EOSC 428 · Field Techniques in Groundwater Hydrology

Hydraulic head measurements, water-quality sampling, pump and slug testing, infiltration measurements, profiling techniques. Held over five days after spring term at the Richmond groundwater hydrology field-school site. Enrolment limitations. Prerequisite: EOSC 329 or permission of the instructor.

Course Availability & Schedule


Leslie Smith, Ulrich Mayer, Roger Beckie

Lecture Topics

The first part of the course consists of a preparatory class and 5 days of exercises at the Richmond groundwater hydrology field site. Students will be introduced to both on-site measurement and sample collection techniques. Hydraulic conductivities of the aquifer will be determined by a pumping and recovery test, by slug tests, and by a tidal analysis. Various methods to determine the permeability of surficial soils will also be introduced. Geochemical parameters of groundwater, such as pH, electrical conductivity, iron and sulfate content, will be determined in the field. The field exercises are designed such that students are directly involved and gain hands-on experience with the various measurement and sampling techniques. After completion of the field exercises, the data will be analyzed in assignments and synthesized in a group report that describes the physical and chemical characteristics of the site.

1. Hydraulic head measurements
2. Pumping tests, Slug tests
3. Infiltration measurements
4. Water quality sampling and analysis
5. Water quality analysis using downhole profiling
6. Overview of geophysical techniques


Lab Topic
1 Preparation of borehole logs based on existing cores
2 Preparation of potentiometric surface maps based on hydraulic head data collected in the field
3 Estimation of hydraulic properties of the aquifer from tidal signals
4 Assessment of groundwater geochemistry based on data collected in the field
5 Unsaturated zone properties, infiltration measurements and geophysical techniques
6 Characterization of vertical flow component at the site
7 Slug/Bail/Constant discharge tests
8 Estimation of specific capacity and well efficiency
9 Pumping test analysis
10 Estimation of hydraulic parameters based on recovery data from pumping test
11 Summary of reading assignments