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What is "artesian well water"?

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Welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Brian Campbell. Today's question is ...

What is "artesian well water"?

Answer:

Artesian well water is water from a well that taps an aquifer that is "confined". This aquifer is water-bearing rock below ground that is surrounded by other rock or material that does not allow water to pass through. So, the water in this aquifer is squeezed by the other rocks, creating pressure in the water-bearing aquifer. When an artesian aquifer is tapped by a well the pressure pushes the water up the well, sometimes all the way to the surface, creating a flowing well. Imagine it as a very wet sponge contained in a closed plastic bag. Put a straw through the bag into the sponge, hold the bag tightly around the straw, and SQUEEZE - that would be artesian water squirting you in the face.

And now you know.  Join us again every week for a new CoreFact.  For other CoreFacts, or for CoreCast, our in-depth science podcast, go to usgs.gov/podcasts.  If you'd like to have a question featured on our show, give us an e-mail at corefacts@usgs.gov or a phone call at 703-648-5600.  Remember, long distance fees do apply.  CoreFacts is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

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Title: What is "artesian well water"?

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Date Recorded: 1/7/2009


Usage: This audio file is public domain/of free use unless otherwise stated. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this audio.

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