• Little Niagra


    National Recreation Area Oklahoma

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  • Warning to Boaters

    Chickasaw National Recreation area is warning all boat users to be cautious while boating on Lake of the Arbuckles due to low water levels in the lake. More »

  • Swimming Areas Closed

    Due to low water flow in Travertine Creek, the Little Niagara, Panther Falls, and Bear Falls swimming areas are closed until further notice. The Little Niagara and Panther Falls picnic areas remain open.

  • Eagle Bay Boat Launch Closed

    Due to low water in Lake of the Arbuckles, Eagle Bay Boat Launch is closed.

Origin and Movement of Water

Schematic section showing flow paths of water in the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer.

Schematic section showing flow paths of water in the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer.


Ground water in the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer originates as precipitation falling on the aquifer outcrop (where the Arbuckle and Simpson geologic units are found at the land surface). Thus, water in the aquifer is of local origin and does not come from great distances. Precipitation falling on the outcrop infiltrates into the soil zone, where the water evaporates or is transpired by plants back to the atmosphere, or continues down into the aquifer to become ground water.

The dominant rock types of the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer are limestone (calcium carbonate) and dolomite (calcium magnesium carbonate). The water chemistry is produced by dissolving small amounts of minerals in these rocks primarily through the action of carbon dioxide (in the form of carbonic acid) introduced in the soil zone. The dissolution of the carbonate minerals causes the water to be very hard. Water containing mostly calcium bicarbonate is found in the western part of the aquifer, where the Arbuckle- Simpson aquifer is predominantly limestone. Calcium magnesium bicarbonate water is found in the eastern part of the aquifer, where the rock type is predominantly dolomite.

Water in the aquifer is constantly flowing and generally flows in the same direction as runoff, from topographically high areas to topographically low areas, to discharge at springs and streams. Typically, the time from precipitation entering the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer to discharge at springs, streams, or wells is less than 60 years, which for ground water is a rapid flow system. However, not all water in the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer discharges in a short period of time. Some of the water may take a deeper and longer flow path before discharging. Water flowing along these longer paths may take thousands of years to reach a discharge point.


Christenson, Scott, Hunt, A.G., Parkhurst, D.L., and Osborn, N.I. 2009. Geochemistry of the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009-3013, 4p.

Christenson, Scott, Hunt, A.G., and Parkhurst, D.L. 2009. Geochemical investigation of the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer, South-central Oklahoma, 2004-06: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5036, 50p.

Did You Know?

Detail of Frisco railroad advertisement for Platt National Park

Like the more famous national parks in the western United States, visitors came to Platt National Park via the railroad at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Both the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad, (more commonly known as the Frisco), and the Santa Fe Railroad had spur lines to Sulphur. More...