EOSC 533 · Advanced Groundwater Hydrology

Finite-difference models of steady-state and transient groundwater flow in the saturated and unsaturated zones; applications to regional groundwater flow, groundwater recharge, subsurface contributions to streamflow, and aquifer evaluation. This course is not eligible for Credit/D/Fail grading.

Course Availability & Schedule

Learning Goals

Theoretical and quantitative analysis of subsurface fluid flow.

Numerical modeling theory and practice.


Roger Beckie


There are no required texts; course notes and journal articles will be distributed in class.

The following texts are recommended:
Domenico, P.A., and F.W. Schwartz, Physical and Chemical Hydrogeology, 2nd Edition, Wiley, 1998.
DeMarsily, G., Quantitative hydrogeology, Academic, 1988

Bear, J., Dynamics of fluids in porous media, Dover, 1967;

Freeze, R.A., & J. A. Cherry, Groundwater, Prentice Hall, 1979

Anderson, M. P., & W. W. Woessner, Applied Groundwater flow modeling, Academic, 1992

Course Content

Homework problems and projects: 40 %
Final examination: 60 %

Office hours: After class or by appointment.

Photocopy fee: $15
EOS Computer Lab Fee (optional): $25

Lecture Topics

  • Review of basic groundwater principles
  • Darcy’s law
  • Hydraulic head and fluid potential Mathematical model of groundwater flow
  • Porous media continuum and scale
  • Continuity/mass conservation principle
  • Steady-state flow equations
  • Flownets and flowlines
  • Boundary value problems

Numerical methods for groundwater flow

  • Finite volume formula
  • Finite difference calculus
  • Numerical linear algebra and systems of equations
  • MODFLOW applications to well testing and aquifer evaluation
  • Transient groundwater flow and poroelasticity
  • Effective stress and deformation
  • Storage in groundwater systems
  • Theis solution
  • Flow in deforming media
  • Earth tides and barometric effects on pore pressures
  • Unsaturated and Multiphase flow
  • Physics of multiphase interfaces – tension and capillarity
  • Characteristic relationships (K-Sat), (Sat-h)
  • Multiphase flow formulation
  • Simplification: Richards equation
  • Characterization and Inverse modeling
  • Well testing – Theis method
  • Jacob analysis
  • Slug testing
  • Inverse modeling theory and parameter estimation
    • Least squares methods
    • Maximum Likelihood and Chi-squared fitting
    • Geostatistical methods
  • Packer testing
  • Tidal aquifer analysis