Geology and Ground-Water Resources of the Owl Creek Area Hot Springs County Wyoming


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Publication Date

January 1961


About 250 square miles is included in the project area, which consists of relatively broad valleys and flat terraces grading into rugged folded and faulted uplands. The project area lies at the southern end of the Bighorn structural basin. The climate is semiarid; the normal annual precipitation is about 13 inches. The exposed rocks range in age from Pennsylvanian to Recent; the younger deposits are exposed in and along the valleys, the older deposits in the uplands adjacent to the valleys. The alluvium and terrace deposits yield water to domestic and stock wells throughout the area and locally yield moderate to large quantities of water for irrigation. Large quantities of ground water can be obtained for only a short time, however, because recharge is not sufficient to sustain large yields for long periods. Some of the older formations that underlie the area (Madison limestone and Tensleep sandstone) yield large supplies of water to artesian springs. Other formations (the Cloverly and the Frontier formations and the Cody shale) can yield water under artesian pressure to domestic and stock wells. The depth to the water table ranges from only a few feet in the river flood plain to about 70 feet at the margins of the valleys. The water in the terrace and alluvial deposits moves generally eastward toward the Bighorn River. The ground-water reservoir is recharged principally by precipitation that falls either on the area or on adjacent areas and by percolation from irrigation water and streams. Ground water is discharged principally by evaporation and trangpiration, by seepage into streams, and through springs and wells. Most of the wells in the Owl Creek area were drilled, but some were dug and a few were bored or driven. Only eight wells in the area are used for irrigation. The yield of the irrigation wells ranges from about 50 to about 500 gallons per minute. Ground water for irrigation can be developed most practicably from the alluvium in the part of the valley that extends from the west side of Rose Dome to th

Document Type



Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper, Vol. 1519 (1961).