Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center
The Lower Mississippi-Gulf multimedia gallery is a collection of images and videos that help vizualize our mission. We strive to provide first-class science and data to the public and our cooperators.
B.K. Martin, hydrologic technician in the Little Rock office of the USGS Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, measuring streamflow with an acoustic doppler current profiler during flood of March 19, 2008, at USGS streamflow-gaging station 07056000, Buffalo River near St. Joe, Arkansas. Photograph by W.E. Baldwin, USGS Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center.
Water, oil, and gas wells (shown as green lines) are drilled to hundreds or thousands of feet below land surface in an area known as the Mississippi embayment. Information gathered from these wells was used to create a 3D computer model of underground formations. Many of these formations (shown as shades of grey, blue, brown, or tan surfaces) consist of layers of sand and clay. These formations are important because they contain ground water that can be pumped out of the ground and used for anything from drinking water for public supplies to irrigation water for crops to washing, cooling, or transporting products in industrial settings. With the ever increasing demand for water and concerns about availability and sustainability, visual tools such as this are important and helpful.
A low-flying helicopter towing a large cylindrical sensor, called a “bird,” collected airborne electromagnetic resistivity data in Nebraska. The helicopter flew about 200 feet above the ground at a speed of about 70 miles per hour.
Bogue Phalia River near Leland, Mississippi.
Dry streambeds during the summer months due to lack of base flow for (A) Big Sunflower River at Sunflower, Mississippi. Photos by Jeannie Barlow, 2008.
A groundwater-flow model of the Mississippi embayment was used to evaluate changes in water-level altitudes after the addition of wells that simulate potential future pumping from the Sparta aquifer in the Bayou Meto-Grand Prairie area of eastern Arkansas (shown within the black outline) for the 30-year period from 2007 through 2037. The animation portrays the time-lapse development of a cone of depression with a maximum water-level decline of approximately 102 feet, and a lesser cone of depression to the east. Selected wells are shown as grey vertical pipes. Water-level altitude declines range from 40 to 50 feet over most of the remainder of the Bayou Meto-Grand Prairie area.
As the animation begins, the land surface of the Mississippi embayment fades away to reveal underground geologic formations (shown as shades of blue, brown, and gray surfaces). A slice deep into the earth cuts off the eastern half of the embayment so we can peer into the formations (aquifers) beneath the surface. The lower portion of different colored water wells (orange, light blue, and dark blue lines) come into view as the formations rotate. Each color of the wells represents a different layer of sand (aquifer) from which water is pumped. The wells are drilled from tens of feet deep to over 1,000 feet below land surface. There are thousands of wells represented here, but there are many thousands more that are not shown. All together, these wells pump, on average, enough water out of the ground to cover an average size county in about six inches of water -- everyday. This animation is another piece of the 3D computer model puzzle used to help manage the valuable water resource.
Irrigation well in northeastern Arkansas (U.S. Geological Survey photograph by Terrance W. Holland, 2009).
The USGS recently constructed a computer model of groundwater in the Mississippi embayment. This model was used to simulate the rise or decline of water level in a shallow aquifer. Water from this shallow aquifer is utilized by the agricultural based economy in the area. In the animation, groundwater levels decline more than 100 feet from 1870 to 2007 in some areas of the shallow Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer in Arkansas. When pumping is forecast to 2038, based on trends of past pumping amounts and climatic variations, areas with water level declines of more than 100 feet expand, extending into Missouri and Mississippi.
The USGS recently constructed a computer model of groundwater in the Mississippi embayment. This model was used to simulate the rise or decline of water level in a deep aquifer. Water from this deep aquifer is utilized to meet the industrial and public supply needs in the area. In the animation, groundwater levels decline more than 400 feet from 1870 to 2007 in some areas of the deep middle Claiborne aquifer in Arkansas and Louisiana. When pumping is forecast to 2038, based on trends of past pumping amounts and climatic variations, areas of water level declines from 100 to 200 feet expand throughout Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
Flood of April 25, 2011, at USGS streamflow-gaging station 07048600, White River near Fayetteville, Arkansas. Photograph by K.M. Hubbs, Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center.
Flood of April 25, 2011, at U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamflow-gaging station 07048490, Town Branch tributary at Highway 16 at Fayetteville, Arkansas. Photograph by D.M. Wagner, Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center.
Flood of May 3, 2011, at USGS streamflow-gaging station 07069000, Black River at Pocahontas, Arkansas. Photograph by D.M. Wagner, Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center.
In 1986, Congress directed the USGS to regularly report groundwater-level changes in the High Plains aquifer system. To comply with this directive, the USGS compares water levels measured every two years. By measuring water levels across the entire aquifer in one year, measurements made two years later enable calculation of changes over time. Measured water levels from different periods can be used to map changes within the aquifer. The animation is one way to illustrate how groundwater-level changes occur through time.
The flyover begins in the panhandle of Texas where water levels have declined more than 150 feet in some areas. The flyover then moves northward through the panhandle of Oklahoma and Kansas, where water level declines also have declined more than 150 feet. The flyover ends with a view of western Nebraska, where water levels over much of the area are within 10 feet of estimated predevelopment conditions. Note: The depressions illustrated in the animation represent removal of groundwater from the saturated zone below the water table and cannot be observed looking at the land surface.
Groundwater or surface water interaction in the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system. Includes examples of thermal imagery used to see groundwater entering streams.
This image was taken at the Strong River at D'Lo, Mississippi by Shane Stocks who is a Hydrologic Technician out of the Jackson, MS office. Shane used an infared camera to take this long exposure shot of the river.
Backwater flooding across Florida Blvd near the Amite River Bridge in Denham Springs, LA.
A flooded neighborhood near the confluence of the Comite and Amite Rivers near Denham Springs, LA.
A flooded house near the confluence of the Comite and Amite Rivers near Denham Springs, LA.
Flow along 4H Club Rd under I-12 on August 15, 2016.
The view on South Sherwood Forest Blvd near the USGS Louisiana Water Science Center office on August 15, 2016.
Daniel McCay and Chris Henry, USGS hydrologic technicians, use a level to draw a line on a high-water mark August 26. In most circumstances, when a high-water mark is flagged it would then be surveyed with GPS equipment to obtain its exact coordinates and elevation. However, because of the possibility of more storms hitting Louisiana the teams were initially only flagging marks at first, in order to get as many as possible. Since Sunday, however, many of the teams have been returning to previously flagged high-water marks to start surveying them.
Jonathan Gillip, USGS hydrologist, documents a high-water mark he flagged near a damage retirement community in Denham Springs, Louisiana, August 26. So far, USGS teams have flagged and surveyed more than 400 high-watermarks across southern Louisiana.
Daniel McCay and Chris Henry, U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic technicians, search a neighborhood south of Denham Springs, Louisiana, for high-water marks August 26. The term high-water mark refers to the debris flood waters will leave on walls, buildings and trees. This thin line of residue is an indicator of how high the waters reached, yet the fragile nature of these marks means they must be flagged as soon as possible. Because of this, more than 20 USGS personnel from several states have been working in south Louisiana from dawn until dusk to flag and survey as many high-water marks as possible.
Chris Henry and Daniel McCay, USGS hydrologic technicians, use GPS equipment to survey a high-water mark outside of a flooded elementary school in Denham Springs, Louisiana, August 28. This school was located in one of the hardest hit flood areas and the blue line simulates how high the water was at its peak during this historic flood.
Waterborne resistivity profiling in progress on the Tallahatchie River, Leflore County, Mississippi. GPS unit and depth sounder are visible attached to the front of the boat and the cable with electrodes can be seen just behind the outboard motor. Photo by Shane Stocks, 2016
In an extreme drought and amid high winds, many fires burned together in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the town of Gatlinburg and nearby communities to form the deadly fire that became known as Chimney Tops 2. This photo was taken on the night of Nov. 28, 2016, as the fire was spreading rapidly.
The fire that became known as Chimney Tops 2 started near a Great Smoky Mountains National Park landmark known as The Chimneys on or about Nov. 23, 2016.
Waterborne resistivity survey in progress on the Tallahatchie River, Leflore County, Mississippi. GPS unit and depth sounder are visible attached to the front of the boat. Photo by James R. Rigby, 2016
This image is of a perfect row in a field with a USGS Gage in the background. The image was taken by Shane Stocks out of the LMG Jackson, MS office.
Jason Payne driving an ATV pulling an array of electrodes for mapping the near surface geology in the vicinity of Steiner, Mississippi.
Framework banner for MAP. Image by Alexe Dacurro
Waterborne resistivity crew conducting a resistivity survey of the Quiver River, Sunflower County, Mississippi. Electrodes on a floating cable are visible behind the boat, which is travelling upstream. Photo by Ben Miller, 2016
Inline water-use flow meter being installed by Lower Mississippi-Gulf and Arkansas Natural Resources Commission staff
View of the Ohmmapper system electrodes being pulled behind a small truck in order to map the near surface geology of Sunflower County, Mississippi near the town of Shellmound. Photo by Ben Miller, 2016
Groundwater use from the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system, 1900 to 2010” is a short video showing modeled groundwater withdrawal rates from the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system (Ozark system) in the central United States. The Ozark Plateaus Groundwater Availability Study aims to quantify current groundwater resources in the Ozark system, evaluate how these resources have changed over time, and provide the tools needed to simulate system response to future human-related and environmental stresses (http://ar.water.usgs.gov/ozarks/). One challenging component for developing hydrologic budgets via groundwater flow models is quantifying water use through time because historical and site-specific water-use data are sparse.
The groundwater withdrawal rates shown in this video were modeled by disaggregating county-level water-use data to site-specific well locations and aquifer units and extrapolating historical (pre-1960s) water use. Groundwater withdrawals used for public supply (such as municipalities), non-agriculture (including industrial, mining, commercial, and thermoelectric power generation uses), agriculture (including irrigation and aquaculture), and livestock are shown at the model-cell scale (which is 1 square mile). Domestic groundwater withdrawals are represented at the county level because of the large number of self-supplied domestic wells within each county. For a full description of methods and results, see Knierim, K.J., Nottmeier, A.M., Worland, S., Westerman, D.A., and Clark, B.R., 2017, Challenges for creating a site-specific groundwater-use record for the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system (central USA) from 1900 to 2010: Hydrogeology Journal, p. 1–15, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-017-1593-1. To download the modeled water-use data go to: https://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7GQ6VV1.