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Machine-learning model predictions and groundwater-quality rasters of total dissolved solids in aquifers of the Mississippi Embayment

Metadata Updated: October 28, 2023

Groundwater is a vital resource in the Mississippi embayment of the central United States. An innovative approach using machine learning (ML) was employed to predict groundwater salinity—including specific conductance (SC), total dissolved solids (TDS), and chloride (Cl) concentrations—across three drinking-water aquifers of the Mississippi embayment. A ML approach was used because it accommodates a large and diverse set of explanatory variables, does not assume monotonic relations between predictors and response data, and results can be extrapolated to areas of the aquifer not sampled. These aspects of ML allowed potential drivers and sources of high salinity water that have been hypothesized in other studies to be included as explanatory variables. The ML approach integrated output from a groundwater-flow model and water-quality data to predict salinity, and the approach can be applied to other aquifers to provide context for the long-term availability of groundwater resources. The Mississippi embayment includes two principal regional aquifer systems; the surficial aquifer system, dominated by the Quaternary Mississippi River Valley Alluvial aquifer (MRVA), and the Mississippi embayment aquifer system, which includes deeper Tertiary aquifers and confining units. Based on the distribution of groundwater use for drinking water, the modeling focused on the MRVA, middle Claiborne aquifer (MCAQ), and lower Claiborne aquifer (LCAQ). Boosted regression tree (BRT) models (Elith and others, 2008; Kuhn and Johnson, 2013) were developed to predict SC and Cl to 1-kilometer (km) raster grid cells of the National Hydrologic Grid (Clark and others, 2018) for 7 aquifer layers (1 MRVA, 4 MCAQ, 2 LCAQ) following the hydrogeologic framework of Hart and others (2008). TDS maps were created using the correlation between SC and TDS. Explanatory variables for the BRT models included attributes associated with well location and construction, surficial variables (such as soils and land use), and variables extracted from a MODFLOW groundwater flow model for the Mississippi embayment (Haugh and others, 2020a; Haugh and others, 2020b). Prediction intervals were calculated for SC and Cl by bootstrapping raster-cell predictions following methods from Ransom and others (2017). For a full description of modeling workflow and final model selection see Knierim and others (2020).

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

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Metadata Created Date June 1, 2023
Metadata Updated Date October 28, 2023

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOI EDI

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date June 1, 2023
Metadata Updated Date October 28, 2023
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Identifier USGS:5df7fd87e4b0cdded7393fcf
Data Last Modified 20200821
Category geospatial
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 010:12
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id ace22dca-e6bc-4a5b-9337-64919d7dccad
Harvest Source Id 52bfcc16-6e15-478f-809a-b1bc76f1aeda
Harvest Source Title DOI EDI
Metadata Type geospatial
Old Spatial -94.1084,31.1998,-86.76,37.4605
Publisher Hierarchy White House > U.S. Department of the Interior > U.S. Geological Survey
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash eef4aac5e8accbfa4834b0d0848491bae3ad8276bbe01efe8b8a56d10c4a0caf
Source Schema Version 1.1
Spatial {"type": "Polygon", "coordinates": -94.1084, 31.1998, -94.1084, 37.4605, -86.76, 37.4605, -86.76, 31.1998, -94.1084, 31.1998}

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