A Generalized Finite-Difference Formulation for the U.S. Geological Survey Modular Three-Dimensional Finite-Difference Ground-Water Flow Model

U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 91-494

by Arlen W. Harbaugh

This report is available as a pdf below


The U.S. Geological Survey's Modular Ground-Water Flow Model assumes that model nodes are in the center of cells and that transmissivity is constant within a cell. Based on these assumptions, the model calculates coefficients, called conductance, that are multiplied by head difference to determine flow between cells. Although these are common assumptions in finite-difference models, other assumptions are possible. A new option to the model program reads conductance as input data rather than calculating it. This optional lows the user to calculate conductance outside of the model. The user thus has the flexibility to define conductance using any desired assumptions.

For a water-table condition, horizontal conductance must change as water level varies. To handle this situation, the new option reads conductance divided by thickness (CDT) as input data. The model calculates saturated thickness and multiplies it by CDT to obtain conductance. Thus, the user is still free from the assumptions of centered nodes and constant transmissivity in cells.

The model option is written in FORTRAN77 and is fully compatible with the existing model. This report documents the new model option; it includes a description of the concepts, detailed input instructions, and a listing of the code.

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