Analytic elements for multiaquifer flow

Mark Bakker, Otto D.L. Strack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The objective of this paper is to present an analytic element formulation for groundwater flow in multiaquifer systems. Analytic element equations are presented for wells, line-sinks, and circular infiltration areas. Each analytic element is a solution to the governing system of differential equations, and thus simulates the leakage between aquifers exactly; the head, discharge, and leakage may be computed analytically at any point in the aquifer. Superposition of these analytic elements allows for the simulation of regional multiaquifer flow. A hypothetical example is presented of a system with three aquifers, a river network, and three pumping wells. It is demonstrated that the leakage between aquifers may vary significantly over short distances and that each aquifer has its own water divide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-129
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Feb 10 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Computer implementation of the presented theory was funded by W.H.P.A, Inc., Bloomington, IN, and by the US EPA NERL Ecosystems Research Division, Athens, GA. The authors thank Steve Kraemer for performing the MODFLOW runs. Results of the Comparison and Example may be reproduced with the computer program Tim ML , available from ; this website also includes computer code of the presented functions.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Analytic element method
  • Groundwater
  • Leakage
  • Multiaquifer flow


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