To determine specific storage and porosity, areally limited and time-consuming aquifer tests are frequently done. Hydrogeologic studies often do not have the resources to collect such data and rely on existing data sources for aquifer properties. An alternative tool for determining these aquifer properties is the analysis of earth tides. The objective of this study was to determine whether existing water-level and barometric-pressure data could be used to determine aquifer properties, such as porosity and specific storage, on a regional scale. In this study, national databases from the Great Lakes Region were queried for continuous records of groundwater-level and barometric-pressure data. Records from 37 selected wells were then analyzed for barometric efficiency and earth-tide responses. Specific-storage (Ss) and porosity values were determined, and the quality of the results were assessed with a measure of the "goodness of fit" (percent variance) of reconstruction of the response. Records from wells completed in several aquifer systems were analyzed with varying degrees of success. Aquifer Ss values ranging from 5.9 x 10-8 to 3.8 x 10-6/m were derived, with percent variance of reconstruction ranging from 1% to 78%. Comparisons with aquifer and laboratory testing of Ss and porosity are favorable if the percent variance of reconstruction is above about 30%. Although the earth-tide-analysis method is not suitable for every situation, the Ss and porosity of aquifers can, in many places, be estimated with existing water-level and barometric-pressure data or with data that are relatively inexpensive to collect.
Additional publication details
Using existing data to estimate aquifer properties, Great Lakes Region, USA