For over a decade, the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences faculty at Western Michigan University have been mapping and analyzing reservoir properties for freshwater bedrock aquifers in central Lower Michigan. These strata are primary water resource units for large populations throughout the state.
Pennsylvanian-aged, coarse-grained clastic rocks are important aquifers in several central Lower Michigan counties. Dr. Alan E. Kehew, in collaboration with the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education, is completing work on a predictive model for aquifer geometry, spatial distribution and controls on reservoir properties. Lateral discontinuity on a regional scale and a lack of detailed biostratigraphic, lithostratigraphic and sedimentologic data has confounded modeling of these important bedrock aquifer units. At MGRRE, we are using our archive of subsurface geological data to better characterize these units. This research will yield not only a better scientific understanding of these natural resources but also provide economic benefits related to a more reliable water supply in areas of intensive agriculture use and in urban areas experiencing pressures from ongoing development.