Artesian aquifer

Artesian aquifer

:"See Great Artesian Basin for the water source in Australia."

An artesian aquifer is a confined aquifer containing groundwater that will flow upwards through a well without the need for pumping. Water may even spurt out of the ground if the natural pressure is high enough. An aquifer provides the water for an artesian well. An aquifer is a layer of soft rock, like limestone or sandstone, that absorbs water from an inlet path. Porous stone is confined between impermeable rocks or clay. This keeps the pressure high, so when the water finds an outlet, it overcomes gravity and goes up instead of down.

In recharging aquifers, this happens because the water table at its recharge zone is at a higher elevation than the head of the well.

"Fossil water" aquifers can also be artesian if they are under sufficient pressure from the surrounding rocks. This is similar to how many newly tapped oil wells are pressurized.


Artesian wells were named after the former province of Artois in France, where many artesian wells were drilled by Carthusian monks since 1126. [Frances Gies and Joseph Gies, "Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel" subtitled "Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages". Harper Perennial, 1995 ISBN 0-06-016590-1, page 112.] The technique was also known much earlier in Syria and Egypt, [For references on ancient uses, see Michel Wuttmann, [ "The Qanats of 'Ayn-Manâwîr, Kharga Oasis, Egypt"] , in "Jasr" 2001, p. 1. and [ Discoveries in the Western Desert of Egypt] ] although whether the monks of Artois learned of it from outside sources or discovered it independently is unknown.

Examples of artesian wells


* The Great Artesian Basin is the largest and deepest artesian basin in the world, occupying 23% of the continent.

United States

Some towns in the United States were named Artesia after the artesian wells in the vicinity. Other artesian well sites include:
* Pahrump, Nevada
* Fountain Point, Michigan
* Olympia, Washington
* Memphis, Tennessee
* Smoke Hole Caverns, Seneca Rocks, West Virginia
* Evamor, Goodbee, Louisiana
* Black Belt (region of Alabama)
* Potomac, Illinois


* Oak Hills-Stirling,Ontario

See also

* Drinking water
* Fluid mechanics
* Great Artesian Basin
* Hydrogeology
* Qanat


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • artesian aquifer —    Synonymous with confined aquifer. See aquifer, artesian …   Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology

  • Artesian — may mean * Artesian aquifer, derived from Artois where such an aquifer is located * An adjective pertaining to Artois; e.g., an Artesian citizen …   Wikipedia

  • Aquifer — Typical aquifer cross section An aquifer is a wet underground layer of water bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, or silt) from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using a water well. The study of water flow… …   Wikipedia

  • aquifer, flowing artesian —    An artesian aquifer in which the water, under hydrostatic pressure rises above the land surface …   Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology

  • artesian well — a well in which water rises under pressure from a permeable stratum overlaid by impermeable rock. [1855 60] * * *       a man made spring from which water flows under natural pressure without pumping. It is dug or drilled wherever a gently… …   Universalium

  • artesian flow —    Flow through a confined aquifer where the elevation of the overlying aquiclude is locally depressed so that the entire aquifer is saturated and the flow is under hydrostatic pressure.    Some maze cave development in cavernous limestones may… …   Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology

  • aquifer, artesian —    A confined aquifer where the potentiometric surface rises above the top of the aquifer bed [16] …   Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology

  • artesian well — noun a) An aquifer in which water rises to the surface under its own hydrostatic pressure. b) A bore hole in an artesian basin …   Wiktionary

  • artesian well —    A well deriving its water from a confined aquifer in which the water level stands above the ground surface [6].    Synonym: flowing artesian well …   Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology

  • artesian bore — /aˌtiʒən ˈbɔ/ (say ah.teezhuhn baw) noun a bore whose shaft penetrates an aquifer and in which the water level rises above ground by hydrostatic pressure. Also, artesian well. {French artésien relating to Artois, former province of France where… …   Australian English dictionary