A MODular, Finite-Element digital-computer program (MODFE) was developed to simulate steady or unsteady-state, two-dimensional or axisymmetric ground-water flow. Geometric- and hydrologic-aquifer characteristics in two spatial dimensions are represented by triangular finite elements and linear basis functions; one-dimensional finite elements and linear basis functions represent time. Finite-element matrix equations are solved by the direct symmetric-Doolittle method or the iterative modified, incomplete-Cholesky, conjugate-gradient method. Physical processes that can be represented by the model include (1) confined flow, unconfined flow (using the Dupuit approximation), or a combination of both; (2) leakage through either rigid or elastic confining beds; (3) specified recharge or discharge at points, along lines, and over areas; (4) flow across specified-flow, specified-head, or bead-dependent boundaries; (5) decrease of aquifer thickness to zero under extreme water-table decline and increase of aquifer thickness from zero as the water table rises; and (6) head-dependent fluxes from springs, drainage wells, leakage across riverbeds or confining beds combined with aquifer dewatering, and evapotranspiration.
The report describes procedures for applying MODFE to ground-water-flow problems, simulation capabilities, and data preparation. Guidelines for designing the finite-element mesh and for node numbering and determining band widths are given. Tables are given that reference simulation capabilities to specific versions of MODFE. Examples of data input and model output for different versions of MODFE are provided.
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USGS Numbered Series
A modular finite-element model (MODFE) for areal and axisymmetric ground-water-flow problems, Part 1: Model Description and User's Manual