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Publication Date

January 1994


The Edwards-Trinity aquifer system underlies about 42,000 square miles of west-central Texas. Nearly flat-lying, mostly Comanche (Lower Cretaceous) strata of the aquifer system thin northwestward atop massive pre-Cretaceous rocks that are comparatively impermeable and structurally complex. From predominately terrigenous clastic sediments in the east and fluvialdeltaic (terrestrial) deposits in the west, the rocks of early Trinitian age grade upward into supratidal evaporitic and dolomitic strata, intertidal limestone and dolostone, and shallow-marine, openshelf, and reefal strata of late Trinitian, Fredericksburgian, and Washitan age. A thick, downfaulted remnant of mostly open-marine strata of Eaglefordian through Navarroan age composes a small, southeastern part of the aquifer system.The Trinity Group was deposited atop a rolling peneplain of pre-Cretaceous rocks during three predominately transgressive cycles of sedimentation that encroached upon the Llano uplift. The Fredericksburg and Washita Groups were deposited above the Trinity Group mostly in the lee of the Stuart City reef trend, a shelf margin ridge that sheltered depositional environments in the study area. The Washita Group subsequently was covered with thick, mostly fine-grained Gulf strata. During late Oligocene through early Miocene time, large-scale normal faulting formed the Balcones fault zone, where the Cretaceous strata were downfaulted, intensively fractured, and differentially rotated within a series of northeasttrending fault blocks. In addition to fracturing the rocks in the fault zone and extending the depth of freshwater diagenesis, the faulting vertically displaced the terrain, which steepened hydraulic gradients and maintained relatively high flow velocities near the surface. A shallow regime of dynamic ground-water flow evolved that promoted dissolution and enhanced the transmissivity of the Edwards Group in the Balcones fault zone. Cementation, recrystallization, and mineral replacement caused by deeper, comparatively sluggish grou


Geologic History, Hydrogeology, Edwards-Trinity Aquifer System, West Central Texas, Texas, Usa

Document Type



USGS, Vol. 94, no. 4039 (1994-01-01).





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