Earth and Planetary Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



The effects of aquifer heterogeneity on flow and transport are considered numerically at two scales using high resolution groundwater models. Heterogeneity effects on river loss were evaluated at the kilometer scale using stochastic, geostatistical models with grid cells on the order of several meters. It was found that river loss decreased directly with an increase in the extent of heterogeneity and that homogeneous approximations resulted in increased loss estimates. Heterogeneity effects on transport were simulated at the scale of several meters using a homogeneous approximation, traditional geostatistical models and a new integrated method of aquifer characterization. The integrated method combines geophysics and geostatistics to create a more realistic approximation of subsurface features. Using grid cells of several centimeters, transport was simulated for multiple heterogeneity realizations in three directions through the models to evaluate potential anisotropy of the transport rates. The resulting breakthrough curves for the homogeneous and traditional geostatistical models showed no directional anisotropy but the integrated models showed anisotropic behavior consistent with the bedding direction as well as non-Fickian transport rates.

Degree Name

Earth and Planetary Sciences

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

First Advisor

Weissmann, Gary

First Committee Member (Chair)

Meyer, Grant

Second Committee Member

Thomson, Bruce

Project Sponsors

University of New Mexico, Office of Graduate Studies; New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute




Heterogeneity, Groundwater modeling

Document Type