Natural Resources, School of


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In Flat Water: A History of Nebraska and Its Water, ed. Robert D. Kuzelka, Charles A. Flowerday, Robert N. Manley, Bradley C. Rundquist, Sally J. Herrin. Resource Report No. 12, March 1993. Conservation and Survey Division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, p. 67.


Copyright 1993 University of Nebraska.


No serious researcher studying the development of water resources in Nebraska, or for that matter in the central Great Plains, can overlook the works of Nelson Horatio Darton, the first geologist to study and publish about those resources in any detail. Darton originally published the names and characteristics of many hydrogeologic units beneath much of Nebraska, now used by groups as diverse as scientists, well drillers and the general public. These works are listed below. As an indication of the value of these early efforts, I have used these works for my research and can testify to their accuracy and reliability.

Darton, on foot or horseback or in a wagon, sometimes alone, sometimes with one or two other researchers, prepared preliminary topographic and geologic maps of major parts of the West in about II years. He recorded and mapped irrigation development and studied the geologic framework of southeastern and south-central Nebraska from Lincoln to Cozad. He published similar but more expanded works for the Nebraska Panhandle and coined the terms Ogallala, Arikaree, Gering. Brule and Cluulron formations, and the White River Group. He drew maps of the irrigation developments along the North Platte and Niobrara rivers in the late 1800s (see the map of irrigation west of the 103rd Meridian. p. 67). He also prepared a general geologic map of Nebraska.