|Interactive Geologic, Hydrologic,
and Water Quality
Database and Model for the
Northern Powder River Basin, Wyoming
Access the Online Version
The Wyoming State Geological Survey in conjunction with the Wyoming Water Resource Data System (WRDS), Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Wyoming State Engineer's Office, Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the United States Geological Survey-Water Resources Division generated this Interactive Geologic, Hydrologic, and Water Quality Database and Model for the Northern Powder River Basin (PRB). The project was more than two years in the making and was funded through the Wyoming Water Development Commission.
The primary objective was to relate water quality analyses from water, oil, gas, and coalbed methane wells to specific coal beds or geologic formations. The project will enable developers, water users, or regulators to more effectively estimate the quality of water before it is produced.
A geologic model was developed for the project area, including a detailed bedrock geologic map, coal seam outcrops, 32 unique coal seam horizons, and geologic tops or eroded tops from five key geological formations in the project area. The model was developed from geophysical well data collected from over 6,000 oil, gas, and coalbed methane wells. Initial coal correlation data were purchased from Goolsby, Finley and Associates of Casper, Wyoming and modified by the Wyoming State Geological Survey.
A ground water quality model was also developed for specific coal beds, coal sequences, and geological formations. The model was developed by acquiring all available water quality data, determining which coal beds or geologic formations the water was derived from, and then mapping the concentrations of a number of individual constituents such as total dissolved solids, fluoride, sulfate, plus many others. Surface water quality data were also acquired and plotted in relation to stream courses.
The user of the database can generate on-the-fly geologic columns anywhere in the project area. A geologic column shows the depth of various subsurface horizons, such as coal beds or geologic formations. In addition, the user can generate a geologic cross section at any location. A cross section is like a vertical slice out of the earth, and it shows the relationships of coal beds or geologic formations to one another over a selected distance.
Use of the Database
The user of the database should first access the "Help" section, which is the first yellow link at the top of the interactive map. There the user will find descriptions of the onscreen buttons and functionality of the map.
Information on project-area water quality is available in the "WQ Report" section, which is the second yellow link at the top of the interactive map. Information on the coal model is available in the "Coal Stratigraphy" and "Coal Nomenclature" sections, which are the third and fourth yellow links at the top of the interactive map. Maps in the Coal Nomenclature section show the density of points used to map individual coals. Finally, the Docs/Maps section contains cross sections of deep geologic formations under the project area.
The developers of the database would appreciate feedback on the project or on the functionality of the interactive map, including any errors encountered. If the user desires to send a comment, make certain that the mail client (such as Outlook) is open before clicking the "Comment" button, which is the last yellow link at the top of the interactive map.