Using solver to determine vertical groundwater velocities by temperature variations, Purdue University, Indiana, USA
Vertical groundwater velocities can be estimated based on directions of groundwater thermal gradients. Temperature-depth profiles were obtained from 12 monitoring wells at 3 different times of the year (Fall, Winter, and Spring) in West Lafayette, Indiana (USA) mainly on the Purdue University campus. Microsoft Excel Solver was used to match plots of groundwater temperature distribution in the wells with published type curves in order to find a dimensionless parameter , from which vertical groundwater velocities were obtained. The vertical groundwater velocities found in the monitoring wells ranged from 0.92 to 4.53 cm/yr. Clay-rich aquitards presented greater vertical groundwater velocities than outwash aquifers. The highest groundwater velocities occurred in the Spring while the lowest were during the Winter. This method was found to be especially useful in glacially-derived materials with varying hydraulic conductivities for estimating vertical groundwater velocities in-situ.