Open File Report 2016-02

Open File Report 2016-02

OFR 2016-02

Field Evidence of Nested Groundwater Flow Along the Little Smoky River, West-Central Alberta

As part of the Alberta Geological Survey project "Hydrogeological Characterization of the Fox Creek Area, West-Central Alberta," three boreholes were drilled into the upper part of the Paskapoo Formation near Fox Creek, Alberta. The boreholes intersect lithologies that are typical of the Sunchild aquifer and Lacombe aquitard. This report contains detailed lithological descriptions and an associated suite of downhole geophysical logs collected from these boreholes and will help inform a new hydrostratigraphic model for this region.

At two of the borehole locations, vibrating wire piezometers were installed to four depths measuring vertical hydraulic heads adjacent to the Little Smoky River. Combined with water level data from the Alberta Water Well Information Database, these data indicate that the Little Smoky River occurs within a localized groundwater flow system that is nested within a larger-scale system at this location. The prevailing groundwater flow direction appears to be downward in the Paskapoo Formation (i.e., recharge condition), except for the localized flow system providing base flow to the Little Smoky River (i.e., a gaining river). In this regard, the Little Smoky River may be contained within a localized groundwater flow system extending approximately three kilometres away from the river.

Smerdon, B.D., Atkinson, L.A., Hartman, G.M.D., Playter, T.L. and Andriashek, L.D. (2016): Field evidence of nested groundwater flow along the Little Smoky River, west-central Alberta; Alberta Energy Regulator, AER/AGS Open File Report 2016-02, 34 p.