Williston and Powder River Basins aquifer systems

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The Williston and Powder River Basins study combines the lithostratigraphic units of the glacial, lower Tertiary, and Upper Cretaceous aquifer systems in the United States and Canada into 7 regional hydrogeologic units-glacial deposits, 4 bedrock aquifers, and 2 bedrock confining units-using general hydraulic properties.

WAUSP williston and powder river basins photo 10

WAUSP williston and powder river basins photo 10.

The glacial deposits are composed of till and glacial outwash sands and gravels with areas of cobbles and boulders. The four bedrock aquifers are the upper Fort Union, lower Fort Union, lower Hell Creek, and Fox Hills aquifers and are contained primarily in sandstone layers. The two confining units are the middle Fort Union hydrogeologic unit (shale) and upper Hell Creek hydrogeologic unit (contains less sandstone than the underlying lower Hell Creek aquifer). Water from hydrogeologic units in these three aquifer systems is relatively fresh and potable, whereas withdrawals seldom occur from units below the basal confining unit because of great depths (greater than 800 feet) and poor water quality.

The data files listed below are supplemental to Hydrogeologic Framework of the Uppermost Principal Aquifer Systems in the Williston and Powder River Structural Basins, United States and Canada (USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5047). The report includes a description of methods used to derive the data.


Click on the links below to download files for this aquifer. For information about the available file types, see Aquifer data: Explanation of spatial data formats.

Borehole Data:    Metadata (22KB XML)    Shapefile (93KB ZIP)    Text File (42KB ZIP)

Hydrogeologic Unit Extents:

Hydrogeologic Unit Surfaces:
Powder River Basin

Williston River Basin

Hydrogeologic Unit Thicknesses:
Powder River Basin

Williston River Basin