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Understanding Geohydrology:

Investigating Geohydrologic Systems From Geologic Framework and History

The Problem:

Population growth and urbanization in the U.S. are increasingly impacting the availability and sustainability of limited water resources. An improved understanding of geohydrologic systems is required to address a variety of societal issues in the U.S., including:

(1) balancing the sustainability of water resources with increasing demands from pumping,
(2) better prediction of the effects of ground-water development, such as surface subsidence,
(3) developing strategies for storage of imported water,
(4) amelioration of past aquifer contamination, and
(5) predicting the effects of potential future changes in natural recharge to aquifer systems.

The three-dimensional subsurface geohydrologic framework is the fundamental physical constraint upon which hydrologic information is superimposed and from which predictions of ground-water behavior are derived.
Taking a gravity measurement in Napa Valley
Taking gravity measurements in the Napa Valley.

Our Objective:

The goal of this project is to create an understanding of geohydrologic systems by producing 3-dimensional maps of these systems based on geologic information, interpretation, and interpolation (to "plumb" the water relevance of geologic and geophysical mapping).

Research Goals:

(1) develop methods of characterizing the 3-D geometry and properties of basin-fill aquifers,
(2) understand nature of groundwater aquifers in lava flow-dominated volcanic deposits, and
(3) develop and improve mapping methods in heterogeneous volcanic deposits to predict their material properties and role in promoting or hindering groundwater flow.
(4) understand how basin-fill aquifers—the main water supplies for many cities in the western U.S.—interact with basement aquifers

Cooperators and Collaborators:

Department of Energy (Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management/Yucca Mountain)
Death Valley National Park
Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries
California Geological Survey
Sonoma County Water Agency
Geophysical Unit of Menlo Park (USGS)

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