Spatiotemporal Responses of Groundwater Flow and Aquifer-River Exchanges to Flood Events Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Rapidly rising river stages induced by flood events lead to considerable river water infiltration into aquifers and carry surface-borne solutes into hyporheic zones which are widely recognized as an important place for the biogeochemical activity. Existing studies for surface-groundwater exchanges induced by flood events usually limit to a river-aquifer cross section that is perpendicular to river channels, and neglect groundwater flow in parallel with river channels. In this study, surface-groundwater exchanges to a flood event are investigated with specific considerations of unconfined flow in direction that is in parallel with river channels. The groundwater flow is described by a two-dimensional Boussinesq equation and the flood event is described by a diffusive-type flood wave. Analytical solutions are derived and tested using the numerical solution. The results indicate that river water infiltrates into aquifers quickly during flood events, and mostly returns to the river within a short period of time after the flood event. However, the rest river water will stay in aquifers for a long period of time. The residual river water not only flows back to rivers but also flows to downstream aquifers. The one-dimensional model of neglecting flow in the direction parallel with river channels will overestimate heads and discharge in upstream aquifers. The return flow induced by the flood event has a power law form with time and has a significant impact on the base flow recession at early times. The solution can match the observed hydraulic heads in riparian zone wells of Iowa during flood events.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Liang, X., Zhan, H., & Schilling, K.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Liang, Xiuyu||Zhan, Hongbin||Schilling, Keith

publication date

  • January 1, 2018 11:11 AM