National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program - High Plains Regional Groundwater (HPGW) Study

Unsaturated-Zone Study - Ogallala Formation, central High Plains

Boreholes were drilled at one site in Morton County, Kans., at which rangeland was the dominant land use, and at two sites in Finney County, Kans., at which irrigated agriculture was the dominant land use. Sediment cuttings and cores were collected during drilling for the analysis of physical properties (particle size, bulk density, porosity, gravimetric and volumetric water contents, and matric potentials) and chemical concentrations (tritium, chloride, nitrate, and six pesticides and two pesticide degradates). The boreholes were instrumented with monitoring wells and pressure transducers to measure ground-water elevations, advanced tensiometers (AT's) and heat-dissipation probes (HDP's) to measure soil-water matric potentials, suction lysimeters were installed in the unsaturated zone to collect soil-water samples, and ground-water samples were collected from the monitoring wells. Soil water collected in 2000—2001 was analyzed for chloride, nitrate, and atrazine. Groundwater collected in 2000—2001 was analyzed for tritium, chloride, nitrate, and 47 pesticides and pesticide degradates. Water potentials and profiles of tritium, chloride, nitrate, and pesticide concentrations were used to evaluate water movement through thick unsaturated zones overlying the central High Plains aquifer.

Publication available at: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report, 03-4171

Figure 1

Shows the location of wells.
Shows the location of the wells.

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