Spectral analyses were conducted for hourly hydraulic head (h) data observed over a 4-year period at seven monitoring wells in the Walnut Creek watershed, Iowa. The log power spectral density of the hydraulic head fluctuations versus log frequency (f) at all seven wells is shown to have a distinct slope or fractal dimension (D), indicating temporal scaling in the time series of water level fluctuations. The fractal dimension of the time series varies from well to well, and the spectrum for the average h over all seven wells has a fractal dimension of 1.46 and Hurst coefficient of 0.54. The log power spectral density of estimated base flow in the Walnut Creek and four other watersheds versus log f is shown to have two distinct slopes with a break in scaling at about 30 days. It is shown that the groundwater recharge process in a basin can be estimated from a head spectrum based on existing theoretical results. Hydraulic head in an aquifer may fluctuate as a fractal in time in response to either a white noise or fractal recharge process, depending on physical parameters (i.e., transmissivity and specific yield) of the aquifer. The recharge process at the Walnut Creek watershed is shown to have a white noise spectrum based on the observed head spectrum.
Additional publication details
Temporal scaling of hydraulic head and river base flow and its implication for groundwater recharge