Use of alternative conceptual models to assess the impact of a buried valley on groundwater vulnerability

Dorte Seifert, Torben O. Sonnenborg, Peter Scharling, Klaus Hinsby

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review

42 Citationer (Scopus)


A buried valley incised into a sequence of pre-Quaternary sediments is shown to seriously affect the vulnerability of groundwater. Often the existence of buried valleys is not known or is not described explicitly in a hydrogeological model. In the present study, two numerical groundwater models, representing two alternative conceptual models, were produced to help quantify the effect of the valley on groundwater vulnerability. One model included the buried valley and the other did not. Both models were subjected to calibration and were found to describe hydraulic head and river discharge equally well. Even though the two models showed similar calibration statistics; fluxes, travel paths and travel times were affected by the inclusion of the buried valley. The recharge area and the groundwater age of potential abstraction wells placed in the pre-Quaternary deep aquifers surrounding the buried valley were different for the two models, with significantly higher vulnerability when the valley was included in the model. Based on the results of the present study, it is concluded that a buried valley may not always be detectable when calibrating a wrong conceptual model. If reliable results should be obtained a good geological model has to be constructed.

Sider (fra-til)659-674
Antal sider16
TidsskriftHydrogeology Journal
Udgave nummer4
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2008


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