I grew up in West Tennessee hearing about Artesian Wells. On my grandfather’s farm near Brownsville there were several of these wells. I was also told many of the Artesian wells fed the creeks that flowed into the Hatchie River.
What is an Artesian Well?*
When researching a borehole for your property or business you might have come across the term Artesian Well, but what does it actually mean and how is it different?
Firstly, artesian groundwater is the same as any other type of groundwater the only difference is how it gets to the surface.
An artesian well is simply a well that doesn’t require a pump to bring water to the surface; this occurs when there is enough pressure in the aquifer. The pressure forces the water to the surface without any sort of assistance.
An aquifer is a geologic layer of permeable and porous rock such as sandstone or limestone and that provides the water source for the artesian well.
The aquifer absorbs and stores water and in an artesian well the porous stone is sandwiched between a top and bottom layer of impermeable rock such as shale or clay. This causes positive pressure
The first Artesian well on record was drilled in 1126 by a group of Monks in the French province of Artois, hence the name Artesian well.
Back then they didn’t have the luxury of a fully operation drilling rig like we use today and the aquifer was reached by brute force and a sharp rod known as a bore. The percussive drilling technique they used eventually broke through the rock and the water rose to the surface. Because it had seeped through many layers of porous rock in the aquifer many of the contaminants had been filtered out, providing a much safer and cleaner form of drinking water when compared with surface or river water.
Research by Jonathan Dalton*