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Unit information: Applied Hydrogeology in 2018/19

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Unit name Applied Hydrogeology
Unit code EASC30061
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Whitaker
Open unit status Not open

EASC20007 Sedimentology



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit covers the principles of fluid, mass and energy transport operating at the land surface and within geologic formations, and applications of these principles to water resource issues, including water supply and contamination of surface and ground waters. Adopting a quantitative approach, the unit provides a thorough treatment of both the theoretical background of the science as well as practical approaches to investigation of surface and subsurface hydrology and contamination. The unit adopts a problem-based approach to learning, including a field characterisation of a karst aquifer and the impacts of sub-water table quarrying, and computer modelling of groundwater flow using MODFLOW.

The fieldtrip associated with the unit is compulsory. Failure to attend the field trip, unless valid documentation is presented, will result in loss of credit points for the unit and may lead to a requirement to withdraw from the degree programme.

The unit material ranges from descriptive to theoretical. To cope with the theory students need to be at ease with algebraic manipulations of equations and with basic calculus (as a guide, students at the start of the unit should expect to be able to differentiate a polynomial and understand the meaning of the function thereby obtained). Anything that goes beyond this level will be introduced carefully during the course before being applied to fluid flow.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, you will be able to:

  • describe and explain, both phenomenologically and mathematically, the key subsurface properties which determine storage and flow of groundwater (porosity, permeability and compressibility) and give expected ranges
  • interpret and critically evaluate maps of hydraulic head and predict rate and direction of groundwater flow
  • describe, manipulate and solve equations of fluid flow in 3D
  • understand key differences between fluid flow in single-phase and multiple fluid phases
  • interpret data from well tests to determine key aquifer properties or predict well yield and evaluate the significance of the values you obtain
  • describe, manipulate and solve equations of solute diffusion and dispersion in 3D
  • predict the rate of transport of solutes with and without retardation
  • model groundwater flow and contaminant transport in 3D

Teaching details

Lectures, practicals and fieldwork

Assessment Details

3 hour Examination (50%)

Coursework (50%). The coursework element will comprise a series of practical exercises based on desk studies, computer simulations and fieldwork.

Reading and References


  • Fetter C.W. Applied Hydrogeology, 2013, Pearson Education Ltd


  • Fetter C.W. Contaminant Hydrogeology, 2008, Waveland Pr Inc.
  • Domenico P.A. and Schwartz, F.W. Physical and Chemical Hydrogeology, Wiley