Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 37–46 | Cite as

Geochemistry analysis and evolution of a bolson aquifer, basin and range province in the southwestern united states

  • Jon C. AtkinsonEmail author
Original Article


This paper expands significantly on the major-ion geochemical characterization, evolution, and differentiation of groundwater in the Presidio-Redford Bolson (PRB) Aquifer of Texas as presented in Chowdhury et al. (2008). For 19 groundwater samples from the PRB Aquifer, the author calculated major cation–anion balance errors, equilibrium carbon dioxide partial pressure values and saturation indices for selected minerals. Comparison of major-ion analyses for groundwater from basin margin wells with those for basin center wells is documented and illustrated with ion-concentration maps and Piper and Stiff diagrams and reveals significant increases in concentrations of chloride, sulfate and sodium coupled with notable decrease of calcium in bolson-center well samples. These geochemical changes suggest dissolution of aquifer minerals and cation exchange as groundwater migrates downgradient to the bolson center. The US Geological Survey (USGS) computer code, NETPATH, was used to interpret probable net geochemical mass-balance reactions that potentially have occurred within the PRB Aquifer along groundwater flowpaths from bolson margin to bolson center. For all four upgradient–downgradient well pairs studied, at least three NETPATH models contain cation exchange values; calcium is being exchanged for sodium. The Rio Grande Alluvium Aquifer and Rio Grande River are notably minor sources of recharge to the PRB Aquifer, based on Chowdhury et al. (2008) and geochemical evaluations of this study.


Aqueous geochemistry Geochemistry and trace elements Hydrogeology Surface water Rio grande river Texas USA 



My appreciation and thanks are extended to two Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment colleagues, Sharon Shaw and Mark Sembera, for their assistance in crafting the figures. I greatly appreciate the detailed and constructive comments of the reviewers and editors that together have led to a notably improved paper.

Supplementary material

12665_2010_814_MOESM1_ESM.doc (222 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 222 kb)


  1. Appelo CA, Postma D (1994) Geochemistry, groundwater and pollution. A.A. Balkema, RotterdamGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartos T, Ogle KM (2002) Water quality and environmental isotopic analyses of groundwater samples collected from the Wasatch and Fort Union Formations in areas of coalbed methane development—implications to recharge and ground water flow, eastern Powder River Basin, Wyoming. US Geological Survey Water-Resources Investig Rep 02-4045. Reston, VAGoogle Scholar
  3. Bureau of Economic Geology (2004) Aquifers of Texas. University of Texas, AustinGoogle Scholar
  4. Chowdhury AH, Uliana M, Wade S (2005) Conceptualization of groundwater flow system using hydrochemistry and isotopic compositions, Presidio County, West Texas. In: Abstracts for 2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005), Paper No. 107-11, Geological Society of America, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  5. Chowdhury AH, Uliana M, Wade S (2006) Chemical and isotope hydrology of the Presidio-Redford Bolson aquifer, West Texas: recharge and groundwater flow implications. In: Abstract Book of the 2006 Groundwater Summit, San Antonio, 87, National Groundwater Association, WestervilleGoogle Scholar
  6. Chowdhury AH, Uliana M, Wade S (2008) Groundwater recharge and flow characterization using multiple isotopes. Ground Water 46(3):426–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Foster MD (1950) The origin of high sodium bicarbonate waters in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 1:33–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gates J, White D, Stanley WD, Ackermann H (1980) Availability of fresh and slightly saline groundwater in the basins of westernmost Texas. Texas Department of Water Resources Rep 256, AustinGoogle Scholar
  9. Groat CG (1972) Presidio-Bolson, Trans-Pecos Texas and adjacent Mexico: geology of a desert basin aquifer system. Bureau of Econ Geology Rep of Investig 76. University of Texas, AustinGoogle Scholar
  10. Hem JD (1992) Study and interpretation of the chemical characteristics of natural water. US Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2254, RestonGoogle Scholar
  11. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (US Department of the Interior) (OSM) (2005) HC-Gram, Version 3.1.3, Denver, COGoogle Scholar
  12. Piper AM (1944) A graphic procedure in the geochemical interpretation of water analyses. Am Geophys Union Trans 25:914–923Google Scholar
  13. Plummer LN, Vacher HL, Mackenzie FT, Bricker OP, Land LS (1976) Hydrogeochemistry of Bermuda: a case history of ground-water diagenesis of biocalcarenites. Geological Soc Am Bull 87:1301–1316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Plummer LN, Prestmon EC, Parkhurst DC (1994) An interactive code (NETPATH) for modeling NET geochemical reactions along a flow PATH, Version 2.0: US Geological Survey Water-Resources Investig Rep 94-4169Google Scholar
  15. Stiff HA Jr (1951) The interpretation of chemical water analysis by means of patterns. J Petroleum Technol 3(10):15–17Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag (outside the USA) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hydrologist with US Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment, Restoration Branch (AFCEE/TDV)Lackland AFBUSA

Personalised recommendations