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A Leaky Aquifer below Champlain Sea Clay: Closed-Form Solutions for Natural Seepage

Authors

  • by Robert P. Chapuis,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department MAGI, École Polytechnique de Montréal, P.O. Box 6079, Sta. CV, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 3A7.
    • Corresponding author: Department CGM, École Polytechnique de Montréal, P.O. Box 6079, Sta. CV, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 3A7; (514) 340 4711x4427; fax: (514) 340 4477; robert.chapuis@polymtl.ca

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  • Antoine Saucier

    1. Department MAGI, École Polytechnique de Montréal, P.O. Box 6079, Sta. CV, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 3A7.
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Abstract

Closed-form solutions are proposed for natural seepage in semiconfined (leaky) aquifers such as those existing below the massive Champlain Sea clay layers in the Saint-Lawrence River Valley. The solutions are for an ideal horizontal leaky aquifer below an ideal aquitard that may have either a constant thickness and a constant hydraulic head at its surface, or a variable thickness and a variable hydraulic head at its surface. A few simplifying assumptions were needed to obtain the closed-form solutions. These have been verified using a finite element method, which did not make any of the assumptions but gave an excellent agreement for hydraulic heads and groundwater velocities. For example, the difference between the two solutions was smaller than 1 mm for variations in the 5 to 8 m range for the hydraulic head in the semiconfined aquifer. Note that fitting the hydraulic head data of monitoring wells to the theoretical solutions gives only the ratio of the aquifer and aquitard hydraulic conductivities, a clear case of multiple solutions for an inverse problem. Consequently, field permeability tests in the aquitard and the aquifer, and pumping tests in the aquifer, are still needed to determine the hydraulic conductivity values.

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