Wednesday, DecEMber 20, 2017

Locating, investigating, and defining the upper laramie aquifer, northeastern colorado

travis brown, quantum water & environment

12:00 - 12:15 pm Social gathering

12:15 pm Presentation

This presentation has been approved for One Hour of Continuing Education Credit by the
Colorado Board of Examiners of Water Well and Pump Installation Contractors

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Geotech Environmental Equipment, Inc.

2650 E. 40th Avenue

Denver, CO 80205



The Cheyenne Basin in northeastern Colorado has been explored and exploited for oil and gas reserves, resulting in a wealth of self-potential (SP) and resistivity borehole geophysical logs which have facilitated aquifer characterization in the basin. The Upper Laramie aquifer in the Cheyenne Basin was initially identified through geophysical logs and has since been further characterized through 3-D seismic data, test holes, production wells, cores, and outcrop data. The depth and thickness of the lower confining unit separating the Upper Laramie aquifer from the underlying Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer has been largely delineated using geophysical logs. Additionally, in areas where shallow geophysical data is sparse, the geometry of the bottom of the Upper Laramie aquifer and the underlying confining unit has been inferred by mirroring the geometry of the underlying Upper Pierre Shale, which is more commonly captured in deep geophysical logs for oil and gas wells. The Upper Pierre Shale exhibits a characteristic geophysical signature and is conformable with the Fox Hills Formation which is, in turn, conformable with the Laramie Formation.

Geophysical logging has thus played a crucial role in assessing the Upper Laramie’s potential connectivity to other aquifers and to surface water. A large portion of the aquifer which has been explored has been determined to be nontributary – that is, only negligibly connected to surface water - allowing water rights or regulatory determinations to be obtained which permit well owners to withdraw large quantities of groundwater from the aquifer without the need for augmentation. Future investigation will continue to delineate the geometry of the aquifer and its nontributary extent.

This talk will focus on where groundwater is located in the Upper Laramie aquifer, how an aquifer is determined to be nontributary, and the use of borehole geophysics in exploring and managing Colorado’s groundwater resources. 


Travis is a hydrogeologist with a background in natural resources and environmental consulting. His experience includes hydrologic and geologic characterization, soil and bedrock classification, well design and drilling oversight, groundwater modeling, preparation of expert reports for Augmentation Plans and Substitute Water Supply Plans (SWSP), database management, environmental site assessment and reporting, soil and water quality sampling, vapor intrusion sampling, regulatory compliance, environmental remediation, health and safety coordination, and geothermal resource development. He has a passion for solving problems related to water resources, energy, and the environment.