National Research Program


Regional Groundwater Flow and Transport

Regional aquifers supply a substantial fraction of the water used in the United States, and discharge from them supports wetlands and aquatic ecosystems. Yet despite their overexploitation in many regions, their characterization has been sporadic because of the inaccessibility of the subsurface formations to direct measurements. Two important tools that have been developed over the last few decades to aide in our ability to characterize the regional hydraulic nature and variability of the subsurface include the analysis of natural environmental chemical tracers in the water, and computer models that simulate the groundwater system behavior in response to natural and man-made stresses. A major impediment to progress in this field has been that those scientists that analyze the chemistry and those that simulate the flow systems typically are unfamiliar with the details of the other area of expertise. As a result, advancements in the field have been very fragmented and require a more integrated approach to maximize our understanding of these systems.

Objectives of this project will be to improve our understanding of how groundwater flows and transports chemicals over regional scales and long time frames. Interaction will be required in detail with scientists from many subfields of hydrogeology to produce a more integrated understanding of flow and transport. Better methods will be developed to simulate or account for tracer movement and reactions at regional scales in a way that constrain computer models and improve our predictions and forecasts of system behavior. The work will be carried out through theoretical methods development, site specific field studies, numerical simulation, and attention to problems of national priority.

REPORTS PUBLISHED 2003-2012

Sanford, W.E., 2011, Calibration of models using groundwater age: Hydrogeology Journal, v. 19, no. 1, p. 13-16. (on-line report in pdf format, 147 KB, copyright U.S. Government)

Sanford, W.E., Aeschbach-Hertig, W., and Herczeg, A.L., 2011, Preface: Insights from environmental tracers in groundwater systems: Hydrogeology Journal, v. 19, no. 1, p. 1-3.

Sanford, W.E., 2010, Groundwater hydrology: Coastal flow: Nature Geoscience, v. 3, no. 10, p. 671-672 .

Sanford, W.E. and Pope, J.P., 2010, Current challenges using models to forecast seawater intrusion: Lessons from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Hydrogeology Journal, v. 18, no. p. 73–93; DOI: 10.1007/s10040-009-0513-4. (on-line abstract or on-line journal article in pdf format, 3.9 MB, published by Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, copyright U.S. Government)

Cockell, C.S., Gronstal, A.L., Voytek, M.A., Kirshtein, J.D., Finster, K., Sanford, W.E., Glamoclija, M., Gohn, G.S., Powars, D.S., and Horton, Jr., J.W., 2009, Microbial abundance in the deep subsurface of the Chesapeake Bay impact crater: Relationship to lithology and impact processes, in Gohn, G.S., Koeberl, C., Miller, K.G., and Reimold, W.U., eds., The ICDP-USGS Deep Drilling Project in the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure: Results from the Eyreville Core Holes: GSA Special Paper 458, p. 941-950.

Hughes, J.D., Vacher, H.L., Sanford, W.E., 2009, Temporal response of hydraulic head, temperature, and chloride concentrations to sea-level changes, Floridan aquifer system, USA: Hydrogeology Journal, v. 17, no. 4, p. 793-815. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Malinconico, M.L., Sanford, W.E., and Horton, J.W. Jr., 2009, Postimpact heat conduction and compaction-driven fluid flow in the Chesapeake Bay impact structure based on downhole vitrinite reflectance data, ICDP-USGS Eyreville deep core holes and Cape Charles test holes, in Gohn, G.S., Koeberl, C., Miller, K.G., and Reimold, W.U., eds., The ICDP-USGS Deep Drilling Project in the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure: Results from the Eyreville Core Holes: GSA Special Paper 458, p. 905-930.

Rostad, C.E., and Sanford, W.E., 2009, Polar organic compounds in pore waters of the Chesapeake Bay impact structure, Eyreville core hole: Character of the dissolved organic carbon and comparison with drilling fluids, in Gohn, G.S., Koeberl, C., Miller, K.G., and Reimold, W.U., eds., The ICDP-USGS Deep Drilling Project in the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure: Results from the Eyreville Core Holes: GSA Special Paper 458, p. 891-904.

Sanford, W.E., Pope, J.P., and Nelms, D.L., 2009, Simulation of Groundwater-Level and Salinity Changes in the Eastern Shore, Virginia: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5066, 126 p. (on-line abstract or on-line report in pdf format, 19.5 MB)

Sanford, W.E., Voytek, M.A., Powars, D.S., Jones, B.F., Cozzarelli, I.M., Cockell, C.S., and Eganhouse, R.P., 2009, Pore-water chemistry from the ICDP-USGS core hole in the Chesapeake Bay impact structure - Implications for paleohydrology, microbial habitat, and water resources in Gohn, G.S., Koeberl, C., Miller, K.G., and Reimold, W.U., eds., The ICDP-USGS Deep Drilling Project in the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure: Results from the Eyreville Core Holes: GSA Special Paper 458, p. 867-890.

Gohn, G.S., Koeberl, C., Miller, K.G., Reimold, W.U., Browning, J.V., Cockell, C.S., Horton Jr., J.W., Kenkmann, T., Kulpecz, A.A., Powars, D.S., Sanford, W.E., and Voytek, M.A., 2008, Deep Drilling into the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure: Science, v. 320, no. 5884, p. 1740-1745. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Pearson, S.C.P., Connor, C.B. and Sanford, W.E., 2008, Rapid response of a hydrologic system to volcanic activity: Masaya volcano, Nicaragua , Geology, v. 36, no. 12, p. 951-954, doi: 10.1130/G25210A.1 (on-line abstract of journal article)

Fratesi, S. E., Vacher, H. L., and Sanford, W. E., 2007, Effect of an offshore sinkhole perforation in a coastal confined aquifer on submarine groundwater discharge, in Sanford, W., Langevin, C., Polemio, M., and Povinec. P., eds., 2007, A new focus on groundwater-seawater interactions: IAHS Publication 312, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, p. 256-263. (on-line abstract)

Gohn, G.S., Sanford, W.E., Powars, D.S., Horton, J.W., Jr., Edwards, L.E., Morin, R.H., and Self-Trail, J.M., 2007, Site report for USGS test holes drilled at Cape Charles, Northampton County, Virginia, in 2004: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1094, 22 p. (on-line abstract or on-line report in pdf format, 2761 KB)

Hughes, J.D., Vacher, H.L., and Sanford, W.E., 2007, Three-dimensional flow in the Florida platform: Theoretical analysis of Kohout convection at its type locality: Geology, v. 35, no. 7, p. 663-666. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Langevin, C., Sanford, W., Polemio, M., and Povinec, P., 2007, Background and summary, in Sanford, W., Langevin, C., Polemio, M., and Povinec. P., eds., 2007, A new focus on groundwater-seawater interactions: IAHS Publication 312, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, p. 3-10. (on-line paper in pdf format, 263 KB

MacNeil, R.E., Sanford, W.E., Connor, C.B., Sandberg, S.K., and Diez, M., 2007, Investigation of the groundwater system at Masaya Caldera, Nicaragua, using transient electromagnetics and numerical simulation: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 166, no. 3-4, p. 217-232. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Sanford, W., Langevin, C., Polemio, M., and Povinec. P., eds., 2007, A new focus on groundwater-seawater interactions: IAHS Publication 312, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, 344 p. (on-line information)

Sanford, W. E., and Pope, J. P., 2007, A simulation of groundwater discharge and nitrate delivery toChesapeake Bay from the lowermost Delmarva Peninsula, USA., in Sanford, W., Langevin, C., Polemio, M., and Povinec. P., eds., 2007, A new focus on groundwater-seawater interactions: IAHS Publication 312, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, p. 326-333.

Wood, W.W., and Sanford, W.E., 2007, Atmospheric bromine flux from the coastal Abu Dhabi sabkhat: A ground-water mass balance investigation: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 34, 5 p., doi:10.1029/2007GL029922. (on-line abstract or on-line article in pdf fomat, 158 KB, published 2007 by American Geophysical Union, not subject to U.S. copyright)

Gohn, G.S., Koeberl, C., Miller, K.G., Reimold, W.U., Cockell, C.S., Horton, J.W., Sanford, W.E., and Voytek, M.A., 2006, Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure Drilled, EOS, Transactions: American Geophysical Union, v. 87, no. 35, p. 349, 355.

Ingebritsen, S.E., Sanford, W.E., and Neuzil, C.E., 2006, Groundwater in Geologic Processes , 2nd edition: Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 536 p. (on-line book information)

Sanford, W.E., Caine, J.S., Wilcox, D.A., McWreath, H.C., and Nicholas, J.R., 2006, Research opportunities in interdisciplinary ground-water science in the U.S. Geological Survey: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1293, 21 p. (on-line abstract or on-line report in pdf format, 1.9 MB)

Sanford, W.E., 2005, A simulation of the hydrothermal response to the Chesapeake Bay bolide impact: Geofluids, v. 5, p. 185-201. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Hughes, J.D., Sanford, W.E., and Vacher, H.L., 2005, Numerical simulation of double-diffusive finger convection , Water Resources Research, v. 41, 16 p., doi: 10.1029/2003WR002777. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Wood, W.W., Sanford, W.E., and Frape, S.K., 2005, Chemical openness and potential for misinterpretation of the solute environment of coastal sabkhat: Chemical Geology, v. 215, p. 361-372.(on-line abstract)

Hughes, J.D., and Sanford, W.E., 2004, SUTRA-MS -- A version of SUTRA modified to simulate heat and multiple-solute transport: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1207, 129 p. (on-line publication in pdf format)

Jones, G.D., Whitaker, F.F., Smart, P.L., Sanford, W.E., 2004, Numerical analysis of seawater circulation in carbonate platforms: II. The dynamic interaction between geothermal and brine reflux circulation: American Journal of Science, v. 304, p. 250-284.

Plummer, L.N., Bexfield, L.M., Anderholm, S.K., Sanford, W.E., and Busenberg, E., 2004, Hydrochemical tracers in the Middle Rio Grande Basin, USA: 1. Conceptualization of groundwater flow: Hydrogeology Journal, v. 12, no. 4, p. 359-388. (on-line abstract and on-line article or on-line article in pdf format, 1741 kb)

Plummer, L.N., Bexfield, L.M., Anderholm, S.K., Sanford, W.E., and Busenberg, E., 2004, Geochemical characterization of ground-water flow in the Santa Fe Group aquifer system, Middle Rio Grande Basin, New Mexico, U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4131, 395p. (on-line abstract or on-line report in pdf format, 22 MB)

Plummer, L.N., Sanford, W.E., Bexfield, L.M., Anderholm, S.K., and Busenberg, E., 2004, Using geochemical data and aquifer simulation to characterize recharge and groundwater flow in the Middle Rio Grande Basin, New Mexico, in Hogan, J., Phillips, F.M., and Scanlon, B., eds., Groundwater Recharge in a Desert Environment: The Southwestern United States: Water Science and Applications Series, v. 9, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., p. 185-216.

Sanford, W.E., 2004, Hydrothermal response to the Chesapeake Bay bolide impact, in Edwards, L.E., Horton, J.W.Jr., and Gohn, G.S., compilers, ICDP-USGS workshop on Deep drilling in the central crater of the Chesapeake Bay impact structure, Virginia, USA; proceedings: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1016, p.42-43.

Sanford W.E., Gohn, G.S., Powars, D.S., Horton, J.W., Jr., Edwards, L.E., Self-Trail, J.M., and Morin, R.H., 2004, Drilling the central crater of the Chesapeake Bay impact structure: A first look: EOS, Transactions American Geophysical Union, v. 85, p. 369, 377.

Sanford, W.E., Plummer, L.N., McAda, D.P., Bexfield, L.M., and Anderholm, S.K., 2004, Hydrochemical tracers in the Middle Rio Grande Basin, USA: 2. Calibration of a groundwater-flow model: Hydrogeology Journal, v. 12, no. 4, p. 389-407. (on-line abstract and on-line article or on-line article in pdf format, 1817 kb)

Sanford, W.E., Plummer, L.N, McAda, D.P., Bexfield L.M., and Anderholm, S.K., 2004, Use of Environmental Tracers to Estimate Parameters for a Predevelopment Ground-Water-Flow Model of the Middle Rio Grande Basin, New Mexico: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4286, 102 p.

Sanford, W., 2003, Heat flow and brine generation following the Chesapeake Bay bolide impact, Journal of Geochemical Exploration, v. 78-79, p. 243-247. (on-line abstract)


FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS PROJECT, CONTACT:
Ward E. Sanford (professional profile)
U.S. Geological Survey, 431 National Center, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192
Email: wsanford@usgs.gov
Telephone: 703-648-5882

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