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Prediction grids of pH for the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial and Claiborne Aquifers

October 1, 2020

Groundwater is a vital resource to the Mississippi embayment region of the central United States. Regional and integrated assessments of water availability that link physical flow models and water quality in principal aquifer systems provide context for the long-term availability of these water resources. An innovative approach using machine learning was employed to predict groundwater pH across drinking water aquifers of the Mississippi embayment. The region includes two principal regional aquifer systems; the Mississippi River Valley alluvial (MRVA) aquifer and the Mississippi embayment aquifer system that includes several regional aquifers and confining units. Based on the distribution of groundwater use for drinking water, the modeling effort was focused on the MRVA, Middle Claiborne aquifer (MCAQ), and Lower Claiborne aquifer (LCAQ) of the Mississippi embayment aquifer system. Boosted regression tree (BRT) models (Elith and others, 2008; Kuhn and Johnson, 2013) were used to predict pH to 1-km raster grid cells of the National Hydrologic Grid (Clark and others, 2018). Predictions were made for 7 aquifer layers (1 MRVA, 4 MCAQ, 2 LCAQ) following the hydrogeologic framework used in a regional groundwater flow model (Hart and others, 2008). Explanatory variables for the BRT models included attributes associated with well position and construction, surficial variables, and variables extracted from a MODFLOW groundwater flow model for the MISE (Haugh and others, 2020). For a full description of modeling workflow see Knierim and others (2020). References Elith, J., Leathwick, J.R., and Hastie, T., 2008, A working guide to boosted regression trees: Journal of Animal Ecology, v. 77, no. 4, p. 802-813. Hart, R.M., Clark, B.R., and Bolyard, S.E., 2008, Digital Surfaces and Thicknesses of Selected Hydrogeologic Units within the Mississippi Embayment Regional Aquifer Study (MERAS): U.S Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5098. Haugh, C.J., Killian, C.D., and Barlow, J.R.B., 2020, The Mississippi embayment regional aquifer system (MERAS) groundwater-flow model, version 2.1: U.S. Geological Survey, accessed at Knierim, K.J., Kingsbury, J.A., Haugh, C.J., and Ransom, K.M., 2020, Using boosted regression tree models to predict salinity in Mississippi embayment aquifers: Journal of the American Water Resources Association, Kuhn, M., and Johnson, K., 2013, Applied Predictive Modeling: Springer, New York, New York, 595 p. Ransom, K.M., Nolan, B.T., Traum, A.J., Faunt, C.C., Bell, A.M., Gronberg, J.A.M., Wheeler, D.C., Rosecrans, C.Z., Jurgens, B., Schwarz, G.E., Belitz, K., Eberts, S.M., Kourakos, G., and Harter, T., 2017, A hybrid machine learning model to predict and visualize nitrate concentration throughout the Central Valley aquifer, California, USA: Science of The Total Environment, v. 601-602, p. 1160-1172,

Publication Year 2020
Title Prediction grids of pH for the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial and Claiborne Aquifers
DOI 10.5066/P9CXX7LN
Authors James A Kingsbury, Katherine J Knierim, Connor J Haugh
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center