Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center

Handcart Gulch — Integrated Headwaters Research on Hydrogeologic and Geochemical Processes and Monitoring of Environmental Change

Integrating Data with Numerical Models

Numerical modeling provides a way to integrate field data and further test hypotheses in a quantitative manner not possible using other methods. Geological and topographic map data are used to construct the model domains. Hydraulic aquifer testing provides estimates of bulk aquifer hydraulic properties that are used to populate the model. The model can then be calibrated to other field data such as stream flow, borehole temperature logs and groundwater age. Once the flow field of the model is established, a variety of processes can be integrated such as incorporating meteorological data and estimating water budgets for the watershed, investigating the effects of changes in air temperature and precipitation from climate change, or developing a reactive solute transport model for estimating the flux of contaminants such as copper to provide a basis for their potential effects on ecosystem health. See Kahn and others, 2007 and Manning and Others, 2004 for more details.

Figure 7. Model of study area surface - click on image for large version.

Figure 7: The model represents the surface of the study area under a finite element grid as well as a cutaway cross section depicting the velocity of groundwater. The model is run in steady state and is fully coupled for mass and heat flow in a permeability structure that decreases with depth. The location of wells (WP1, HC1 and HC3) are also shown for reference. [Click on image for large version.]

Mineral Resources Program
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