» Groundwater flow

The Environment of the Earth's Surface (MIT Open Courseware)

A great variety of processes affect the surface of the Earth. Topics to be covered are production and movement of surficial materials; soils and soil erosion; precipitation; streams and lakes; groundwater flow; glaciers and their deposits. The course combines aspects of geology, climatology, hydrology, and soil science to present a coherent introduction to the surface of the Earth, with emphasis on both fundamental concepts and practical applications, as a basis for understanding and intelligent management of the Earth’s physical and chemical environment. Read More

Transport Processes in the Environment (MIT Open Courseware)

This class serves as an introduction to mass transport in environmental flows, with emphasis given to river and lake systems. The class will cover the derivation and solutions to the differential form of mass conservation equations. Class topics to be covered will include: molecular and turbulent diffusion, boundary layers, dissolution, bed-water exchange, air-water exchange and particle transport. Read More

What Goes Around Comes Around: Water Cycle

This free, standards-based, online publication, developed for middle school science teachers, explores the water cycle–a series of steps involving changing states of matter through the processes of evaporation, transpiration, condensation, and precipitation. In middle school, students can begin to investigate the chemical and physical properties of water that enable it to behave in ways necessary for the water cycle to happen. Read More

Data Form for Calculating Flow

An equation and explanation of measures for calculating the flow of water in a stream over time. Suitable for classroom and field activity use. Read More

Modeling Ground-Water Flow with MODFLOW and Related Programs

The modular finite-difference ground-water flow model (MODFLOW) developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is a computer program for simulating common features in ground-water systems (McDonald and Harbaugh, 1988; Harbaugh and McDonald, 1996). The program was constructed in the early 1980’s and has continually evolved since then with development of many new packages and related programs for ground-water studies. Currently, MODFLOW is the most widely used program in the world for simulating ground-water flow. Read More

Fractured-rock Aquifers - Understanding an Increasingly Important Source of Water

Ground water is one of the Nation’s most important natural resources. It provides drinking water to communities, supports industry and agriculture, and sustains streams and wetlands. A long record of contributions exists in understanding ground-water movement in sand and gravel aquifers; historically, these aquifers were easily accessible and the first to be investigated. With increased demand for water, communities are looking to fractured-rock aquifers, where water moves through fractures in the rock. Fractures, however, may not always convey or store large quantities of water. Understanding ground-water flow through fractured-rock aquifers is an area of ground-water research that will have increasing importance to our Nation over the coming years. Read More

Heat as a Tool for Studying the Movement of Ground Water Near Streams

Stream temperature has long been recognized as an important water quality parameter. Temperature plays a key role in the health of a stream’s aquatic life, both in the water column and in the benthic habitat of streambed sediments. Many fish are sensitive to temperature. For example, anadromous salmon require specific temperature ranges to successfully develop, migrate, and spawn [see Halupka and others, 2000]. Metabolic rates, oxygen requirements and availability, predation patterns, and susceptibility of organisms to contaminants are but a few of the many environmental responses regulated by temperature. Read More

Ground Water in Freshwater-Saltwater Environments of the Atlantic Coast

Ground water is a vital resource for communities and ecosystems of the Atlantic coastal zone. Ground-water withdrawals for public supplies, agriculture, industry, and other uses in coastal counties from Maine to Florida were about 7.7 billion gallons per day in 1995, and in many coastal communities, ground water is the primary or sole source of drinking-water supply. Ground water sustains the flow of coastal streams and rivers and is a source of freshwater to coastal ponds, wetlands, and other coastal ecosystems. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has a long history of conducting scientific studies of ground water in the Atlantic coastal zone. This Circular draws heavily on the body of scientific knowledge developed over several decades of USGS monitoring and studies. Read More

Flow and Storage in Groundwater Systems

The dynamic nature of groundwater is not readily apparent, except where discharge is focused at springs or where recharge enters sinkholes. Yet groundwater flow and storage are continually changing in response to human and climatic stresses. Wise development of groundwater resources requires a more complete understanding of these changes in flow and storage and of their effects on the terrestrial environment and on numerous surface-water features and their biota. Read More

What Is Ground Water

As water seeps into the ground, some of it clings to particles of soil or to roots of plants just below the land surface. This moisture provides plants with the water they need to grow. Water not used by plants moves deeper into the ground. The water moves downward through empty spaces or cracks in the soil, sand, or rocks until it reaches a layer of rock through which water cannot easily move. The water then fills the empty spaces and cracks above that layer. The top of the water in the soil, sand, or rocks is called the water table and the water that fills the empty spaces and cracks is called ground water. Read More


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