E

Edwards Group (Ked)

E
10.7

E

E

E

Dyr

DSWSC

2.5

0.8

E
EE

E

E

EE

3

E

+C
l
4

SO
TD 360’

2

Scale

Depth (ft)

200

Sligo
(Ksl)

Blue Creek Section
Hays Co.

calcarenite, fossilierous;
35ft
Unit 3

Orbitolina

Nodular lmst; fossiliferous
Orbit., clams; 60 ft

Sycamore/
Hosston (Ksy/Kho)
M

micritic limestone

#

gypsum/anhydrite

P1

photograph (Plate 17)

Gypsum/anhydrite
Siliciclastic (silt, clay)
spring
Siliciclastic (sand, silt)
Sequence
ApSBPR1 boundaries

40

%
20
3

O

%
60
%

%

%

%

1. Results of this study indicate complex surface and groundwater interactions in the Onion Creek Watershed.

USGS

2. For the first time, flow losses are documented to occur along a creek reach underlain by the Upper Glen
Rose that has implications for recharge to the Middle Trinity Aquifer.

Recharge feature

Sky Ranch
Low Water

RR12

Select flow station
name

Crooked Oak

3. These losses combined with other hydrogeologic and geochemical data suggest Onion Creek provides
some recharge to the Middle Trinity Aquifer in those reaches.
4. A better understanding of the surface water and groundwater interactions along the creek is important for
groundwater and surface water management in an area undergoing significant population growth.

Camp
Ben

80
Burns Ranch swallet.

Future Studies
RR12

Camp
Lucy

40

Future studies being planned include dye tracing, establishing stream gages, groundwater head data, and geochemistry among
others.

BR8

slightly fossil.; 45 ft

Acknowledgments
Unit 1: Solution Zone

0

“Corbula bed”

Lower Glen
Rose

Puryear

Debo

100
Gamma Ray (CPU)
TD= 748 ft

Gatlin Creek

Rextl lmst, dolo. & cly;

Creek Rd.
BR Swallet

South Onion Creek

400

25

Barber Falls

20

Antioch

15
10
5

Tributary inflows (cfs)

skeletal

July 2015 Tributary

Flat Creek

frame builders

S

Upper Glen Rose
Losing Reach

Jackson Br anch

F

Dec 2015 Onion Cr.
Nov 2015 Tributary

Clayst, thin bedded lmst;

boxwork; 25 ft

Limestone (reef)

Nov 2015 Onion Cr.

Edwards Aquifer
Recharge Zone

recryst. lmst, dolo. and

Unit 2

Limestone (skeletal, grains)

Explanation

clay; 20 ft

Springs

grains

Take Aways

July 2015 Onion Cr.

Fossiliferous marl calcarenite, minor
(clams, oysters,
dolomite; rudists, clams;
gatropods)
75 ft

seeps

G

G

Onion Creek Distance-Flow Hydrograph

Unit 5: Solution zone

300

Limestone (micritic)

%

ep”
silic
aqu iclastic
ifer

fossiliferous limestone,

Unit 4: Nodular lmst, cly,

S

20

Figure 6. Piper diagram showing groundwater and surface water geochemistry. DSWSC #3 indicated ion
chemistry similar to surface water (#2 perhaps a mixture). Isotopes of modern carbon of 102% and 73%, and
relatively high tritium, for the DSWSC wells indicate some portion of modern recharge to the wells.

“De

Figure 3. Structural cross section A-A’ of Onion Creek showing elevation from west (upstream) to east (downstream). Note there is only a
very thin remnant of the Upper Glen Rose section of about 20 ft in the losing reach. A relatively thinner and fractured Upper Glen Rose may
enhance recharge to the Middle Trinity Aquifer in this area.

120

0

Conglomerate

of fossiliferous limestone,

Mustang Branch

Upper Glen Rose (Kgru)
Cow
Creek
(Kcc)

G

Explanation

Shale/marl

Unit 7: Alternating beds

dolomitic marls

Cl

TD 660’

White Branch

G

Upper Glen Rose

M

G

Ca

TD 775’

marker, Clyst with thin

F

S

500

630’ log TD

Onion Creek Flow (cfs)

S

UNDIFFERENTIATED
PALEOZOIC
(Pz)

Dolomite

Lower
Glen
Rose

Hosston

Unit 6: Loriolia rosana

Hensel
(Khe)

BERREMIAN-

1000

ifer

60

1

aqu

Loriolia rosana

F

VALENGINIAN-HAUTERIVIAN LOW APTIAN

900

%
ate

Pierce Branch

#

Lower Glen Rose (Kgrl)

LOWER ALBIAN

# #

Hammett
(Kha)

800

1100

#

S
UPPER APTIAN

T R I N I T Y

G R O U P

C R E T A C E O U S

Thickness (feet)

L O W E R

700

l car
bon

40

Feet

0

20%

iona

%

600

Reg

Sligo
miles

dolomite and clay; 85 ft.

# #

Mg

Upper Glen Rose
Units 1-8

100

20

500

M S

20%

%

400

282’

40%

Hammett

40

300

(regional aquifer)

80

TD 372’

60%

%

200

40%

Upper
Glen Rose

confining formation

%

200

890’

Basal carbonate
(local) aquifer

Hensel
Cow Creek

60%

SO4

Aquitard

1000

109’

%

Onion Creek
Lower Glen Rose

TD 475’

Lower
Trinity

1009’

111’

80%

%

TD 730’

Hammett

80%
Mad. #1
well

125’

ge

l Aquifer

DSWSC #2
DSWSC #3

60

Regiona

Sligo

Upper Glen Rose

313’

Hensel
facies ch
an

OCw
well

Onion Creek
1052’

591’

1000

1121’

200’

dolomites &

Middle Trinity Springs
Middle Trinity Wells

Balcones Fault Zone

DSWSC
wells

Unit 8: Interbedded fine

M

Upper Trinity Spring
Upper Trinity Wells

%

Hensel

gs &
seep
s

water level

Pfl.
well

Onion Creek
1128’

unit 1
sprin

Lower Glen Rose

Middle
Trinity

Hosston

dolomitic clay; 25 ft

Surface Water (USGS)

20

Lower
Glen Rose

Hnk.
well

12/1/15

Surface and
springflows

1320’

unit
shallo s 4&5
w aq
uifer
unit 3
aquit
ard

6/1/15

40

Trinity Group

units 4 &
5 springs
& seeps
unit 3 O
rbitolina

60

Edwards1
(Ked)

Dyr.
well

units 6 &
7 Loriola
markers

12/1/14

80

Age

Upper
Trinity

6/1/14

Legend

DSWSC wells

Upper Glen Rose losing reach

1500

Cow
Creek

Alternatiing

12/1/13

Onion Creek

unit 1 gy
psum

Stricklin et al., 1971
Central Texas

Groundwater

+K

Lithostratigraphic

Edwards

Edwards

%

Fredericksburg Group

HAYS CO

Na

Period

1650’

6/1/13

Mg

Edwards
Group

12/1/12

E

Oswald
well

Hydro-

Litho-

6/1/12

+
Ca

Stratigraphy

12/1/11

EAST

Paleozoic
(undif.)

100

6/1/11

%
80

E

WEST

Ceretostreon
texanum

M

12/1/10

E

EE

grained xtal dolomite,
S

E
E

E

6/1/10

Figure 5. Hydrograph showing Onion Creek flows versus two Middle Trinity wells adjacent to Onion Creek.
Increased recharge in the vicinity of the losing reaches of Onion Creek may cause the higher water levels in
DSWSC#2 than in the upgradient Hanks well during periods of high creek flow.

E
E
E

12/1/09

Kyle
Kyle

Onion Creek and indicates the losing reaches. Geologic map modified from the GAT.

M

100

6/1/09

E

E
EE
Figure 2.ELocation map of study area with all streamflow results from the July 2015 synoptic
event. Map showing the main channel of

Divide Pass,
eastern Blanco Co.

M

880

¨
§
¦

EE Wimberley
Wimberley
EE
E

500

0

E

35

Cherty regolith

Walnut Fm.

Ked

E

80

Edwards
(regolith)

E

920

%

0

EE
E EE

Kun

DSWSC #2
(5756703)

%
40

Stratigraphic Column
& Geologic Features

32.1

960

20

Group or
Formation

32.3

E

JWS

miles

Study Area Stratigraphy
Composite Section

34.5

Hanks (5755607)

1000

80

1.5

11.5

Middle Trinty Aquifer
Water Level Elevations

%

E

8.4

E

EPVS
Comal
0C o u n t y

Buda
Buda

1.3

Kgrl

E

E

Mad.

37.8

E

E

Generalized net losing reach

E

E

1040

21.1 - 46.0

A’

E

BLANCO CO

This study reveals complex surface and groundwater interactions in the Onion Creek watershed. For the first time, flow
losses are documented to occur along a creek reach underlain by the Upper Glen Rose that has implications for recharge
to the Middle Trinity Aquifer. This reach is highlighed in Figures 2, 3, and 4. These losses combined with other hydrogeologic and geochemical data suggest Onion Creek provides some recharge to the Middle Trinity Aquifer in those reaches.
A better understanding of the surface water and groundwater interactions along the creek is important for groundwater
and surface-water management in an area undergoing significant population growth.

28.7

Kgrl

E

4.3 - 21.1

1.2

E

E

0.1
Hays
Hays

E
E E
E

Kgru

1

0 - 0.1
0.1 - 4.3

E

10

%
60

The focus of the paper is on the results of two synoptic flow-measurement events during low and high flow conditions,
July and November 2015, respectively. Detailed geologic, hydrogeologic, and geochemical data were incorporated into
the evaluation to understand the hydrogeologic significance of the data.

EEE
E

Springs

E

21.1

E

Hays
County

45
S
T

Normal (source GAT)
Hollow
Shady
Hollow
fractures
EInferred fault or Shady

Flow (cfs)

4.3

12.2

T
S

E
E

15.8

Driftwood
Driftwood

E

E

10.9

100

Hensel and Cow Creek
1
T
S
Undiv. (Kh/Kcc)
45

Faults

E

E

0.6

OCw

0.5

Kh/Kcc

This paper presents the results of a flow study in Onion Creek and its tributaries extending 46 miles from the headwaters
in Blanco County to downstream of the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone in Hays County. A total of 69 flow sites were established and 139 quantitative and 57 qualitative flow measurements were made from January through December 2015.
The quantitative measurements of streamflow were made using acoustic Doppler velocimeters (ADV).

E

E

E

Despite the critical importance of Onion Creek to the community, until this study, no comprehensive gain-loss studies
have been conducted that characterize the surface and groundwater interactions across the Trinity (Upper Glen Rose)
and Edwards Aquifers.

E
E
E
E E

Bear
Bear Creek
Creek

20

Onion Creek is an important hydrologic link between two major aquifers in Central Texas. Multiple small springs discharging from the Trinity Aquifers sustain base flow in Onion Creek that in turn recharges the Edwards Aquifer, ultimately discharging at Barton and San Marcos Springs. The creek generally contains clear, low nutrient water with high ecological
and recreational value. This watershed is rapidly being developed and is experiencing significant population growth and
E
land use changes, thus increasing demand for water supplies and potentially affecting regional hydrology.

2 90

HC

E

1.9

7.4

3.2

2

Ked

E
E
E

£
¤

County
Lower
Glen Rose (Kgrl)

40
%

Osw.

Kgru

Oswald geophysical
log, eastern Blanco
County

Pfl.

Travis
County

E

8.9

A

Regional Stratigraphy

E

Hnk

Upper Glen Rose (Kgru)

0.1
EEEDripping
Dripping Springs
Springs
E
0.9
E
9.3
E

10.1

Monthly Mean Flow
Onion Creek at Driftwood
USGS site 08158700

1000

60
%

E1

0.3

1.1
2.9
1.1

2

E

2 90

E

E

0.4

£
¤

Henly
Henly

Blanco
County

Abstract

Upper Cret.
E Undiv. (Kun)

E
2 90

B.B. Hunt, B.A. Smith, J.P. Camp, Barton Springs Edwards/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District
A.S. Broun, D.E. Smith-Salgado, Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District
D.A. Wierman, Blue Creek Consulting, LLC, Dripping Springs
D.A. Johns, R. Hatch and F.Hernandez, City of Austin Watershed Protection Department

2 90

2 90

Kgru

£
¤
EE

£
¤

£
¤

2 90

E

Austin Geological Society Annual Poster Meeting, May 2016

71
T
S
Legend

£
¤

80
%

¯

E

E

E

Streamflow (cfs)

Results

E
E

E

Water Level Elevation (ft-msl)

Preliminary Findings:
Surface and Groundwater Interaction Along Onion Creek, Hays
County, Central Texas
E

E

0

Figure 1. Regional (from Wierman et al., 2010) and local stratigraphy of the study area. The
Oswald well anchors the structural cross section (A-A’) in the west, proximal to the headwaters
of Onion Creek. The Upper Glen Rose Member is 355 feet thick at Oswald and is subdivided
into eight informal lithologic units, which correlate to the classic work of Stricklin et al. (1971).

0

10

20

30

40

50

The “Onion Creek Project” was initiated in November 2014 with geoscientists from local groundwater districts, the City of Austin,
and independent hydrogeological consultants meeting to identify project goals. We extend our thanks to the cooperation and
support of landowners and other entities: Dripping Springs Water Supply Corporation, Les White, Browning Ranch, Burns
Ranch, Camp Lucy, Lyndon Smith Ranch, US Geological Survey, and the Texas Water Development Board.
Elements of the text and figures in this poster are part of a paper that is “in review” by the Gulf Coast Association of Geological
Societies (GCAGS) for publication at their fall 2016 meeting.

Select References
Stricklin, F.L., Jr., C.I. Smith, F.E. Lozo, 1971, Stratigraphy of Lower Cretaceous Trinity deposits of Central Texas: University of
Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, Report of Investigations no. 71, 63 p.

Distance from headwaters (miles)

Figure 4. Flow versus distance in the main channel of Onion Creek. This study has documented consistent loses flow in the area of RR12
and over the Edwards recharge zone. This includes the direct observation of karst features and recharge.

Wierman, D.A., A. S. Broun, B.B. Hunt, 2010, Hydrogeologic Atlas of the Hill Country Trinity Aquifer, Blanco, Hays, and Travis
Counties, Central Texas: Hays-Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, United States. 15 plates.

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