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Well logging in ground‐water hydrology

January 1, 1968

In 1966 more than 50 billion gallons of water was pumped daily from an estimated 10 to 15 million water wells in the United States. This was more than one‐sixth of the national withdrawal of water. On the basis of past rates of increase, a much greater future use of ground water is suggested. Our annual investment in water wells is one‐half to three‐quarter billion dollars, not including pumps and plumbing. In 1964 approximately 436,000 new wells were drilled; however, less than 1 percent of these wells were logged by any geophysical means. The application of _ge_o.phy.sical well logging to ground‐water hydrology is comparable to its use in petroleum exploration in the 1930's; however, we can take advantage of equipment and interpretation techniques developed in the oil industry that are available now for use in ground‐water investigations. Although most petroleum well logging techniques may be utilized in hydrology; modifications in equipment and interpretation are necessary because of basic economic and environmental differences between petroleum and ground‐water evaluation. If logging is to be widely applied to ground‐water exploration and evaluation, the expense of equipment and services must be reduced. Fortunately, this can be accomplished, because most water wells are not as deep as oil wells and the temperatures and pressures are lower. The Water Resources Division of the U. S. Geological Survey is conducting research on the application of borehole geophysics to ground‐water hydrology. The following logging devices are utilized in the evaluation of ground‐water environments: spontaneous potential, resistivity, gamma, gamma‐gamma, neutron, radioactive tracer, flowmeter, caliper, fluid resistivity, gradient and differential temperature, and sonic velocity. Lightweight logging sondes and control modules are operated by one man, either on a vehicle‐mounted 6,000‐foot logger or on a suitcase‐mounted 500‐foot logger. An inexpensive magnetic tape system has been developed and is used routinely for log recording and playback. If commercial well logging service is to be widely used in ground‐water exploration and development, water well contractors, and State and municipal agencies must be educated on the advantages of obtaining more information from each hole drilled. It will be necessary also to demonstrate how well logging can provide much of this information. In addition, the well logging industry must adapt their equipment and services to the requirements of ground‐water hydrology. The need for additional logging capability in this field exists at the present time and is expected to increase. Hopefully industry will be able to fill the gap.

Publication Year 1968
Title Well logging in ground‐water hydrology
DOI 10.1111/j.1745-6584.1968.tb01630.x
Authors W.S. Keys
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Groundwater
Index ID 70221375
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse