Aquitards exert significant influence on the hydrogeochemistry of aquifer systems. This influence is manifested somewhat differently depending on the relative position of aquitards within a system. In the deeper regimes, they are influential in the origin and distribution of brines and the development of geopressured zones. In intermediate regimes, they form multi-layered aquifer systems and provide a source of reactive minerals and exchangeable ions. In shallow regimes, aquitards can influence the topography and drainage patterns; this influences the relationship between the water table and the potentiometric surface of confined aquifers, controls the rates of infiltration and discharge, and controls whether the geochemical system is open or closed to exchange of carbon dioxide gas. In coastal areas, aquitards can determine the depth of the saltwater-freshwater interface, its distance from the shoreline, and the position of the mixing zone that causes geochemical alteration of minerals and development of porosity. ?? 1986.