Predicting Ground-Water Drainage to Surface Mines

by Linda S. Weiss, US Geological Survey, Water, Resources Div, Urbana, IL, USA,
Devin L. Galloway, US Geological Survey, Water, Resources Div, Urbana, IL, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water for Resource Development


A two-dimensional, finite-difference numerical model is used to simulate the drainage of ground water into a surface coal mine. Graphs of dimensionless head as a function of dimensionless distance, and dimensionless seepage flux as a function of dimensionless time are developed from results of the numerical modeling. Changes in seepage flux and ground-water levels can be estimated from the dimensionless hydrographs, from knowledge of aquifer characteristics prior to mining, and by means of several 'simple-to-use' equations. The technique is an improvement on previous experimental, analytical, and other numerical solutions because drainage from the unsaturated zone also is considered. The procedure is applicable to a wide range of hydrogeologic settings, but is especially applicable to hydrogeologic conditions typically encountered in the coal strip-mining regions of Illinois.

Subject Headings: Surface drainage | Two-dimensional models | Groundwater | Mines and mining | Seepage | Hydrogeology | Coal mining | Water resources | Illinois | United States

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