San Diego Hydrogeology

Drilling in Groundwater Research

The USGS operates a full service research drilling unit for the express purpose of conducting exploratory drilling. The drilling team's role is to support research science projects and scientists while providing the highest quality data possible. USGS drilled well monitoring sites provide depth-specific data on groundwater levels, geophysical data on the alluvial deposits, hydrologic properties, water quality, and water chemistry from selected water bearing layers within a given aquifer system. This provides detailed geologic, geophysical, and hydrologic information that cannot be obtained from conventional water-supply wells.

Research drilling focuses on obtaining geologic samples and cores, running geophysical logs, and constructing or emplacing a variety of sampling devices and subsurface sensors.

Equipment & Capabilities

Multipurpose rigs allow each of our rotary rigs to perform any of the following drilling methods: air percussion hammer with or without advancing casing, air and mud rotary (direct or reverse circulation), auger, continuous wireline coring, and small diameter air reverse circulation.

Mobility -- Anywhere in the US

Our units are totally self contained. Therefore, our mobility allows us to efficiently serve projects anywhere in the United States.

Borehole Geophysics

The USGS highly recommends collecting borehole geophysical data when drilling. Data from geophysical logging of boreholes is extremely valuable. The data can be used to determine instrument or well placement, help derive a 3-D model of geologic and hydrologic stratification, help determine aquifer water quality, and serve as a baseline for future water quality monitoring. Collection of geophysical logs along with drill cuttings from a borehole allows the scientist to correlate the data to other sites where perhaps only geophysical logs are available. Geophysical logging in monitoring wells over time is a proven method for tracking seawater intrusion and artificial recharge movement to name a few.

Project Chief: Wes Danskin
Phone: 619-225-6132

Welcome to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) San Diego Hydrogeology project website, which provides geologic and hydrologic information for the transboundary San Diego–Tijuana area, USA and Mexico. This website provides background information about the project; a variety of news items; a large amount of data, in particular for USGS multiple-depth, monitoring-well sites; geologic and hydrologic models; and additional resources including photos, illustrations, and references. Last updated: April 2016

Some additional data may be available from the USGS database National Water Information System (NWIS).

Questions about San Diego Hydrogeology? Please contact Wes Danskin (email: or send a letter). 619.225.6132