Application of Three-Dimensional Geologic Models in Developing Groundwater-Flow Models

….from the 2009 Three-Dimensional Geologic Mapping Workshop held by the Illinois State Geological Survey…

Claudia C. Faunt, Donald Sweetkind, and Randall T. Hanson

“Three-dimensional (3D) geologic models have been used to define the geologic framework of complex regional aquifer systems. These models define the stratigraphy and structure of lithologic units using data points defined by surface contacts, drill-hole data, and (or) geophysical data. Where data are missing, data points are derived from known data points on the basis of geologic principles. In recent years, 3D geologic models have been used to define the model domain and hydraulic properties of regional 3D groundwater-flow models. This paper illustrates how 3D geologic models were used to describe the geologic framework and provide the basis for groundwater-flow simulations of the Central Valley aquifer system in California and the Death Valley regional groundwater flow system (DVRFS) in Nevada and California. The groundwater availability of the Central Valley of California is being assessed as part of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) groundwater availability program (Faunt 2009). The Death Valley regional groundwater flow system (DVRFS), which contains the Nevada Test Site and Yucca Mountain, is being studied in cooperation with the Department of Energy (Belcher 2004). The geologic conditions and groundwater use in the Central Valley and the Death Valley regions are quite different, providing an opportunity to compare the 3D geologic modeling approach in two different geohydrologic regimes.”

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