Simulating Groundwater Flow Through Methanogenic Coal Beds of the Tongue River Watershed
AuthorRandle, Nicholas Loring
AdvisorMcIntosh, Jennifer C.
Maddock, Thomas III
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAs an effort to gain a better understanding of the processes that enable and sustain coal bed methanogenesis in the western Powder River Basin, a steady-state groundwater flow model using MODFLOW 2005 was constructed. The model covers the middle Tongue River Watershed of north-central Wyoming and southeastern Montana and is comprised of five heterogeneous layers. The model is designed to determine the location of recharge and quantify the volume and velocity of groundwater fluxes to, from and within methanogenic coal beds. Analysis of the model's results indicate a groundwater regime dominated by horizontal flow, with little hydrologic connection between the methanogenic coal beds and the near-surface aquifers and streams. The model predicts only 3.88 cubic feet per seconds (cfs) or 2.17 percent of the total steady state flux within the modeled domain percolates downward to potentially reach the methanogenic coal beds. Most of this downward flux is predicted to occur at the base of the Bighorn Mountains. Additionally, the model predicts that the transit time to and resultant groundwater age within the methanogenic coal beds in the study area is on the order of thousands of years (predicted minimum age of 8,967 years).
Degree ProgramGraduate College