the fractures that had contributed flow to the boreholes increased in transmissivity, (2) although the applied pressures were large enough in some instances to create new fractures, those new fractures did not increase the borehole transmissivities significantly, and (3) fractures without measureable flow before hydrofracturing remained without measureable flow. Hydrofracturing increases yield in granitic boreholes; however, that increase seems to only occur in fractures where flow was pre-existing and in the upper 80 m of the boreholes. These observations suggest that efforts to enhance yield in granitic aquifers should be focused on the upper part of the borehole. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Rayne T.W.,Hamilton College | Bradbury K.R.,Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management | Year: 2011

Using simple numerical groundwater flow models, we tested the impacts of suburban developments on groundwater levels and discharge to streams. We used lot sizes of 1, 3 and 5 acres (4000, 12,000 and 20,000 m2) with one domestic well per lot that pumped water from shallow aquifers. Our modelling showed that pumping had little impact on water levels and groundwater discharge to streams if the developed area is of a moderate size. However, domestic wells had the potential to impact local groundwater levels and baseflows in large developments. In township-wide development scenarios of 1-acre (4000 m2) lots, simulated drawdowns beneath developed areas ranged from 1 to 18 ft (0.3 to 5.5 m), and baseflow reductions ranged from 20 to 40%. Impacts generally were inversely proportional to lot size, recharge rate and hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer materials. Developments using individual domestic wells have the potential to impact local groundwater levels and surface water features. The impacts can range from negligible to severe, depending on local hydrogeologic conditions and on whether wastewater is recharged onsite or is removed from the basin. An assessment of groundwater impacts should be a part of the planning process for all suburban developments. © 2011 University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Schaetzl R.J.,Michigan State University | Forman S.L.,University of Illinois at Chicago | Attig J.W.,Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey
Quaternary Research (United States) | Year: 2014

We present textural and thickness data on loess from 125 upland sites in west-central Wisconsin, which confirm that most of this loess was derived from the sandy outwash surfaces of the Chippewa River and its tributaries, which drained the Chippewa Lobe of the Laurentide front during the Wisconsin glaciation (MIS 2). On bedrock uplands southeast of the widest outwash surfaces in the Chippewa River valley, this loess attains thicknesses >. 5. m. OSL ages on this loess constrain the advance of the Laurentide ice from the Lake Superior basin and into west-central Wisconsin, at which time its meltwater started flowing down the Chippewa drainage. The oldest MAR OSL age, 23.8. ka, from basal loess on bedrock, agrees with the established, but otherwise weakly constrained, regional glacial chronology. Basal ages from four other sites range from 13.2 to 18.5. ka, pointing to the likelihood that these sites remained geomorphically unstable and did not accumulate loess until considerably later in the loess depositional interval. Other OSL ages from this loess, taken higher in the stratigraphic column but below the depth of pedoturbation, range to nearly 13. ka, suggesting that the Chippewa River valley may have remained a loess source for several millennia. © 2013 University of Washington.

Schaetzl R.J.,Michigan State University | Attig J.W.,Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey
Quaternary Research (United States) | Year: 2013

We present the first study of the distribution, genesis and paleoenvironmental significance of late Pleistocene loess in northeastern Wisconsin and adjacent parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Loess here is commonly 25-70. cm thick. Upland areas that were deglaciated early and remained geomorphically stable preferentially accumulated loess by providing sites that were efficient at trapping and retaining eolian sediment. Data from 419 such sites indicate that the loess was mainly derived from proglacial outwash plains and, to a lesser extent, hummocky end moraines within and near the region, particularly those toward the east of the loess deposits. Most of the loess was transported on katabatic winds coming off the ice sheet, which entrained and transported both silt and fine sands. The loess fines markedly, and is better sorted, distal to these source regions. Only minimal amounts of loess were deposited in this area via westerly winds. This research (1) reinforces the observation that outwash plains and end moraines can be significant loess sources, (2) provides evidence for katabatic winds as significant eolian transport vectors, and (3) demonstrates that the loess record may be variously preserved across landscapes, depending on where and when geomorphically stable sites became available for loess accumulation. © 2012 University of Washington.

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