Storage coefficient revisited: Is purely vertical strain a good assumption?

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Date: May 2001
From: Ground Water(Vol. 39, Issue 3)
Publisher: National Ground Water Association
Document Type: Article
Length: 4,630 words

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Abstract :

The storage coefficient that is used ubiquitously today was first defined by the analytical work of Theis and Jacob over a half-century ago. Inherent within this definition is the restriction of purely vertical compression of the aquifer during a reduction in pressure. The assumption is revisited and quantitatively evaluated by comparing numerical results using both one- and three-dimensional strain models in the presence of three-dimensional flow. Results indicate that (1) calculated hydraulic head values are nearly identical for both models; (2) the release of water from storage in terms of volume strain is nearly identical for both models and that the location of maximum production moves outward from the well as a function of time; (3) the vertical strain components are markedly different with at least 50% of the total volume of water pumped originating from horizontal strain (and increasing to as much as 70%); and (4) for the one-dimensional strain model to yield the necessary quantity of water to the pu mped well, the resulting vertical compaction (land subsidence) is as much as four times greater and vertical strain is as much as 60% greater than the three-dimensional strain model. Results indicate that small changes in porosity resulting from horizontal strain can yield extremely large quantities of water to the pumping well. This study suggests that the assumption of purely vertical strain used in the definition of the storage coefficient is not valid.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A84600993