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TitleThe Milk River transboundary aquifer in southern Alberta
AuthorO'Connell, S
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Open File 7751, 2014, 42 pages,
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatreadme
File formatpdf; rtf; xls; JPEG2000; srf
NTS72E/01; 72E/03; 72E/04; 82H/01
AreaMilk River; Southern Alberta; Northern Montana; Canada; United States
Lat/Long WENS-112.5000 -110.0000 50.2500 48.0000
Subjectshydrogeology; stratigraphy; aquifers; groundwater; groundwater resources; groundwater regimes; models; modelling; sedimentary rocks; sandstones; lithology; Milk River Transboundary Aquifer; Mesozoic; Cretaceous
Illustrationslocation maps; cross-sections
ProgramAquifer Assessment & support to mapping, Groundwater Geoscience
Released2014 12 17
The Milk River transboundary aquifer is examined in a 330 township area of southern Alberta, adjoining the US and Saskatachewan borders. The Upper Cretaceous Milk River is divided into four members. In ascending order these are: the Telegraph Creek, the Virgelle, the Deadhorse Coulee, and the Alderson members. Large regional sandstone aquifers are present within the Virgelle and the Upper Alderson members. The Virge lie aquifer covers 1 7 5 townships in the southeastern and central part of the study area, and is up to 69m thick. The Virgelle forms a continuous sand sheet that consists of a number of amalgamated, NW-SE trending shoreface units. The Virgelle aquifer is underlain by offshore marine shales of the Telegraph Creek Member, and overlain by the non-marine muds and coals of the Deadhorse Coulee Member. The Virgelle aquifer is eroded at its northern and eastern edge along a regional unconformity surface. The overlying Alderson Member consists predominantly of offshore marine shales and low-permeability muddy fine-grained sands and silts, which hosts the Milk River gas fields. Within the upper part of the Alderson Member there are two large sand bodies which form the Upper Alderson aquifer. These sands extend over an area of 44 townships, and are up to 22m in thick. The Upper Alderson sand bodies were deposited in shoreface environments and parallel the underlying erosional edge of the Virgelle aquifer sands. The Virgelle and Upper Alderson aquifers are separated from each other by muddy sediments of the Alderson and Deadhorse Coulee members, but they are locally in contact at the Virgelle erosional edge and water flow between the two aquifers is likely. Both the Virge lie and Upper Alderson sandstones terminate well to the south of the Milk River gas field. The aquifers have no direct lithological contact with the field which are entirely contained within the low permeability rocks of the Alderson Member.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This report has been prepared in march 2011 by S.O'COnnell, consultant at Belfield Resources Inc, as part of the MiRTAP project of the GSC-Québec. The Milk River aquifer has been examinated in a 330 township area of southern Alberta. The Milk River Formation is divided into four members: the Telegraph Creek, the Virgelle, the Deadhorse Coulee and the Alderson members. Large regional sandstone aquifers are present within the Virgelle and the Upper Alderson members. 2,207 oil and gas industry wells were mapped. This study contains isopach maps of the members of the Milk River formation in southern Alberta. Nine maps have been constructed at a scale of 1:300,000. Note that data are absent in a region of 14 townships,corresponding to the subcrop area of the Milk River Formation.