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Coal in the Ferron Sandstone Member of the Mancos Shale of Cretaceous age has traditionally been mined by underground techniques in the Emery Coal Field in the southern end of Castle Valley in east-central Utah. However, approximately 99 million tons are recoverable by surface mining. Ground water in the Ferron is the sole source of supply for the town of Emery, but the aquifer is essentially untapped outside the Emery area. The Ferron Sandstone Member crops out along the eastern edge of Castle Valley and generally dips 2" to 10" to the northwest beneath the surface. Sandstones in the Ferron are enclosed between relatively impermeable shale in the Tununk and Blue Gate Members of the Mancos Shale. Along the outcrop, the Ferron ranges in thickness from about 80 feet in the northern part of Castle Valley to 850 feet in the southern part. The Ferron also generally thickens in the subsurface downdip from the outcrop. Records from wells and test holes indicate that the full thickness of the Ferron is saturated with water in most areas downdip from the outcrop area. Tests in the Emery area indicate that transmissivity of the Ferron sandstone aquifer ranges from about 200 to 700 feet squared per day where the Ferron is fully saturated. Aquifer transmissivity is greatest near the Paradise Valley-- Joes Valley fault system where permeability has been increased by fracturing. Storage coefficient ranges from about 10^-6 to 10^-3 where the Ferron sandstone aquifer is confined and probably averages 5 x 10^-2 where in is unconfined.


Open-File Report 81-535

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