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Numerical analysis of regional water levels to define aquifer hydrology

November 10, 1956

Two fundamental methods for studying aquifer hydrology are now in use. The first, applied many years ago, consists of detailed observation of aquifer inflow, outflow, and storage changes, and their variations in time. By analysis of these observations, estimates of the perennial recharge to the aquifer and other pertinent hydrologic data are obtained, all as gross characteristics of the aquifer. The need for greater detail gave rise to a second fundamental method: special field tests, such as pumping tests, by which the hydrologic coefficients could be measured in a comparatively short time. In order to evaluate properly the ability of an aquifer to serve as a source of perennial water supply, the geology and hydrology of the aquifer must be known in some detail over its entire area. The first method cannot supply the necessary detail in most cases, and the second method cannot ordinarily provide the needed areal coverage because of the lack of appropriate testing facilities. Thus an auxiliary third approach was sought which would combine the features of a simple data‐collection program with a final analysis yielding both adequate detail and areal coverage.

A method designed to satisfy these requirements is described. Water‐level altitudes, usually observed in the course of more general ground‐water studies, are analyzed by numerical methods, using finite‐difference approximations of the basic differential equations which describe ground‐water flow. Analytical methods are given for nonsteady flow through homogeneous and nonhomogeneous aquifers. Both direct and statistical solutions are shown. The hydrologic factors are computed as functions of transmissibility, and for the nonhomogeneous aquifer the variations of transmissibility in space are computed also from the water‐level data. Knowledge of the absolute value of any one of the hydrologic factors at some location in the aquifer permits conversion of the computed functions to absolute terms for all the aquifer flow field studied.

Publication Year 1956
Title Numerical analysis of regional water levels to define aquifer hydrology
DOI 10.1029/TR037i004p00451
Authors Robert W. Stallman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union
Index ID 70216235
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse