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Death Valley regional groundwater flow model calibration using optimal parameter estimation methods and geoscientific information systems

January 1, 1996

A three-layer Death Valley regional groundwater flow model was constructed to evaluate potential regional groundwater flow paths in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Geoscientific information systems were used to characterize the complex surface and subsurface hydrogeological conditions of the area, and this characterization was used to construct likely conceptual models of the flow system. The high contrasts and abrupt contacts of the different hydrogeological units in the subsurface make zonation the logical choice for representing the hydraulic conductivity distribution. Hydraulic head and spring flow data were used to test different conceptual models by using nonlinear regression to determine parameter values that currently provide the best match between the measured and simulated heads and flows.

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