County Geologic Atlas and South-Central Minnesota Groundwater (U of MN)

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
University of Minnesota - MN Geological Survey
Recipient Type
Public College/University
Start Date
July 2009
End Date
June 2012
Activity Type
Digitization/Online Information Access
Counties Affected
Project Overview

The Minnesota County Geologic Atlas program is an ongoing effort begun in 1982 that is being conducted jointly by the University of Minnesota's Minnesota Geological Survey and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The program collects information on the geology of Minnesota to create maps and reports depicting the characteristics and pollution sensitivity of Minnesota's ground-water resources. County Geologic Atlases are used in planning and environmental protection efforts at all levels of government and by businesses to ensure sound planning, management, and protection of land and water resources. This appropriation will:

  • Support completion of geologic atlases for Todd, Carlton, McLeod, Carver, Benton and Chisago counties;
  • Initiate geologic atlases for Anoka and Wright counties;
  • Make collected data available in a digital format;
  • Investigate the recharge and physical characteristics of the Mt. Simon Aquifer - the deepest bedrock aquifer of south central Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area, which supplies all or some of the water needs of over one million Minnesotans. Work will be conducted in McLeod, Wright, Sherburne, and Isanti counties.

PART 1: Minnesota Geological Survey

Overall Project Outcome and Results

County geologic atlases support water and mineral resource management and education. An atlas provides maps and databases at scales appropriate for land use planning and water management decisions. An atlas greatly improves our ability to monitor the resource, to predict the effects of pumping, and to respond effectively to contamination. This project created atlases for Anoka and Wright counties in paper, digital, and web-accessible formats. Copies will be provided to LCCMR and the counties, and workshops will be held to train users.

Geologic maps describe the distribution of earth materials that determine where water can enter the ground (become ground water), where it can be taken from the ground (aquifers), and how aquifers connect to rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Each geologic atlas contains these parts:

  1. Database map: shows the location of all well records, borings, scientific drilling, natural exposures, and geophysical measurements used to support the atlas. The databases are also provided.
  2. Surficial Geology map: shows the earth materials immediately beneath the soil zone, and describes their composition and ability to convey water. The surface described by this map is the interface between human activities and ground water. Its character determines to a great degree the sensitivity of ground water to contamination.
  3. Glacial Stratigraphy and Sand Distribution Model: A series of maps show the location, depth, and thickness of sand or gravel bodies (aquifers) in glacial materials. This map is useful in finding a water source, determining pumping effects, and in understanding the results of water monitoring.
  4. Bedrock Geology map, bedrock topography map: These maps describe the location and type of bedrock present, and its ability to host and transmit groundwater. The contacts between layers of sedimentary rock are mapped as digital surfaces and this enables numerical simulations of the ground water system that can predict the effects of pumping before wells are drilled.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Geologic atlases support informed decision-making. They are applied to wellhead protection, water appropriation decisions, well field design, onsite water treatment design, facility siting, monitoring, and remediation of contamination. The atlases are printed, and also provided in several digital formats for electronic use including geographic information systems. When the atlases are complete we hold workshops in the county to explain the products and their uses.

Project Details
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009, Chp. 143, Sec. 2, Subd. 03b1
Appropriation Language

$2,695,000 is from the trust fund for collection and interpretation of subsurface geological information and acceleration of the county geologic atlas program. $820,000 of this appropriation is to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the geological survey to continue and to initiate the production of county geologic atlases. $1,875,000 of this appropriation is to the commissioner of natural resources to investigate the physical and recharge characteristics of the Mt. Simon aquifer. This appropriation represents a continuing effort to complete the county geologic atlases throughout the state. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2012, at which time the project must be completed and final products delivered, unless an earlier date is specified in the work program.

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
U of MN - Minnesota Geological Survey
Street Address
2642 University Ave W
St. Paul
Zip Code
(612) 627-4780 x2
Administered By
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