Experiments and Modeling of Freshwater Lenses in Layered Aquifers: Steady State Interface Geometry

Document Type


Publication Date



Freshwater lens, Variable-density flow, Physical model, Interface, Layered aquifer

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



The interface geometry of freshwater lenses in layered aquifers was investigated by physical 2D laboratory experiments. The resulting steady-state geometries of the lenses were compared to existing analytical expressions from Dupuit–Ghyben–Herzberg (DGH) analysis of strip-island lenses for various cases of heterogeneity. Despite the vertical exaggeration of the physical models, which would seem to vitiate the assumption of vertical equipotentials, the fits with the DGH models were generally satisfactory. Observed deviations between the analytical and physical models can be attributed mainly to outflow zones along the shore line, which are not considered in the analytical models. As unconfined natural lenses have small outflow zones compared to their overall dimensions, and flow is mostly horizontal, the DGH analytical models should perform even better at full scale. Numerical models that do consider the outflow face generally gave a good fit to the physical models.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Hydrology, v. 509, p. 621-630