Potentiometric Surface Decline of the Ozark Aquifer Near Springfield, Missouri

Date of Graduation

Fall 2006


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Melida Gutierrez


Groundwater flow in southwest Missouri has been substantially altered from predevelopment conditions. Sub-surface flow in the Springfield area in Greene County and northern Christian County is now towards Springfield due to extensive pumping of the aquifer over time. The primary groundwater source is the Ozark aquifer that is overlain by the Ozark confining unit and the unconfined Springfield Plateau aquifer. Previous studies show a cone of depression in the potentiometric surface of the Ozark Aquifer: in 1987 the center of that cone showed over 300 feet of decline relative to predevelopment levels. The areas showing the greatest amount of potentiometric surface decline correspond with the areas of rapid population growth of the area. Christian County showed the highest growth rate in Missouri from 1990 to 2000. While the population of approximately 200,000 people in the city of Springfield has decreased its reliance on groundwater, all of the growing outlying communities rely on groundwater exclusively. As these communities continue to develop, the demands on the groundwater have grown, and the diameter and geometry of the cone of depression has changed accordingly. The cone of depression's areal extent of the cone has increased since 1987, especially in northern Christian County.


groundwater, aquifer, population, GIS, Southwest Missouri

Subject Categories

Hydrology | Water Resource Management


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