MODFLOW-USG: An Unstructured Grid Version of MODFLOW for Simulating Groundwater Flow and Tightly Coupled Processes Using a Control Volume Finite-Difference Formulation

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Overview of MODFLOW-USG

A plot of head errors from an example MODFLOW-USG simulation.

Errors in simulated heads from the a MODFLOW-USG simulation with ghost node correction.

A version of MODFLOW, called MODFLOW-USG (for UnStructured Grid), was developed to support a wide variety of structured and unstructured grid types, including nested grids and grids based on prismatic triangles, rectangles, hexagons, and other cell shapes. Flexibility in grid design can be used to focus resolution along rivers and around wells, for example, or to subdiscretize individual layers to better represent hydrostratigraphic units.

MODFLOW-USG is based on an underlying control volume finite difference (CVFD) formulation in which a cell can be connected to an arbitrary number of adjacent cells. To improve accuracy of the CVFD formulation for irregular grid-cell geometries or nested grids, a generalized Ghost Node Correction (GNC) Package was developed, which uses interpolated heads in the flow calculation between adjacent connected cells.

MODFLOW-USG includes a Groundwater Flow (GWF) Process, based on the GWF Process in MODFLOW-2005, as well as a new Connected Linear Network (CLN) Process to simulate the effects of multi-node wells, karst conduits, and tile drains, for example. The CLN Process is tightly coupled with the GWF Process in that the equations from both processes are formulated into one matrix equation and solved simultaneously. This robustness results from using an unstructured grid with unstructured matrix storage and solution schemes.

MODFLOW-USG also contains an optional Newton-Raphson formulation, based on the formulation in MODFLOW-NWT, for improving solution convergence and avoiding problems with the drying and rewetting of cells. Because the existing MODFLOW solvers were developed for structured and symmetric matrices, they were replaced with a new Sparse Matrix Solver (SMS) Package developed specifically for MODFLOW-USG. The SMS Package provides several methods for resolving nonlinearities and multiple symmetric and asymmetric linear solution schemes to solve the matrix arising from the flow equations and the Newton-Raphson formulation, respectively.

 

Download Current Version of MODFLOW-USG

 

Documentation for MODFLOW-USG

Panday, Sorab, Langevin, C.D., Niswonger, R.G., Ibaraki, Motomu, and Hughes, J.D., 2013, MODFLOW-USG version 1: An unstructured grid version of MODFLOW for simulating groundwater flow and tightly coupled processes using a control volume finite-difference formulation: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 6, chap. A45, 66 p.

 

Programs Related to MODFLOW-USG

  • GRIDGEN, a utility for creating layered quadtree grids for use with MODFLOW-USG.

 

Superseded MODFLOW-USG Versions

The following software is not actively supported by the USGS. The software has been superseded by the latest MODFLOW-USGS release above. The software versions below are provided online for historical reference only, and the files may contain outdated information or broken links.

 

Find MODFLOW-Related Software

Visit the MODFLOW and Related Programs page for a list of MODFLOW-related software.

 

How to Cite MODFLOW-USG

Panday, Sorab, Langevin, C.D., Niswonger, R.G., Ibaraki, Motomu, and Hughes, J.D., 2017, MODFLOW-USG version 1.4.00: An unstructured grid version of MODFLOW for simulating groundwater flow and tightly coupled processes using a control volume finite-difference formulation: U.S. Geological Survey Software Release, 27 October 2017, https://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7R20ZFJ

 

Software License and Purchase Information

This software is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, which is part of the U.S. Government.

Cost

This software is freely distributed. There is no fee to download and (or) use this software.

License

Users do not need a license or permission from the USGS to use this software. Users can download and install as many copies of the software as they need.

Public Domain

As a work of the United States Government, this USGS product is in the public domain within the United States. You can copy, modify, distribute, and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. Additionally, USGS waives copyright and related rights in the work worldwide through CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ ).

 

SOFTWARE USER RIGHTS NOTICE

This software has been approved for release by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Although the software has been subjected to rigorous review, the USGS reserves the right to update the software as needed pursuant to further analysis and review. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made by the USGS or the U.S. Government as to the functionality of the software and related material nor shall the fact of release constitute any such warranty. Furthermore, the software is released on condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from its authorized or unauthorized use. Also refer to the USGS Water Resources Software User Rights Notice for complete use, copyright, and distribution information.

Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.