Groundwater Modeling, Illinois State Water Survey

Groundwater Modeling

Figure 1. Analog model
				displays for theoretical models (top left), East St. Louis area (top right), and the Mahomet aquifer near Champaign-Urbana (bottom)
Figure 2. Bill Walton recording analog model output from one of the recently-dedicated theoretical
Figure 3. Tom Prickett
				operating an early version of the Mahomet aquifer 3D model, circa 1964. An inset model area was created some time after this (see model display photo in
				Figure 1). Also note the East St. Louis model behind Tom.
Al Wehrmann, Head of
				the Survey's Center for Groundwater Science, gives a brief presentation on analog modeling.
Al Wehrmann and Alice
				Prickett with model creators Bill Walton and Adrian Visocky.
Analog model creators
				(left to right) Tom Prickett, Bill Walton, Dick Schicht, and Adrian Visocky.

On November 14, 2007, three displays containing several historical electric analog groundwater flow models were dedicated before an audience of ISWS staff and guests. Honored guests included analog model creators William Walton and Adrian Visocky. Also attending on behalf of the late Tom Prickett were his wife, Alice, and their daughter, Laura.

The displays dedicated include: 1) several small analog models designed by Walton and Prickett to test against known theoretical solutions, 2) an analog flow model of the American Bottoms (East St. Louis, IL area, see Schicht, 1965), and 3) a three-dimensional model of the Mahomet Aquifer near Champaign-Urbana, IL (see Visocky and Schicht, 1969). The Mahomet aquifer model is a true treasure, being one of the first three-dimensional analog models ever built and the first 3D model of the Mahomet aquifer (and overlying formations) ever. Not only is the model 3D, but it incorporated an inset area essentially the same as current Telescoping Mesh Refinement (TMR) techniques used in modern digital models today. Also unique to this model was its ability to simulate the additional drawdown in the pumped well by the addition of a series of "well resistors."

The models survived only through the heroic efforts of Tom Prickett. Originally created at the ISWS in the 1960s, he saved them during a 1980s Surveywide cleanup in preparation to a move to new facilities. Until 2006, the models were housed by the International Ground Water Modeling Center (IGWMC), first at Butler University in Indianapolis, and then at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. In 2006, Tom again rescued the models from the basement of the IGWMC (and with great thanks to IGWMC Director Eileen Poeter) and returned them to the ISWS. After a year of painstaking cleaning, creation of explanatory text panels, and construction, displays were ready for the public. It is with great sorrow that Tom missed the dedication after his unexpected and sudden passing in September 2007.

The ISWS is proud of its long history of contributions to the field of groundwater modeling. Due especially to the efforts of Tom Prickett, we are fortunate to have recovered and refurbished several historic electric analog groundwater flow models developed at the Survey over 40 years ago.

Groundwater Modeling


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