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

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2009 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 2008
End Date
June 2011
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2008, Chp. 367, Sec. 2, Subd. 04h2
Appropriation Language

$1,600,000 is from the trust fund for collection and interpretation of subsurface geological information and acceleration of the county geologic atlas program. $706,000 of this appropriation is to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Geological Survey to begin county geologic atlases in three counties. $894,000 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, 2011, at which time the project must be completed and final products delivered, unless an earlier date is specified in the work program.

2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

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

Measurable Outcome(s)

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

Project Overview

Overall Project Outcome and Results
County geologic atlases are created to support water and mineral resource management. An atlas provides maps and associated 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 Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Sibley counties in paper, digital, and web-accessible formats. They will be published as MGS C-24, C-25, and C-26, and workshops will be held to train users.

Geologic maps describe the distribution of earth materials. The materials 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 the below parts.

Database map: shows the location of all well records, borings, scientific drilling, natural exposures, and geophysical measurements used to support all the maps in the atlas. The data itself is also provided.

Surficial Geology map: this 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.

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.

Bedrock Geology map, bedrock topography map: These maps describe the location and type of bedrock present, and its ability to host and transmit groundwater. Where a sequence of sedimentary rocks are present the contacts between layers 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.

Through this project, MGS also provided support to the DNR Mt. Simon monitoring well project by examining and describing samples, conducting downhole geophysical surveys, and providing interpretations of the geologic units penetrated by these wells.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Geologic atlases are created to support informed decision-making. They are applied to wellhead protection, water appropriation decisions, well field design, onsite water treatment designs, facility siting, monitoring, and remediation of contamination. The atlases are printed for those who don't use computers and for use in the field. They are 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