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Geology 676

GEOL 676
Introduction to Groundwater Modeling

Catalog Entry

GEOL 676. Introduction to Groundwater Modeling
Three hours lecture/discussion (3).

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and GEOL 474 or GEOL 574 (Hydrogeology).

Advanced study of mathematics of groundwater flow and the formulation of analytical and numerical models that describe steady-state and transient groundwater flow systems. Modeling will involve the use of physical models, flownets, spreadsheets, analytical solutions, and finite-differences and finite-element models. Class will also focus on proper modeling protocol, model calibration techniques, and sensitivity analyses.


Detailed Description of Content of the Course

The course is designed as a course in the hydrogeology sequence within the comprehensive graduate-level study of environmental and engineering geosciences. The topics and concepts addressed in this course include:

1. Review of basic hydrogeologic principles and concepts.
2. Derivation of the groundwater flow equations for confined and unconfined aquifers.
3. Groundwater modeling using flownets.
4. Boundary conditions, sources, and sinks to groundwater flow systems.
5. Determination of analytical solutions to the groundwater flow equations.
6. Analytical modeling.
7. The finite difference method.
8. Modeling LaPlace’s Equation using finite differences.
9. Iterative and direct solutions of LaPlace’s Equation.
10. Modeling Poisson’s Equation using finite differences.
11. Modeling transient flow systems.
12. Model calibration and sensitivity analysis.
13. Groundwater flow modeling with MODFLOW.
14. The finite element method.


Detailed Description of the Conduct of Course

The course will include three hours of lecture each week. The lecture portion will cover topics in a structured progression, beginning with the development of the groundwater flow equation, and proceeding to model increasingly complex groundwater flow systems. Homework problems will be assigned weekly and will consist of real-world aquifer system modeling.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

The general goals and objectives are to:

1. To describe the derivation and use of Darcy’s Law.
2. To describe the derivation and use of the groundwater flow equation.
3. To describe and use simple modeling tools such as hand calculations, physical groundwater flow models, flownets, and analytical solutions to the groundwater flow equation.
4. To describe and use numerical simulations of groundwater flow using finite differences. Aplications include spreadsheet models and canned programs such as wtProfile and MODFLOW.
5. To describe and use numerical simulations of groundwater flow with the finite element method. Applications include canned programs such as SUTRA.
6. To describe the appropriate use of groundwater models.
7. To understand the appropriate presentation of simulation results in professional modeling reports.
8. To understand the philosophy behind ground water flow and transport modeling.


Assessment measures

There will be two examinations. These will be combined with grades from fairly short homework assignments and more involved modeling projects. Projects will be evaluated by the instructor on the basis of the adequacy of the simulations, completeness in presentation, organization and quality of the final modeling report.


Other course information



Review and Approval

February 2001 Approved by Chair