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Anisotropy and depth-related heterogeneity of hydraulic conductivity in a bog peat. II: modelling the effects on groundwater flow

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date01/2003
JournalHydrological Processes
Journal number1
Volume17
Number of pages11
Pages103-113
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Anisotropy and heterogeneity of hydraulic conductivity (K) are seldom considered in models of mire hydrology. We investigated the effect of anisotropy and heterogeneity on groundwater flow in bog peat using a steady-state groundwater model. In five model simulations, four sets of K data were used. The first set comprised measured K values from an anisotropic and heterogeneous bog peat. These data were aggregated to produce the following simplified data sets: an isotropic and heterogeneous distribution of K; an isotropic and homogeneous distribution; and an anisotropic and homogeneous distribution. We demonstrate that, where anisotropy and heterogeneity exist, groundwater flow in bog peat is complex. Fine-scale variations in K have the potential to influence patterns and rates of groundwater flow. However, for our data at least, it is heterogeneity and not anisotropy that has the greater influence on producing complex patterns of groundwater flow. We also demonstrate that patterns and rates of groundwater flow are simplified and reduced when measured K values are aggregated to create a more uniform distribution of K. For example, when measured K values are aggregated to produce isotropy and homogeneity, the rate of modelled seepage is reduced by 28%. We also show that when measured K values are used, the presence of a drainage ditch can increase seepage through a modelled cross-section. Our work has implications for the accurate interpretation of hydraulic head data obtained from peat soils, and also the understanding of the effect of drainage ditches on patterns and rates of groundwater flow.

Bibliographic note

Jan Anisotropy and depth-related heterogeneity of hydraulic conductivity in a bog peat. II: modelling the effects on groundwater flow WOS:000180603300007 Times Cited: 10