MT3D-USGS version 1: A U.S. Geological Survey release of MT3DMS updated with new and expanded transport capabilities for use with MODFLOW

Techniques and Methods 6-A53
Prepared in collaboration with S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc.
By: , and 



MT3D-USGS, a U.S. Geological Survey updated release of the groundwater solute transport code MT3DMS, includes new transport modeling capabilities to accommodate flow terms calculated by MODFLOW packages that were previously unsupported by MT3DMS and to provide greater flexibility in the simulation of solute transport and reactive solute transport. Unsaturated-zone transport and transport within streams and lakes, including solute exchange with connected groundwater, are among the new capabilities included in the MT3D-USGS code. MT3D-USGS also includes the capability to route a solute through dry cells that may occur in the Newton-Raphson formulation of MODFLOW (that is, MODFLOW-NWT). New chemical reaction Package options include the ability to simulate inter-species reactions and parent-daughter chain reactions. A new pump-and-treat recirculation package enables the simulation of dynamic recirculation with or without treatment for combinations of wells that are represented in the flow model, mimicking the above-ground treatment of extracted water. A reformulation of the treatment of transient mass storage improves conservation of mass and yields solutions for better agreement with analytical benchmarks. Several additional features of MT3D-USGS are (1) the separate specification of the partitioning coefficient (Kd) within mobile and immobile domains; (2) the capability to assign prescribed concentrations to the top-most active layer; (3) the change in mass storage owing to the change in water volume now appears as its own budget item in the global mass balance summary; (4) the ability to ignore cross-dispersion terms; (5) the definition of Hydrocarbon Spill-Source Package (HSS) mass loading zones using regular and irregular polygons, in addition to the currently supported circular zones; and (6) the ability to specify an absolute minimum thickness rather than the default percent minimum thickness in dry-cell circumstances.

Benchmark problems that implement the new features and packages test the accuracy of new code through comparison to analytical benchmarks, as well as to solutions from other published codes. The input file structure for MT3D-USGS adheres to MT3DMS conventions for backward compatibility: the new capabilities and packages described herein are readily invoked by adding three-letter package name acronyms to the name file or by setting input flags as needed. Memory is managed in MT3D-USGS using FORTRAN modules in order to simplify code development and expansion.

Suggested Citation

Bedekar, Vivek, Morway, E.D., Langevin, C.D., and Tonkin, Matt, 2016, MT3D-USGS version 1: A U.S. Geological Survey release of MT3DMS updated with new and expanded transport capabilities for use with MODFLOW: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 6-A53, 69 p.,

ISSN: 2328-7055 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Mathematical Model and Formulations in MT3D-USGS
  • Modifications to the Existing MT3DMS Program and Packages
  • New Transport Packages Developed for MT3D-USGS
  • Benchmark Problems and Application Examples
  • Summary
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title MT3D-USGS version 1: A U.S. Geological Survey release of MT3DMS updated with new and expanded transport capabilities for use with MODFLOW
Series title Techniques and Methods
Series number 6-A53
DOI 10.3133/tm6A53
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Nevada Water Science Center
Description Report: x, 69 p.; Application Site
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Section A: Ground water in Book 6: Modeling techniques
Public Comments Ground Water Resources Program This report is Chapter 53 of Section A: Ground water in Book 6: Modeling techniques.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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