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Effects from Unsaturated Zone Flow during Oscillatory Hydraulic Testing
American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, [San Francisco, CA] (2014)
  • David Lim, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Yaoquan Zhou, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Michael Cardiff, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Warren Barrash, Boise State University
In analyzing pumping tests on unconfined aquifers, the impact of the unsaturated zone is often neglected. Instead, desaturation at the water table is often treated as a free-surface boundary, which is simple and allows for relatively fast computation. Richards’ equation models, which account for unsaturated flow, can be compared with saturated flow models to validate the use of Darcy’s Law.

In this presentation, we examine the appropriateness of using fast linear steady-periodic models based on linearized water table conditions in order to simulate oscillatory pumping tests in phreatic aquifers. We compare oscillatory pumping test models including: 1) a 2-D radially-symmetric phreatic aquifer model with a partially penetrating well, simulated using both Darcy’s Law and Richards’ Equation in COMSOL; and 2) a linear phase-domain numerical model developed in MATLAB. Both COMSOL and MATLAB models are calibrated to match oscillatory pumping test data collected in the summer of 2013 at the Boise Hydrogeophysical Research Site (BHRS), and we examine the effect of model type on the associated parameter estimates. The results of this research will aid unconfined aquifer characterization efforts and help to constrain the impact of the simplifying physical assumptions often employed during test analysis.
Publication Date
December 19, 2014
Citation Information
David Lim, Yaoquan Zhou, Michael Cardiff and Warren Barrash. "Effects from Unsaturated Zone Flow during Oscillatory Hydraulic Testing" American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, [San Francisco, CA] (2014)
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