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Technical Report

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Groundwater exploration, Northern Arkansas


Intelligent development of groundwater resources is a process that requires a thorough understanding of the availability and movement of groundwater. In northern Arkansas knowledge of the deep aquifers is fairly limited, perhaps because economic factors and uncertain yields have discouraged exploitation. The development of these deeper aquifers to their fullest potential as reliable water sources depends on the delineation of high yield areas, a process that may be facilitated by linear trend analysis as outlined in this study. Satellite and photolineament maps of the 13 counties were prepared by use of LANDSAT images and Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service photo indexes. The lineaments and fracture traces on aerial photographs and LANDSAT images are natural linear features such as aligned stream segments, soil tonal and vegetal alignments, and topographic sags. These features are the surface manifestation of subsurface fracture zones of undermined origin, which are areas where increased solutioning of carbonate rocks has taken place. The results of statistical testing of well yields in the study area show that the fracture trace-lineament method of well location can result in improved well yields. The fact that higher yields are obtained from wells on lineaments shows that these linear features are indeed surface manifestations of increased solutioning in the subsurface. These zones of fracture, enlarged by groundwater circulation, are capable of transmitting a greater volume of water at a faster rate than rocks between lineaments. Wells tapping these zones consequently show higher yields than those drilled randomly. In northern Arkansas where shallow groundwater supplies soon may not meet the demands of a growing population, linear trends interpreted from LANDSAT can be useful in the search for more reliable groundwater sources. Their use will help the development of the deep aquifers of the area as reliable sources for domestic, municipal and industrial water supplies.

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