National Research Program


Field Applications of Unsaturated Zone Flow Theory

Various processes within the unsaturated zone affect ground-water availability and portability, as well as concentrations of water vapor and trace gases in the atmosphere. The rate at which precipitation or applied irrigation water infiltrates, its redistribution following infiltration, and the partitioning of the redistributed soil moisture between ground-water recharge and evapotranspiration affect the rate at which the ground-water reservoir is replenished and the degree to which ground water might be contaminated by chemical applications, spills, or disposal. Consequently, knowledge of and methods to quantitatively measure and predict these processes are needed to determine the impact of such societal practices as irrigation development for agriculture, the use of agricultural chemicals, and the disposal of radioactive and/or hazardous waste in the unsaturated zone on both the availability and potability of ground water. Processes governing transport in the unsaturated zone gas phase are also important in determining the potential for ground- water contamination by volatile compounds, the rate at which water is returned from soil moisture to the atmosphere as vapor, and the fate of other "greenhouse gases", such as carbon dioxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). An understanding and quantification of these processes is needed both to assess the hazards of ground-water pollution and to better predict the impact of global change on future climate. Also see Unsaturated Zone Hydrology.

REPORTS PUBLISHED 2003-2012

Rosenberry, D.O., and Healy, R.W., 2012 (web publication 5/25/11), Influence of a thin veneer of low-hydraulic-conductivity sediment on modelled exchange between river water and groundwater in response to induced infiltration: Hydrological Processes, v. 26, no. 4, p. 544 - 557. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.8153. (on-line abstract or on-line article in pdf format, 556 KB, published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., a US Government work and is in the Public domain in the USA)

Burns, S.P., Sun, J., Lenschow, D.H., Oncley, S.P., Stephens, B.B., Yi, C., Anderson, D.E., Hu, J., and Monson, R.K., 2011, Atmospheric stability effects on wind fields and scalar mixing within and just above a subalpine forest in sloping terrain: Boundary-Layer Meteorology, v. 138, no. 2, p. 231-262. (on-line abstract in pdf format)

Healy, R.W., Bartos, R.R., Rice, C.A., McKinley, M.P., and Smith, B.D., 2011, Groundwater chemistry near an impoundment of produced water, Powder River Basin, Wyoming, USA: Journal of Hydrology, v. 403, p. 37-48. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Healy, R.W., 2010, Estimating Groundwater Recharge: Cambridge University Press, 256 p. (on-line book information)

Masoner, J.R., and Stannard, D.I., 2010, A comparison of methods for estimating open-water evaporation in small wetlands: Wetlands, v. 30, no. 3, p. 513-524. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Stannard, D.I., Paul, W.T., Laws, R., and Poeter, E.P., 2010, Consumptive use and resulting leach-field water budget of a mountain residence: Journal of Hydrology, v. 388, no. 3-4, p. 335-349. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Sun, J., Oncley, S.P., Burns, S.P., Stephens, B.B., Lenschow, D.H., Campos, T., Monson, R.K., Schimel, D.S., Sacks, W.J., De Wekker, S.F.J., Lai, C.-T., Lamb, B., Ojima, D., Ellsworth, P.Z., Sternberg, L.S.L., Zhong, S., Clements, C., Moore, D.J.P., Anderson, D.E., Watt, A.S., Hu, J., Tschudi, M., Aulenbach, S., Allwine, E., and Coons, T., 2010, A multiscale and multidisciplinary investigation of ecosystem-atmosphere CO2 exchange over the Rocky Mountains of Colorado:Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, v. 91, no. 2, p. 209-230. (on-line abstract or on-line article in pdf format, 2772 KB, published by the American Meteorological Society with open access)

Tindall, J.A., and Campbell, A.A., 2010, Water security-National and global issues: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010-3106. (on-line abstract or on-line fact sheet in pdf format, 2.9 MB)

Clark, A., Barker, C.E., and Weeks, E.P., 2009, Drilling and testing the DOI-04-1A coalbed methane well, Fort Yukon, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1064, 69p. (on-line abstract or on-line publication in pdf format, 5.7 MB)

Riggs, A.C., Stannard, D.I., Maestas, F.B., Karlinger, M.R., and Striegl, R.G., 2009, Soil CO2 flux in the Amargosa Desert, Nevada, during the El Niño 1998 and La Niña 1999: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5061, 25 p. (on-line abstract or on-line publication in pdf format, 28.3 MB)

Fisher, L.H., and R.W. Healy, 2008, Water movement within the unsaturated zone in four agricultural areas across the United States, Journal of Environmental Quality, v. 37, p. 1051-1063. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Friedel, M.J., Tindall, J.A., Sardan, D., Fey, D., and Poputa, G. 2008, Reconnaissance Study of Water Quality in the Mining-Affected Aries River Basin, Romania: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008–1176, 46 p. (on-line abstract or on-line report in pdf format, 5.3 MB

Guo, H., Jiao, J.J., and Weeks, E.P., 2008, Rain-induced subsurface airflow and Lisse effect: Water Resources Research, v. 44, no. 7, , W07409, doi:10.1029/2007WR006294. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Healy, R.W., 2008, Simulating water, solute, and heat transport in the subsurface with the VS2DI software package: Vadose Zone Journal, v. 7, p. 632-639. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Healy, R.W., Rice, C.A., Bartos, T.T., and McKinley, M.P., 2008, Infiltration from an impoundment for coal-bed natural gas, Powder River Basin, Wyoming—Evolution of water and sediment chemistry: Water Resources Research, v. 44, W06424, doi:10.1029/2007WR006396. (on-line abstract or on-line journal article in pdf format, 666 KB, published by the American Geophysical Union, not subject to U.S. copyright)

Masoner, J.R., Stannard, D.I., and Christenson, S.C., 2008, Differences in evaporation between a floating pan and Class A pan on land: Journal of American Water Resources Association, v. 44, no. 3, p. 552-561. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Schaeffer, S.M. , Anderson, D.E. , Burns, S.P. , Monson, R.K. , Sun, J. , and Bowling, D.R., 2008, Canopy structure and atmospheric flows in relation to the δ13C of respired CO2 in a subalpine coniferous forest: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, v. 148, no. 4, p. 592-605. (on-line abstract ot journal article)

Webb, R.M.T., Wieczorek, M.E., Nolan, B.T., Hancock, T.C., Sandstrom, M.W., Barbash, J.E., Bayless, E.R., Healy, R.W., and Linard, J., 2008, Variations in Pesticide Leaching Related to Land Use, Pesticide Properties, and Unsaturated Zone Thickness: : Journal of Environmental Quality, v. 37, p. 1145-1157. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Yi, C., Anderson, D.E., Turnipseed, A.A., Burns, S.P., Sparks, J., Stannard, D.I., Monson, K.R., 2008, The contribution of advective fluxes to net ecosystem CO2 exchange in a high-elevation, subalpine forest ecosystem: Ecological Applications, v. 18, no. 6, p. 1379-1390. (on-line abstract or on-line article in pdf format, 792 KB, published by the Ecological Society of America with open access)

Delin, G.N., Healy, R.W., Lorenz, D.L., and Nimmo, J.R., 2007, Comparison of local- to regional-scale estimates of ground-water recharge in Minnesota, USA: Journal of Hydrology, v. 334, p. 231-249. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Figueroa-Johnson, M.A., Tindall, J.A., and Friedel, M., 2007, A comparison of 18Oδ composition of water extracted from suction lysimeters, centrifugation, and azeotropic distillation: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v. 184, p. 63-75, doi:10.1007/s11270-007-9399-8. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Healy, R.W., Winter, T.C., LaBaugh, J.W., and Franke, O.L., 2007, Water budgets: Foundations for effective water-resources and environmental management: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1308, 90 p. (on-line abstract or on line circular in pdf format, 27.2 MB)

Liu, L., Tindall, J.A., and Friedel, M.J., 2007, Biodegradation of PAHs and PCBs in soils and sludges: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v. 81, p. 281-296. DOI: 10.1007/s11270-006-9299-3. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Liu, L., Tindall, J.A., Friedel, M.J., and Zhang, W., 2007, Biodegradation of organic chemicals in soil/water microcosms System - Model Development: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v. 78, p. 131-143 DOI: 10.1007/s11270-006-9185-z. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Moreo, M.T., R.J. Laczniak, and D.I. Stannard, 2007, Evapotranspiration rate measurements of vegetation typical of ground-water discharge areas in the Basin and Range Carbonate-Rock aquifer system, Nevada and Utah, September 2005-August 2006: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5078, 37 p. (on-line abstract or on-line report in pdf format, 3.5 MB)

Nolan, B.T., Healy, R.W., Taber, P.E., Perkins, K.S., Hitt, K.J., and Wolock, D.M., 2007, Factors influencing ground-water recharge in the eastern United States: Journal of Hydrology, v. 332, p. 187-205. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Sun, J., Burns, S.P., Delany, A.C., Oncley, S.P., Turnipseed, A.A., Stephens, B.B., Lenschow, D.H., LeMone, M.A., Monson R.K., and Anderson, D.E., 2007, CO2 transport over complex terrain: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, v. 145, no. 1-2, p. 1-21. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Weeks, E.P., and McMahon, P.B., 2007, Nitrous oxide fluxes from cultivated areas and rangeland: U.S. High Plains: Vadose Zone Journal, v. 6, no. 3, p. 496-510. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Cooper, D.J., Sanderson, J.S., Stannard, D.I., and Groeneveld, D.P., 2006 , Effects of long-term water table drawdown on evapotranspiration and vegetation in an arid region phreatophyte community: Journal of Hydrology, v. 325, p. 21-34. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Stannard, D.I, and Weltz, M.A., 2006, Partitioning evapotranspiration in sparsely vegetated rangeland using a portable chamber: Water Resources Research, v. 42, doi:10.1029/2005WR004251. (on-line abstract or on-line journal article in pdf format, 657 KB, published 2006 by American Geophysical Union, not subject to U.S. copyright)

Thoms, R.B., Johnson, R.L., and Healy, R.W., 2006, User's guide to the variably saturated flow (VSF) Process for MODFLOW: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 6-A18, 58 p. (on-line abstract or on-line report in pdf fomat, 2.6 MB)

Weeks, E.P., 2006, R.W. Stallman (1924-1977) - an underappreciated contributor to hydrogeology: Ground Water, v. 44, no. 4, p. 618.

Anderson, D.E., 2005, Greenhouse gas measurements using eddy covariance and chamber techniques over lakes and reservoirs, in dos Santos, M.A., and Rosa, L.P., eds., 2005, Global Warming and Hydroelectric Reservoirs: Proceedings of International Seminar Series and Workshop on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Reservoirs and Watersheds, August 5-8, 2005, Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

Nimmo, J.R., Healy, R.W., and Stonestrom, D.A., 2005, Aquifer recharge, in Anderson, M.G., and Bear, J., eds., Encyclopedia of Hydrological Science: Part 13--Groundwater: Chichester, UK, Wiley, v. 4, p. 2,229-2,246, doi:10.1002/0470848944.hsa161a (on-line abstract)

Shafroth, P.B., Cleverly, J.R., Dudley, T.L., Taylor, J.P., Van Riper, C. III, Weeks, E.P. and Stuart, J.N., 2005, Control of Tamarix in the western United States: Implications for water salvage, wildlife use, and riparian restoration: Environmental Management, v. 35, p. 231-246. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Stearns, M., Tindall, J.A., Cronin, G., Friedel, M.J., and Berquist, E., 2005, Effects of coal-bed methane discharge waters on the vegetation and soil ecosystem in Powder River basin, Wyoming: Journal of Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v. 168, p. 33-57. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Tindall, J.A., Friedel, M.J., Szmajter, R.J., and Cuffin, S.M., 2005, Part 1: Enhanced bioremediation of toluene in the unsaturated zone of a shallow unconfined aquifer: Journal of Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v. 168, p. 325-357. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Tindall, J.A., Weeks, E.P., Friedel, M.J., and Nutt, A., 2005, Part 2: A field study of enhanced remediation of toluene in the vadose zone via a nitrate-rich nutrient solution: Journal of Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v. 168, p. 359-389. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Weeks, E.P., 2005, Hydrologic properties of coal beds in the Powder River Basin, Montana -- II. Aquifer test analysis: Journal of Hydrology, v. 308, p. 242-257. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Yi, C., Monson, R.K., Zhai, Z., Anderson, D.E., Lamb, B., Allwine, G., Turnipseed, A.A., Burns, S.P., 2005, Modeling and measuring the nocturnal drainage flow in a high-elevation, subalpine forest with complex terrain: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 110, D22303, doi:10.1029/2005JD006282 (on-line abstract of journal article)

Rosenberry, D.O., Stannard, D.I., Winter, T.C., and Martinez, M.L., 2004, Comparison of 13 equations for determining evapotranspiration from a prairie wetland, Cottonwood Lake area, North Dakota, USA: Wetlands, v. 24, p. 483-497. (on-line abstract)

Stannard, D.I., Rosenberry, D.O., Winter, T.C., and Parkhurst, R.S., 2004, Estimates of fetch-induced errors in Bowen-ratio energy-budget measurements of evapotranspiration from a prairie wetland, Cottonwood Lake area, North Dakota, USA: Wetlands, v. 24, p. 498-513. (on-line abstract)

Turnipseed, A.A., Anderson, D.E., Burns, S., Blanken, P.D., and Monson, R.K., 2004, Airflows and turbulent flux measurements in mountainous terrain, Part 2: Mesoscale effects: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, v. 125, p. 187-205. (on-line summary plus)

Bossong, C.R., Caine, J.S., Stannard, D.I., Flynn, J.L., Stevens, M.R., and Heiny-Dash, J.S., 2003, Hydrologic conditions and assessment of water resources in the Turkey Creek Watershed, Jefferson County, Colorado, 1998-2001: U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 03-4034, 140 pgs. (on-line abstract or on-line publication in pdf format 10.1MB

Nimmo, J.R., Stonestrom, D.A., and Healy, R.W., 2003, Aquifer recharge in Stewart, B.A., and Howell, T.A., eds., Encyclopedia of Water Science: New York, Marcel Dekker, p. 22-25.

Rosenberry, D.O., Glaser, P.H., Siegel, D.I., and Weeks, E.P., 2003, Use of hydraulic head to estimate volumetric gas content and ebullition flux in northern peatlands: Water Resources Research, v. 39, no. 3, p. 1066. (on-line abstract)

Turnipseed, A.A., Anderson, D.E., Blanken, P.D., Baugh, W.M., and Monson, R.K., 2003 Airflows and turbulent flux measurements in mountainous terrain: Part 1. Canopy and local effects: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, v. 119, p. 1-21. (on-line abstract)


FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS PROJECT, CONTACT:
Edwin P. Weeks
U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 25046, MS 413, Denver Federal Center, Lakewood, CO
Email: epweeks@usgs.gov
Telephone: 303-236-4981

Richard W. Healy
U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 25046, MS 413, Denver Federal Center, Lakewood, CO
Email: rwhealy@usgs.gov
Telephone: 303-236-5392

Dean E. Anderson
U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 25046, MS 413, Denver Federal Center, Lakewood, CO
Email: deander@usgs.gov
Telephone: 303-236-5691

James A. Tindall
U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 25046, MS 413, Denver Federal Center, Lakewood, CO
Email: jtindall@usgs.gov
Telephone: 303-236-5005

David I. Stannard
U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 25046, MS 413, Denver Federal Center, Lakewood, CO
Email: distanna@usgs.gov
Telephone: 303-236-4983

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