Geology 675

GEOL 675
Advanced Physical Hydrogeology

Catalog Entry

GEOL 675. Advanced Physical Hydrogeology
Three hours lecture/discussion (4).

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and GEOL 475/574 (Hydrogeology).

Advanced study of physical and resource aspects of hydrogeology. Theoretical and practical treatment of topics associated with groundwater flow in natural porous media (unconsolidated materials, porous bedrock, fractured bedrock and karst terrane). The vadose zone – in particular groundwater recharge – will be covered as well. Project and seminar opportunities will enhance student ownership of course-related concepts in practical situations. Laboratory experiences involve experimentation and practical situation. Laboratory experiences involve experimentation and fieldwork to calculate flow parameters as well as on-site water well drilling, development and testing (yield and aquifer parameter). Exercises will be designed to practice aquifer parameter analysis methodologies. Modeling principles and currently available computer programs will also be explored, as will legal aspects of ground water resources exploitation.


Detailed Description of Content of the Course

Arrangement of topics is as follows:

I. Introduction
II. The Vadose Zone and Groundwater Recharge
III. Natural Porous Media and Geology of Groundwater Occurrence

a. Unconsolidated earth materials
b. Porous Bedrock
c. Karst Terranes

IV. General Flow Equation and Darcy’s Law
V. Hydraulic Head, Potentiometric Surfaces and Ground water Flow
VI. Aquifer Hydraulic Properties

a. Porosity
b. Specific Yield
c. Storativity
d. Transmissivity

VII. Methodologies for Hydraulic Property Determination

a. Laboratory Test
b. Field Testing

VIII. Well Drilling, Development and Aquifer Testing
IX. Aquifer Property Analysis Theory and Practice
X. Flow Systems: Theory, Data Requirements and Modeling
XI. Legal Aspects of Groundwater Resource Exploitation


Detailed Description of the Conduct of Course

The course will include three hours of lecture and two of laboratory time. Lecture meetings will emphasize the theoretical and practical foundations and advance concepts of physical hydrogeology. Resource hydrogeology and flow system characterization will be explored as pragmatic applications of this knowledge. Solid theoretical background will be augmented by practical skill set development with real laboratory, field and analytical problems. Students will be required to complete an in-depth research project and submit and present it in a manner expected of a Professional Engineering and Environmental Geoscientist.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

This course represents a significant and detailed expansion of treatment of the physical hydrogeologic concepts and associated techniques that are introduced in the GEOL 574 course. It is expected that students entering the course will be capable of integrating more calculus-based mathematical skills with the hydrogeological concepts that are explored. Students completing this course will be able to apply the knowledge and skill sets that they have gained to future research and workplace experiences. It is anticipated that these students will be viewed by prospective employers as genuine assets to their respective companies.

Objectives: Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

(1) Explain, at an advanced level, the principles of physical and resource hydrogeology.
(2) Make rapid and reasonable assessments of groundwater occurrence potential and related issues in a wide variety of geological settings.
(3) Site, drill, develop, test and characterize groundwater resource wells in a wide variety of geologic terranes.
(4) Demonstrate competence with aquifer parameter analysis methodologies.
(5) Demonstrate the ability to analyze a flow system and make appropriate impact predictions for various groundwater resource exploitation scenarios.
(6) Discuss the fundamental legal aspects of resource hydrogeology.
(7) Collect, synthesize, analyze physical hydrogeologic data and organize these results into a coherent, well-designed report for presentation to other professionals and to the general public.
(8) Orally present reports on research and consulting efforts in this field to other professionals and to the general public.


Assessment measures

Student scholarly and timely ability to complete (1) a number of laboratory/lecture assignments; (2) course examinations; (3) a term-long research project; and (4) an oral seminar presentation of the research project.


Other course information

Field experiences will vary from year to year. Water well drilling sites in proximity to this campus will be sought for the important “hands-on” efforts – quite necessarily they will not be predictable until very close to the time thy occur. Radford’s geographical location in a karst geological terrane permits students to actually “enter” the aquifer – in a cave expedition. These experiences will require student travel to these sites. Accommodation of students with particular disabilities will be made on a case-by-case basis.


Review and Approval

April 2000 Approved by Chair