Robustness and Accuracy of Groundwater Flux Computations in Large-Scale Shallow Sedimentary Basins

  • W. Zijl
  • M. Nawalany
Conference paper


Computer codes to calculate the groundwater potential field ø(x,t) (a scalar field) are applied on a routine basis by geohydrologists. For this purpose both finite difference and finite element codes are well-suited. However, the flux field q(x,t) (a vector field) obtained from the latter finite element codes has discontinuous normal components on the inter-element boundaries. These discontinuities can lead to serious errors in the resulting flow paths. Finite difference codes, on the other hand, result in a continuous flux field. To avoid a discontinuous flux field, while retaining the advantages of the finite element method, the so-called mixed-hybrid finite element method has recently been developed; see Kaasschieter and Huijben [1]. The block-centred finite difference method (see Aziz and Settari [2]) turns out to be a special case of the mixed-hybrid finite element method; or, in other words, the mixed-hybrid finite element method may be considered as a generalization of the blockcentred finite difference method; see Weiser and Wheeler [3].


Hydraulic Conductivity Groundwater Flow Finite Difference Method Finite Element Code Local Matrice 
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Copyright information

© Computational Mechanics Publications 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Zijl
    • 1
  • M. Nawalany
    • 2
  1. 1.TNO Institute of Applied GeoscienceDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental EngineeringWarsaw Technical UniversityWarsawPoland

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