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Some preliminary notes on the ground water in the Columbia River basalt

January 1, 1959

The Columbia River basalt carries groundwater by percolation, largely along tabular interflow zones of variable permeability and continuity. At various places the water occurs under perched, unconfined, and confined conditions; at some places it occurs under all three conditions at different depths. Both initial and tectonic structural features, such as inclination of the flows, anticlines and synclines, and jointing and faulting, have an important bearing on occurrences of groundwater in the basalt. Recharge of the ground water is most effective in areas of substantial rainfall where gravel-bedded streams cross basalt flows inclined at low angles. The basalt furnishes the main water supply for domestic and public needs and a substantial part of the water for irrigation and industry in the Columbia Plateau region. The chemical quality of the groundwater is good but varies according to the geographic and geologic occurrence of the basalt rocks. The ground water is developed by thousands of wells and springs. These fall into more or less distinct types according to their construction and the occurrence of the water. There is need for improvement in techniques of construction of wells tapping confined and perched water bodies. Continued accumulation of basic geologic information is planned to guide in further development of the ground-water resources of the basalt.

Publication Year 1959
Title Some preliminary notes on the ground water in the Columbia River basalt
Authors R. C. Newcomb
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Northwest Science
Index ID 70171410
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Oregon Water Science Center; Washington Water Science Center