Hydrogeology of the Malad–Lower Bear River Basin, North-Central Utah and South-Central Idaho
By: Hugh Hurlow


This report characterizes the lithology of the younger (i.e., Quaternary) basin fill of the Malad–Lower Bear River basin in north-central Utah to provide a geologic framework for evaluation of groundwater flow and the potential effects of additional future groundwater pumping. Analysis of well-drillers’ logs yielded a coherent lithologic stratigraphy below the valley floor, that consists of alternating predominantly fine-grained and predominantly coarse-grained layers above the Tertiary Salt Lake Formation. These units grade abruptly across a facies transition to heterogeneous, predominantly coarse-grained deposits below the mountain fronts. The valley-floor lithologic succession is consistent with findings from previous studies in Cache Valley and basins along the Wasatch front, and with established Quaternary lake cycles. Three fine-grained layers separated by two gravel layers compose a heterogeneous, composite confining unit below the youngest surficial deposits. Heterogeneous, predominantly coarse-grained deposits between the confining unit and the Salt Lake Formation make up the deep sand and gravel aquifer. Groundwater pumping from the shallow sand and gravel aquifer would cause rapid and direct depletion of stream flow in the Bear River and Malad River, which traverse the basin. Depletion of stream flow and spring flow due to pumping from the deep sand and gravel aquifer would be delayed and dispersed, but not negated, by the composite confining unit.

Major Oil Plays in Utah and Vicinity

By: Thomas C. Chidsey, Jr., Compiler and Editor

One of the benefits of Utah’s diverse geology is a wealth of petroleum resources. Three oil-producing provinces exist in Utah and adjacent parts of Wyoming, Colorado, and Arizona—the thrust belt, Paradox Basin, and Uinta Basin. Utah produces oil from eight major “plays” within these provinces. This 293-page bulletin describes concisely and in new detail each of these major oil plays. It provides “stand alone” play portfolios which include the following descriptions: (1) tectonic setting; (2) reservoir stratigraphy, thickness, and lithology; (3) type of oil traps; (4) rock properties; (5) oil and gas chemical and physical characteristics; (6) seal and source rocks including timing of generation and migration of oil; (7) exploration and production history; (8) case-study oil field evaluations; (9) reservoir outcrop analogs; (10) exploration potential and trends; and (11) maps of play and subplay areas. The bulletin will help petroleum companies determine exploration, land-acquisition, and field-development strategies; pipeline companies plan future facilities and pipeline routes; and assist with decisions and evaluations faced by landowners, bankers and investors, economists, utility companies, county planners, and numerous government resource management agencies.


Our latest issue of Survey Notes is here! Find articles on mapping Utah wetlands & UGS’s role in contributing water-quality data to the National Ground-Water Monitoring Network, and more among our regular featured columns.



Check out past issues of Survey Notes

The Utah Geological Survey 2017 Calendar of Utah Geology has arrived! The calendars are on sale for $4.95 each or $4.25 for orders of 10 or more at the Utah Natural Resources Map & Bookstore, 1594 West North Temple in Salt Lake City.

The photos are taken by staff members who are often on assignment in some of the most intriguing areas of the state.


Our latest issue of Survey Notes is here!

Find articles on the salt crust on Great Salt Lake’s north arm, the geothermal project near Milford, Utah and more among our regular featured columns.



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Geologic map of Dugway Proving Ground and adjacent areas, Tooele County, Utah.
By: Donald L. Clark, Charles G. Oviatt, and David Page


M-274DM Cover

Dugway Proving Ground is an expansive military installation that covers parts of the southern Great Salt Lake Desert and Government Creek Basin, and the southern Cedar Mountains, Wildcat Mountain, Granite Peak, and northern Dugway Range. The ranges contain Paleozoic marine sedimentary rocks about 28,000 feet (8540 m) thick, excepting Granite Peak- a Late Jurassic granitic intrusion. The southern Cedar Mountains volcanic field contains Eocene intermediate to silicic rocks, while the rhyolitic Sapphire Mountain lava flow is Miocene. Paleozoic rock packages are distributed among at least three thrusts sheets of the Sevier fold-thrust belt (Cretaceous to Eocene). Regional extension since about 20 million years ago has broken the area into basins and ranges along high-angle normal faults. Quaternary surficial deposits originated from the Bonneville lake cycle, and alluvial, eolian, and mixed environments. A unique feature is the Old River Bed and associated delta complex at its northern terminus, related to surface- water overflow and goundwater discharge from the Sevier basin to the Great Salt Lake basin between about 15,000 and 10,000 years ago. The delta was occupied by prehistoric humans.

OFR-653DM cd cover

By: James C. Coogan and Jon K. King

The Ogden 30’x60′ quadrangle covers the populous Wasatch Front near Ogden, Utah, and the adjacent Wasatch Range, and extends eastward into Wyoming near Evanston, Wyoming. It covers parts of the Ogden, Weber, and upper and lower Bear River drainages. The Ogden quadrangle is economically important because of the gas and oil fields on the east margin of the map area, the cement plant near Devils Slide, numerous sand and gravel operations, water resources, and recreational interests.



B-136 Insert

By: Thomas C. Chidsey, Jr.

This report (241 pages of text, 187 figures, 30 tables, and 21 appendices) presents the shale-gas potential of the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian Manning Canyon Shale/Doughnut Formation and the Pennsylvanian Paradox Formation (Chimney Rock, Gothic, and Hovenweep shales) of central and southeastern Utah, respectively. Shale beds within these formations are widespread, thick, buried deep enough to generate dry gas (or oil in some areas of the Paradox Basin), and sufficiently rich in organic material and fractures to hold significant recoverable gas reserves. This study provides a detailed evaluation of these potential shale-gas reservoirs including (1) drilling history, (2) identification and mapping/ correlating the major shale intervals, (3) characterization of the geologic, petrographic, geochemical, and petrophysical rock properties of those reservoirs from cores, (4) burial histories and organic maturation models, and (5) descriptions of outcrop analogs. Collectively, this study delineates the areas with the greatest gas potential (“sweet spots”) and offers recommendations for the best completion practices to develop these targeted shale-gas reservoirs.


OFR-646 Insert cover

By:Hellmut H. Doelling and Paul A. Kuehne

The Steves Mountain quadrangle in central Utah spans the southernmost Wasatch Plateau and northernmost Fish Lake Plateau and is crossed by Interstate 70. Late Cretaceous to late Eocene strata are folded westward on the west flank of the Wasatch monocline, and are cut by generally north-tranding horsts and grabens, including the Water Hollow fault zone in the eastern part of the quadrangle. Large landslides and slope creep are common on several incompetent units.


OFR-641 Insert cover

By: Paul A. Kuehne and Hellmut H. Doelling

The Gooseberry Creek quadrangle in central Utah covers the northwestern end of the Fish Lake Plateau. The Gooseberry Road, a popular scenic link between Interstate 70 and the Fish Lake Recreation Area, traverses the quadrangle; climbing to over 10,000 feet in elevation, it is one of the highest paved highways in the state. Late Cretaceous to late Eocene strata dip gently westward, are cut by several steep normal faults, and are folded into the west-facing Wasatch monocline near the west side of the quadrangle. Oligocene volcanic rocks of the Marysvale volcanic field extend into the southern part of the quadrangle. Rock glaciers, large landslides, colluvium, and alluvium are common.