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Castle Pines Core

Cores stored at Castle Pines North Metropolitan District Office
Cores stored in basement of Castle Pines North Metropolitan District Office

In 1987, the U.S. Geological Survey began an investigation to obtain detailed geologic and hydrologic data pertaining to the bedrock aquifers in the Denver basin and to evaluate techniques for estimating aquifer characteristics by use of core analyses, aquifer tests, and geophysical logs. To conduct the investigation, USGS scientists joined other hydrologists and geologists from Federal, State, and local agencies and from private industry. The centerpiece of the investigation involved drilling a core hole in North Castle Pines, CO, penetrating all the principle aquifers of the Denver Basin: the Dawson Arkose, the Denver, Arapahoe, and Laramie Formations, and the Fox Hills Sandstone.

Cores are loaded onto truck for transport to CRC
CRC staff member loads core tubes onto truck for transport to the CRC

In February of that year, the core hole (C1) was drilled to a depth of 1,957 ft, at which point the core barrel was lost, forcing the abandonment of the hole. A second hole (C1-A) was drilled and coring was continued from 1,895 to 3,110 ft. Once the core was thoroughly studied, it was placed into long term storage in the basement of the Castle Pines North Metropolitan District office, where it sat unused for many years.




Cores stored in the CRC warehouse
Cores on pallet racks at the CRC

In the summer of 2008, Jim McGrady from the Castle Pines North Metropolitan District began communicating with the USGS about the possibility of transferring the 3,122 ft core from Castle Pines to the Core Research Center, where the core will be made accessible to members of the geologic community, both public and private. In August, the entire 3000+ feet of core was transported to the CRC facility in Lakewood, CO. The core now resides next to the Kiowa Core, drilled in 1999, which penetrates the same formations in a different part of the basin. Having these two cores at the same location will provide great research opportunities to scientists studying the Denver Basin for years to come.

Core on display in CRC exam room
Cores on display in CRC exam room. In January 2009, 50 people attended a core workshop featuring the Denver Basin Cores

The Castle Pines Core was drilled by a joint venture between the U.S. Geological Survey, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Resources, Office of the State Engineer, the Castle Pines Metropolitan District, and the Castle Pines North Metropolitan District. Jehn and Wood, Inc. provided hydrologic consultation for the project.

The Kiowa Core was drilled with funding provided by the National Science Foundation, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, and the Colorado State Engineer's Office. Additional support was provided by U.S. Geological Survey, the Colorado Division of Water Resources, Colorado State University, the Colorado State University Extension Office in Kiowa, Colorado, the Elbert County Water Advisory Board, Elbert County Commissioners, Prima Energy, and RockWare, Inc.


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