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SEAWAT > SEAWAT v.2 (Superseded) > SEAWAT v.2 Summary

Notice: This USGS product has been superseded by a newer product. USGS no longer updates this page, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

SEAWAT: A Computer Program for Simulation of Three-Dimensional Variable-Density Ground-Water Flow

By Weixing Guo (CDM Missimer, Fort Myers, Florida) and
Christian D. Langevin (U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

Summary of SEAWAT


The SEAWAT program was developed to simulate three-dimensional, variable-density, transient ground-water flow in porous media. The source code for SEAWAT was developed by combining MODFLOW and MT3DMS into a single program that solves the coupled flow and solute-transport equations. The SEAWAT code follows a modular structure, and thus, new capabilities can be added with only minor modifications to the main program. SEAWAT reads and writes standard MODFLOW and MT3DMS data sets, although some extra input may be required for some SEAWAT simulations. This means that many of the existing pre- and postprocessors can be used to create input data sets and analyze simulation results. Users familiar with MODFLOW and MT3DMS should have little difficulty applying SEAWAT to problems of variable-density ground-water flow.

MODFLOW was modified to solve the variable-density flow equation by reformulating the matrix equations in terms of fluid mass rather than fluid volume and by including the appropriate density terms. Fluid density is assumed to be solely a function of the concentration of dissolved constituents; the effects of temperature on fluid density are not considered. Temporally and spatially varying salt concentrations are simulated in SEAWAT using routines from the MT3DMS program. SEAWAT uses either an explicit or implicit procedure to couple the ground-water flow equation with the solute-transport equation. With the explicit procedure, the flow equation is solved first for each timestep, and the resulting advective velocity field is then used in the solution to the solute-transport equation. This procedure for alternately solving the flow and transport equations is repeated until the stress periods and simulation are complete. With the implicit procedure for coupling, the flow and transport equations are solved multiple times for the same timestep until the maximum difference in fluid density between consecutive iterations is less than a user-specified tolerance.

The SEAWAT code was tested by simulating five benchmark problems involving variable-density ground-water flow. These problems include two box problems, the Henry problem, Elder problem, and HYDROCOIN problem. The purpose of the box problems is to verify that fluid velocities are properly calculated by SEAWAT. For each of the box problems, SEAWAT calculates the appropriate velocity distribution. SEAWAT also accurately simulates the Henry problem, and SEAWAT results compare well with those of SUTRA. The Elder problem is a complex flow system in which fluid flow is driven solely by density variations. Results from SEAWAT, for six different times, compare well with results from Elder's original solution and results from SUTRA. The HYDROCOIN problem consists of fresh ground water flowing over a salt dome. Simulated contours of salinity compare well for SEAWAT and MOCDENSE.


The variable-density ground-water flow equation is solved using a finite-difference approximation similar to the one solved by MODFLOW-88. The solute-transport equation is solved using one of the approaches available with MT3DMS.


SEAWAT Version 2.12   2002/09/13 - Fixed problem with calculation of EVT fluid density. Thanks to Adam Taylor and Barclay Shoemaker. Also fixed bug in calculation of default riverbed thickness. Thanks to Lou Motz and Nebiyu Tiruneh from the University of Florida for locating this problem.

SEAWAT Version 2.11   2002/08/09 - Fixed bug that caused program to bomb for certain problems involving wetting drying.

SEAWAT Version 2.10   2002/02/07 - Code consists of MODFLOW-88 and MT3DMS Version 3.50.A. Upgraded the CFACE subroutine with the improved CFACE subroutine from MT3DMS Version 4.00. Reformulated flow equation to conserve fluid mass. Redesigned boundary conditions to represent variable-density flow. Added an iterative method for coupling flow and transport. Program redesigned as double precision.

SEAWAT Version 1.1   1998/05/01 - Initially released by Weixing Guo (Missimer International, Inc.) and Gordon D. Bennett (S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc.)

Data Requirements

In order to use SEAWAT, initial conditions, hydraulic properties, and stresses must be specified for every model cell in the finite-difference grid.

Output Options

Primary output is head and concentration, which can be written to the listing file or to separate binary files. Other output includes the complete listing of
all input data, drawdown, flow budget, and transport budget data. Flow budget data are printed as a summary in the listing file, and detailed budget data for all model cells can be written into a separate file. All binary output is written to files that are opened with the FORM='BINARY' option. This means that some pre- and post-processors may not be able to read the output unless the open statements are modified, the program is recompiled, and the model is rerun.

System Requirements

SEAWAT is written in Fortran 77 with the following extensions: use of variable names longer than 6 characters, Fortran 90 statements for dynamic memory allocation, the DFLIB library and the DTIME function, and the FORM='BINARY' option with the open statement. Generally, the program is easily installed on most computer systems. The code has been used on personal computers with several different versions of the WINDOWS operating system.


This version of SEAWAT includes the following packages:

BAS -- Basic Package
BCF2 -- Block-Centered Flow Package
WEL - Well Package
DRN - Drain Package
RIV - River Package
EVT - Evapotranspiration Package
GHB - General-Head Boundary Package
RCH - Recharge Package
SIP - Strongly Implicit Procedure
SOR - Successive Over-Relaxation
PCG2 - Preconditioned Conjugate Gradient Solver Package
OC - Output Control Option
CHD - Time-Variant Constant Head Package
LKMT3D - MT3D link package
BTN - Basic Transport Package
ADV - Advection Package
DSP - Dispersion Package
SSM - Source/Sink Mixing Package
RCT - Reaction Package
GCG - Generalized Conjugate Gradient Solver


None at time of release, but a course may be developed and offered through the USGS National Training Center.

Technical Support

Limited support is provided to SEAWAT users with questions regarding the use of the SEAWAT code. Technical support will not be provided for general questions about ground-water modeling or the use of MODFLOW and MT3DMS.



Weixing Guo
CDM Missimer
8140 College Parkway, Suite 202
Fort Myers, Florida

Christian Langevin
U.S. Geological Survey
3110 SW 9th Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315

See for information on ordering printed copies of USGS publications.


This program is public domain and is released on the condition that neither the U.S Geological Survey nor the United States Government may be held liable for any damages resulting from their authorized or unauthorized use. See also User Rights.

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