Pumping of an unconfined aquifer can cause local desaturation detectable with high-resolution gravimetry. A previous study showed that signal-to-noise ratios could be predicted for gravity measurements based on a hydrologic model. We show that although changes should be detectable with gravimeters, estimations of hydraulic conductivity and specific yield based on gravity data alone are likely to be unacceptably inaccurate and imprecise. In contrast, a transect of low-quality drawdown data alone resulted in accurate estimates of hydraulic conductivity and inaccurate and imprecise estimates of specific yield. Combined use of drawdown and gravity data, or use of high-quality drawdown data alone, resulted in unbiased and precise estimates of both parameters. This study is an example of the value of a staged assessment regarding the likely significance of a new measurement method or monitoring scenario before collecting field data. Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.
Additional publication details
Assessing the likely value of gravity and drawdown measurements to constrain estimates of hydraulic conductivity and specific yield during unconfined aquifer testing