Analysis of a 72-h, constant-rate aquifer test conducted in a coarse-grained and highly permeable, glacial outwash deposit on Cape Cod, Massachusetts revealed that drawdowns measured in 20 piezometers located at various depths below the water table and distances from the pumped well were significantly influenced by effects of drainage from the vadose zone. The influence was greatest in piezometers located close to the water table and diminished with increasing depth. The influence of the vadose zone was evident from a gap, in the intermediate-time zone, between measured drawdowns and drawdowns computed under the assumption that drainage from the vadose zone occurred instantaneously in response to a decline in the elevation of the water table. By means of an analytical model that was designed to account for time-varying drainage, simulated drawdowns could be closely fitted to measured drawdowns regardless of the piezometer locations. Because of the exceptional quality and quantity of the data and the relatively small aquifer heterogeneity, it was possible by inverse modeling to estimate all relevant aquifer parameters and a set of three empirical constants used in the upper-boundary condition to account for the dynamic drainage process. The empirical constants were used to define a one-dimensional (ID) drainage versus time curve that is assumed to be representative of the bulk material overlying the water table. The curve was inverted with a parameter estimation algorithm and a ID numerical model for variably saturated flow to obtain soil-moisture retention curves and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity relationships defined by the Brooks and Corey equations. Direct analysis of the aquifer-test data using a parameter estimation algorithm and a two-dimensional, axisymmetric numerical model for variably saturated flow yielded similar soil-moisture characteristics. Results suggest that hectare-scale soil-moisture characteristics are different from core-scale predictions and even relatively small amounts of fine-grained material and heterogeneity can dominate the large-scale soil-moisture characteristics and aquifer response. ?? 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Estimation of hectare-scale soil-moisture characteristics from aquifer-test data