Mid-continent carbonate aquifers are some of the most productive in the Nation, yielding water for agriculture, industry, and public drinking supplies. Managing these water resources requires an understanding of groundwater storage, flow, and recharge, which depend on aquifer geology and structure. The Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center (CGGSC) in Denver, Colorado uses remote sensing to create two-dimensional maps and three-dimensional digital models of the complex geology associated with altered carbonate rock formations. Helicopter electromagnetic surveys of the Edwards and Trinity aquifers in south-central Texas, for example, have mapped hydrogeologic units and geologic structures with unprecedented accuracy. These surveys allow municipal and State regulatory agencies to develop effective water management plans.
Geophysical remote sensing using helicopter electromagnet methods (left) reveals geology and geologic structure to refine and complement the geologic map (right) for the Trinity and Edwards aquifers in Texas.