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Week 3 Groundwater Lab Report
GLG/220 Version 3
1
University of Phoenix Material
Week 3 Groundwater Lab Report
Answer the lab questions for this week and summarize the lab experience using this form.
Carefully read Ch. 12 of Geoscience Laboratory. Pay special attention to the graphs and figures.
Complete this week’s lab by filling in your responses to the questions from the Geoscience Laboratory.
Select answers are provided for you in red font to assist you with your lab work. Although you are only
required to respond to the questions in this worksheet, you are strongly encouraged to answer the other
questions from the text on your own; doing so will make answering the required questions easier.
Questions are from Geoscience Laboratory, 5th ed. (pp. 213–226), by T. Freeman, 2009, New York, NY:
John Wiley & Sons. Reprinted with permission.
Lab Questions
12.2
(A) How many cubic kilometers of water reside within groundwater?
12.2
(B) How many more times abundant is groundwater than water on land?
12.5
So what do you suppose happened when over-pumping of the saturated zone was stopped by
that other California state agency?
12.6
Can you imagine what happened when the water table rose? Hint: Asphalt and concrete are only
so strong.
12.7
If, for the model in Figure 12.11, h1 were 506 ft, h2 were 497 ft, and l were 150 ft, what would be
the hydraulic gradient (in percent) between well #1 and well #2?
Answer: 6 % (506 – 497)/150 = 0.06 * 100 = 6 %
12.11
If contaminants were to find their way into groundwater at Acme Industries, in which well would
those contaminants be more likely to appear—the well at the Smith farmhouse, or the well at the
Jones farmhouse?
12.18
Which of the six wells in Figure 12.25 in Ch. 12 should be flowing artesian wells?
12.19
In Figures 12.19A and B, two depressions are occupied by water, whereas others are dry.
(A) Explain this presence and absence of ponds in these two figures.
(B) If the two ponds were perennial (i.e., year-round) ponds, because of intersecting the water
table, how would the presence or absence of water in the other depressions differ from that which
is shown?
Week 3 Groundwater Lab Report
GLG/220 Version 3
2
12.20
Judging from what you learned from information in Figure 12.19A in Ch. 12, how might one seal a
leaking stock pond? Hint: We’re talking three steps here, with steps #1 and #2 being the draining
and restoring of pond water.
12.21
Examine Figure 12.22. At a glance, several ponds might be mistaken for stock ponds. However,
there is evidence indicating that the large pond at coordinates P-5 is surely a sinkhole. What is
that evidence? Hint: The evidence appears in the relationship between the pond and a man-made
feature.
12.25
Do water levels in these three lakes (as well as others) appear to be governed by the vagaries of
spotty rainfall and random surface drainage, or do they appear to mark systematic elevations on
a water table? Hint: Notice the elevations of the bottoms of dry sinkholes relative to the water
levels in ponds.
Lab Summary
Address the following in a 100- to 200-word summary:

Summarize the general principles and purpose of the lab.
Explain how this lab helped you better understand the topics and concepts addressed this week.
A. Groundwater defined
In its broadest definition groundwater is all that water that occurs in otherwise
open spaces within rocks and sediments. Groundwater that originates from
the precipitation of rain and snow—the topic of this exercise—is
called meteoric water.
Figure 12.1 The vast majority of groundwater is meteoric in origin and is
free to move with vagaries of climate. Rates of groundwater flow differ
with depth, ranging from days to thousands of years to traverse an area
the size of a county.
In addition to meteoric water, there are two minor sources of subterranean
water: connate water (aka sediment water), which is water that was entrapped
within sediments at the time of their deposition in ancient seas; and juvenile
water, water that was born of magmatic activity. Neither connate water nor
juvenile water is a source of potable water, but connate water can locally be
important as a high-salinity environmental contaminant associated with
petroleum.
Groundwater—the great dissolver, the great precipitator Groundwater is
physically and chemically dynamic. It is constantly on the move, constantly
dissolving and/or precipitating a host of rocks and minerals—depending on
the chemistry of the water and the chemistry of the rocks and sediments
through which it moves (Fig. 12.2).
Figure 12.2 Groundwater dissolves rocks and minerals, groundwater
precipitates rocks and minerals—depending on the composition of the
water and on the composition of the rocks and sediments through which
it moves.
Dissolves some things

Precipitates many things

Limestone, gypsum, salt (forms caves and landscapes
in these rocks)
Cave deposits (stalactites, stalagmites,
etc.)

Few minerals from sandstones, shales, and igneous
and metamorphic rocks (rarely forms caves in these
rocks)
Cements that hold sedimentary rocks
together (calcareous, siliceous,
ferruginous)

Spring and geyser deposits

Concretions and geodes
The variability in the composition of groundwater is illustrated by the variety
of geyserites in Yellowstone National Park. (Geyserite is mineral material that
is precipitated from groundwater as it emerges from the ground and
evaporates, leaving behind elements that were in solution.)
Figure 12.5 This is a comparison among the four vast reservoirs of
accessible water on Earth. (Each unit is one million cubic kilometers.)
Water on land consists of streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds.
B. Anatomy of water tables
Saturated and unsaturated zones— Within the subterranean realm of
groundwater there are two main zones:
1. The saturated zone (Fig. 12.6) is the zone in which open spaces in
sediments and rocks are filled with water. The top of the saturated zone
is the water table. The slow movement of groundwater—toward
streams in humid regions and away from streams in arid regions—
is impeded by friction, so water tables are rarely flat. The shape of a
water table in a humid region mimics that of the land surface—i.e., high
under hills and low under valleys, where it intersects perennial streams
and lakes.
Figure 12.6 A In a humid region, water moves (‘seeking its own
level’ as it were) in its tendency to develop a horizontal water table,
and so the saturated zone feeds a gaining stream. B In an arid or
semiarid region, the water table slopes downward from a losing
stream, the source of water for the saturated zone.
Figure 12.7 Because of arid to semiarid climate, approximately one-half
of the conterminous 48 states is at risk as concerns the development
and management of water resources.
Figure 12.11 h1 is the elevation of the water table in well #1, h2 is the
elevation of the water table in well #2, and l (for length) is the horizontal
distance between wells.
Figure 12.19 A This ephemeral pond occurs within a sinkhole formed by
the collapse of a cave roof. B This ephemeral pond occurs within a
depression typical of landscapes carpeted by glacial deposits.
Figure 12.22 Sinkholes characterize karst topography at Rock Bridge
State Park. Some sinkholes are naturally lined with relatively
impermeable clay soil (see again Figure 12.19A on page 222), so they
can hold water long after the rains that filled them. In contrast, other
sinkholes are without benefit of such natural liners, so they fail to retain
rainwater for even short periods of time.
This is Figure 12.25
A. Groundwater defined
In its broadest definition groundwater is all that water that occurs in otherwise
open spaces within rocks and sediments. Groundwater that originates from
the precipitation of rain and snow—the topic of this exercise—is
called meteoric water.
Figure 12.1 The vast majority of groundwater is meteoric in origin and is
free to move with vagaries of climate. Rates of groundwater flow differ
with depth, ranging from days to thousands of years to traverse an area
the size of a county.
In addition to meteoric water, there are two minor sources of subterranean
water: connate water (aka sediment water), which is water that was entrapped
within sediments at the time of their deposition in ancient seas; and juvenile
water, water that was born of magmatic activity. Neither connate water nor
juvenile water is a source of potable water, but connate water can locally be
important as a high-salinity environmental contaminant associated with
petroleum.
Groundwater—the great dissolver, the great precipitator Groundwater is
physically and chemically dynamic. It is constantly on the move, constantly
dissolving and/or precipitating a host of rocks and minerals—depending on
the chemistry of the water and the chemistry of the rocks and sediments
through which it moves (Fig. 12.2).
Figure 12.2 Groundwater dissolves rocks and minerals, groundwater
precipitates rocks and minerals—depending on the composition of the
water and on the composition of the rocks and sediments through which
it moves.
Dissolves some things

Precipitates many things

Limestone, gypsum, salt (forms caves and landscapes
in these rocks)
Cave deposits (stalactites, stalagmites,
etc.)

Few minerals from sandstones, shales, and igneous
and metamorphic rocks (rarely forms caves in these
rocks)
Cements that hold sedimentary rocks
together (calcareous, siliceous,
ferruginous)

Spring and geyser deposits

Concretions and geodes
The variability in the composition of groundwater is illustrated by the variety
of geyserites in Yellowstone National Park. (Geyserite is mineral material that
is precipitated from groundwater as it emerges from the ground and
evaporates, leaving behind elements that were in solution.)
Figure 12.5 This is a comparison among the four vast reservoirs of
accessible water on Earth. (Each unit is one million cubic kilometers.)
Water on land consists of streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds.
B. Anatomy of water tables
Saturated and unsaturated zones— Within the subterranean realm of
groundwater there are two main zones:
1. The saturated zone (Fig. 12.6) is the zone in which open spaces in
sediments and rocks are filled with water. The top of the saturated zone
is the water table. The slow movement of groundwater—toward
streams in humid regions and away from streams in arid regions—
is impeded by friction, so water tables are rarely flat. The shape of a
water table in a humid region mimics that of the land surface—i.e., high
under hills and low under valleys, where it intersects perennial streams
and lakes.
Figure 12.6 A In a humid region, water moves (‘seeking its own
level’ as it were) in its tendency to develop a horizontal water table,
and so the saturated zone feeds a gaining stream. B In an arid or
semiarid region, the water table slopes downward from a losing
stream, the source of water for the saturated zone.
Figure 12.7 Because of arid to semiarid climate, approximately one-half
of the conterminous 48 states is at risk as concerns the development
and management of water resources.
Figure 12.11 h1 is the elevation of the water table in well #1, h2 is the
elevation of the water table in well #2, and l (for length) is the horizontal
distance between wells.
Figure 12.19 A This ephemeral pond occurs within a sinkhole formed by
the collapse of a cave roof. B This ephemeral pond occurs within a
depression typical of landscapes carpeted by glacial deposits.
Figure 12.22 Sinkholes characterize karst topography at Rock Bridge
State Park. Some sinkholes are naturally lined with relatively
impermeable clay soil (see again Figure 12.19A on page 222), so they
can hold water long after the rains that filled them. In contrast, other
sinkholes are without benefit of such natural liners, so they fail to retain
rainwater for even short periods of time.
This is Figure 12.25

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