The use of temperature profiles beneath streams to determine rates of vertical ground-water flow and effective vertical hydraulic conductivity of sediments was evaluated at three field sites by use of a model that numerically solves the partial differential equation governing simultaneous vertical flow of fluid and heat in the Earth. The field sites are located in Hardwick and New Braintree, Mass., and in Dover, N.J.
In New England, stream temperature varies from about 0 to 25 ?C (degrees Celsius) during the year. This stream-temperature fluctuation causes ground-water temperatures beneath streams to fluctuate by more than 0.1 ?C during a year to a depth of about 35 ft (feet) in fine-grained sediments and to a depth of about 50 ft in coarse-grained sediments, if ground-water velocity is 0 ft/d (foot per day). Upward flow decreases the depth affected by stream-temperature fluctuation, and downward flow increases the depth.
At the site in Hardwick, Mass., ground-water flow was upward at a rate of less than 0.01 ft/d. The maximum effective vertical hydraulic conductivity of the sediments underlying this site is 0.1 ft/d. Ground-water velocities determined at three locations at the site in New Braintree, Mass., where ground water discharges naturally from the underlying aquifer to the Ware River, ranged from 0.10 to 0.20 ft/d upward. The effective vertical hydraulic conductivity of the sediments underlying this site ranged from 2.4 to 17.1 ft/d. Ground-water velocities determined at three locations at the Dover, N.J., site, where infiltration from the Rockaway River into the underlying sediments occurs because of pumping, were 1.5 ft/d downward. The effective vertical hydraulic conductivity of the sediments underlying this site ranged from 2.2 to 2.5 ft/d. Independent estimates of velocity at two of the three sites are in general agreement with the velocities determined using temperature profiles. The estimates of velocities and conductivities derived from the temperature measurements generally fall within the ranges of expected rates of flow in, and conductivities of, the sediments encountered at the test sites.
Application of the method at the three test sites demonstrates the feasibility of using the method to determine the rate of ground-water flow between a stream and underlying sediments and the effective vertical hydraulic conductivity of the sediments.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Use of temperature profiles beneath streams to determine rates of vertical ground-water flow and vertical hydraulic conductivity
Water Supply Paper
Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ;
U.S. G.P.O. ;
Books and Open- File Reports Section, U.S. Geological Survey [distributor],