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Techniques and Methods 6-A35

PHAST Version 2—A Program for Simulating Groundwater Flow, Solute Transport, and Multicomponent Geochemical Reactions

By David L. Parkhurst, Kenneth L. Kipp, and Scott R. Charlton


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The computer program PHAST (PHREEQC And HST3D) simulates multicomponent, reactive solute transport in three-dimensional saturated groundwater flow systems. PHAST is a versatile groundwater flow and solute-transport simulator with capabilities to model a wide range of equilibrium and kinetic geochemical reactions. The flow and transport calculations are based on a modified version of HST3D that is restricted to constant fluid density and constant temperature. The geochemical reactions are simulated with the geochemical model PHREEQC, which is embedded in PHAST. Major enhancements in PHAST Version 2 allow spatial data to be defined in a combination of map and grid coordinate systems, independent of a specific model grid (without node-by-node input). At run time, aquifer properties are interpolated from the spatial data to the model grid; regridding requires only redefinition of the grid without modification of the spatial data.

PHAST is applicable to the study of natural and contaminated groundwater systems at a variety of scales ranging from laboratory experiments to local and regional field scales. PHAST can be used in studies of migration of nutrients, inorganic and organic contaminants, and radionuclides; in projects such as aquifer storage and recovery or engineered remediation; and in investigations of the natural rock/water interactions in aquifers. PHAST is not appropriate for unsaturated-zone flow, multiphase flow, or density-dependent flow.

A variety of boundary conditions are available in PHAST to simulate flow and transport, including specified-head, flux (specified-flux), and leaky (head-dependent) conditions, as well as the special cases of rivers, drains, and wells. Chemical reactions in PHAST include (1) homogeneous equilibria using an ion-association or Pitzer specific interaction thermodynamic model; (2) heterogeneous equilibria between the aqueous solution and minerals, ion exchange sites, surface complexation sites, solid solutions, and gases; and (3) kinetic reactions with rates that are a function of solution composition. The aqueous model (elements, chemical reactions, and equilibrium constants), minerals, exchangers, surfaces, gases, kinetic reactants, and rate expressions may be defined or modified by the user.

A number of options are available to save results of simulations to output files. The data may be saved in three formats: a format suitable for viewing with a text editor; a format suitable for exporting to spreadsheets and postprocessing programs; and in Hierarchical Data Format (HDF), which is a compressed binary format. Data in the HDF file can be visualized on Windows computers with the program Model Viewer and extracted with the utility program PHASTHDF; both programs are distributed with PHAST.

See Report PDF for unabridged abstract.

First posted June 17, 2010

For additional information contact:

Chief, Branch of Regional Research, Central Region
Box 25049, Mail Stop 418
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Parkhurst, D.L., Kipp, K.L., and Charlton, S.R., 2010, PHAST Version 2—A program for simulating groundwater flow, solute transport, and multicomponent geochemical reactions: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 6–A35, 235 p.



Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Running the Simulator

Chapter 3. Thermodynamic Database and Chemistry Data Files

Chapter 4. Flow and Transport Data File

Chapter 5. Output Files

Chapter 6. Examples

Chapter 7. Notation

References Cited

Appendix A. Three-Dimensional Visualization of PHAST Simulation Results

Appendix B. Using PHASTHDF to Extract Data from the HDF Output File

Appendix C. Parallel-Processing Version of PHAST

Appendix D. Theory and Numerical Implementation


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