Date of Award

4-21-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Geosciences

First Advisor

Dr. Seth Rose - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. W. Crawford Elliott

Third Advisor

Dr. Hassan A. Babaie

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jeremy E. Diem

Abstract

The objectives of this research are to measure the aquifer properties (S, T, and K) of selected watersheds delineated to the U.S. Geological Survey gauging stations using streamflow recession and baseflow data and to describe the relations among the properties of shallow aquifers and the physical properties of the basins, such as slope, regolith type and thickness, and land use type. Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques are utilized to investigate critical physiographic controls on transmissivity and storage coefficients on a regional basis. Moreover, the effect of evapotranspiration on recession index is illustrated. Finally, a detailed quantitative comparison of results for the Piedmont and the Blue Ridge Physiographic Provinces in southeast of the U.S. is provided. Recession index, annual groundwater recharge, and annual baseflow data were obtained from 44 USGS-gauging stations with drainage areas larger than 2 (mi2) and less than 400 (mi2). These gauging stations are located in Georgia and North Carolina. Analyses of data focused on GIS techniques to estimate watershed parameters such as total stream length, drainage density, groundwater slope, and aquifer half-width. The hydraulic diffusivity, transmissivity, and storage coefficient of watersheds were computed using hydrograph techniques and the Olmsted and Hely, and Rorabaugh mathematical models. Median recession index values for the Blue Ridge and Piedmont Provinces are 87.8 and 74.5 (d/log cycle), respectively. Median areal diffusivity values for the Blue Ridge and Piedmont are 35,000 and 44,200 (ft2/d), respectively. Median basin-specific estimates of transmissivity for basins in the Blue Ridge and Piedmont are 150 and 410 (ft2/d), respectively. The large values of transmissivity obtained for the Piedmont regolith may be attributed to the thick regolith, low values of basin relief, and voids that develop as a result of fracturing, foliation, weathering, and fractured quartz veins in the saprolite. Median basin-specific estimates of storage coefficient for basins in the Blue Ridge and Piedmont are 0.005 and 0.009, respectively. In general, the results from this study reveal great differences in basin-specific hydraulic parameters of the regolith material within the Piedmont compared to that of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province.

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