Hydraulic Conductivity Determinations in Unlithified Glacial and Fluvial Materials

    Published: Jan 1990

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    Experiences with many measurements of the hydraulic conductivity of unlithified glacial and fluvial materials in Wisconsin suggest that hydraulic conductivity must be viewed in terms of the operational scale of measurement, based on the scale of the problem at hand and the volume of the materials of interest. Frequently, the hydraulic conductivity of a given lithostratigraphic unit appears to increase as the operational scale of measurement increases. In particular, laboratory methods can yield hydraulic conductivities one to two orders of magnitude lower than conductivities determined in field tests on the same materials. The operational scale of most laboratory methods is much smaller than the operational scale of most field problems, and laboratory tests, although often logistically and financially attractive, may be of little value in characterizing the hydraulic conductivity of Pleistocene and recent deposits at working field scales.


    hydraulic conductivity, ground water, glacial deposits, pumping tests, permeability, laboratory tests, particle size, field permeability tests

    Author Information:

    Bradbury, KR
    Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Madison, WI

    Muldoon, MA
    Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Madison, WI

    Committee/Subcommittee: D18.21

    DOI: 10.1520/STP23404S

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