1.72 | Fall 2005 | Graduate

Groundwater Hydrology


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: Two sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Overview

This course covers fundamentals of subsurface flow and transport, emphasizing the role of groundwater in the hydrologic cycle, the relation of groundwater flow to geologic structure, and the management of contaminated groundwater. The course will cover the following topics: Darcy equation, flow nets, mass conservation, the aquifer flow equation, heterogeneity and anisotropy, storage properties, regional circulation, unsaturated flow, recharge, stream-aquifer interaction, well hydraulics, flow through fractured rock, numerical models, groundwater quality, contaminant transport processes, dispersion, decay, and adsorption. It includes laboratory and computer demonstrations, and is a core requirement for Environmental and Geoenvironmental M.Eng. program.

Course Requirements


Assignments will be due either one or two weeks after they are handed out depending on their length. Grades will be reduced 10% for each day late.


In-class midterm and a final exam.


Assignments 45%
In-class Midterm Exam 15%
Final Exam 40%


  1. Background
    • Hydrologic Cycle
    • Water Budgets
  2. Groundwater
    • Darcy’s Law and Hydraulic Potential
    • The Steady-state Groundwater Flow Equation
    • Streamlines and Flow Nets
    • Regional Flow and Geologic Controls on Flow
    • Transient Flow, Aquifer Storage and Compressibility
    • Unconfined Flow
    • Groundwater Interaction with Streams and Lakes
    • Numerical Methods
    • Flow in Fractured Rock
  3. Well Hydraulics
    • Thiem and Theis Equations
    • Pump Tests and Slug Tests
  4. Contaminant Transport
    • Advection and Dispersion
    • Sorption and Diffusive Mass Transfer
    • Aquifer Remediation
  5. Vadose Zone Hydrology
    • Unsaturated Flow, Retention Curves and Richard’s Equation
    • Infiltration and Evapotranspiration
  6. Couples Flow and Transport
    • Density Driven Flow, Freshwater/Saltwater Interaction
    • Heat Transport and Groundwater Flow
  7. The Role of Groundwater in Large-scale Water and Chemical Budgets

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2005
Learning Resource Types
Simulation Videos
Lecture Notes
Problem Sets
Other Video