The Snake River Plain Aquifer and Us Today and Tomorrow

What is the Snake River Plain Aquifer?


Travel east in Southern Idaho towards the headwaters of the Snake River for a look at basalts as much as one mile thick.

Basalts are rocks with holes in them like you'd expect to see in a black volcanic sponge. As the Snake River grows in volume and size flowing from east to west in southern Idaho, you can see volcanic formations in many locations. The many types of basalts together form an amazing filtering system that freshens and purifies water to feed wells for domestic and agricultural use throughout the region.

Drive through the desert-dry Thousand Springs area near Twin Falls,Idaho, and you can see water tumbling from the basalt rocks into the Snake River (photo). The water comes from the sponge-like action of the basalt rocks to absorb water and swallow rivers. About 200 billion cubic feet of water flow into the Snake River from springs releasing water from the basalt formation on the north side of the canyon. Groundwater flowing southwest through the Snake River Plains helps crops, rangeland, and commerce flourish in this part of Idaho.

Groundwater flowing southwest through the Snake River Plains is the Snake River Aquifer.

Information on these pages is provided as a public service by Forthright Publishing, Caldwell, Idaho, 208 697-6609.