Comparison of a karst groundwater model with and without discrete conduit flow

Hydrogeology Journal
By: , and 



Karst aquifers exhibit a dual flow system characterized by interacting conduit and matrix domains. This study evaluated the coupled continuum pipe-flow framework for modeling karst groundwater flow in the Madison aquifer of western South Dakota (USA). Coupled conduit and matrix flow was simulated within a regional finite-difference model over a 10-year transient period. An existing equivalent porous medium (EPM) model was modified to include major conduit networks whose locations were constrained by dye-tracing data and environmental tracer analysis. Model calibration data included measured hydraulic heads at observation wells and estimates of discharge at four karst springs. Relative to the EPM model, the match to observation well hydraulic heads was substantially improved with the addition of conduits. The inclusion of conduit flow allowed for a simpler hydraulic conductivity distribution in the matrix continuum. Two of the high-conductivity zones in the EPM model, which were required to indirectly simulate the effects of conduits, were eliminated from the new model. This work demonstrates the utility of the coupled continuum pipe-flow method and illustrates how karst aquifer model parameterization is dependent on the physical processes that are simulated.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Comparison of a karst groundwater model with and without discrete conduit flow
Series title Hydrogeology Journal
DOI 10.1007/s10040-013-1036-6
Volume 21
Issue 7
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) South Dakota Water Science Center, Dakota Water Science Center
Description 12 p.
First page 1555
Last page 1566
Country United States
State South Dakota
Other Geospatial Madison Aquifer
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