The upper clastic sediments in the Reconcavo-Tucano basin comprise a multilayer aquifer system of Jurassic age. Its groundwater is normally fresh down to depths of more than 1000 m. Locally, however, there are zones producing high salinity or sulfur geothermal waters. In other areas, the system is being exploited heavily to support a petrochemical center and related industries. Analysis of electrical logs of more than 150 wells enabled the identification of the most typical sedimentary structures and the gross geometries for the sandstone units in selected areas of the basin. Based on this information, the thick sands are interpreted as coalescent point bars and the shales as flood plain deposits of a large fluvial environment. The resistivity logs and core laboratory data are combined to develop empirical equations relating aquifer porosity and permeability to log-derived parameters such as formation factor and cementation exponent. Temperature logs of 15 wells were useful to quantify the water leakage through semiconfining shales. The groundwater quality was inferred from spontaneous potential (SP) log deflections under control of chemical analysis of water samples. An empirical chart is developed that relates the SP-derived water resistivity to the true water resistivity within the formations. The patterns of salinity variation with depth inferred from SP logs were helpful in identifying subsurface flows along major fault zones, where extensive mixing of water is taking place. A total of 49 vertical Schlumberger resistivity soundings aid in defining aquifer structures and in extrapolating the log derived results. Transition zones between fresh and saline waters have also been detected based on a combination of logging and surface sounding data. Ionic filtering by water leakage across regional shales, local convection and mixing along major faults and hydrodynamic dispersion away from lateral permeability contrasts are the main mechanisms controlling the observed distributions of salinity and temperature within the basin.

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