Numerical modeling of water flow below dry salt lakes: Effect of capillarity and viscosity

M. C. Boufadel, M. T. Suidan, A. D. Venosa

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47 Scopus citations


We investigate numerically the effects of capillarity and viscosity on density-dependent flows below dry salt lakes. The numerical model, MARUN (Boufadel, M.C., Suidan, M.T., Venosa, A.D., 1999a. A numerical model for density-and-viscosity-dependent flows in two-dimensional variably-saturated media. J. Contain. Hydrol. 37, 1-20) is used to assess the combined and separate effects of capillarity and concentration-engendered viscosity on the groundwater dynamics of a two-dimensional system simulating a dry lake. We found that accounting for concentration-engendered viscosity effects under saturated water flow conditions gives totally different groundwater dynamics from the case where these effects are neglected. However, concentration-dependent viscosity effects were minor when unsaturated water flow conditions were present. Under variably-saturated flow conditions, capillarity effects gave totally different hydraulics in the porous domain from the saturated flow case; upwelling regions observed under saturated flow conditions were downwelling when capillarity effects were present. A mesh orientation study revealed that density-dependent flows were susceptible to the orientation of the diagonals of the triangular elements. A discussion on the accuracy and the efficiency of the MARUN model in the context of density- and viscosity-dependent flows in two-dimensional variably-saturated media is also provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-74
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 16 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


  • Density-dependent
  • Finite Element
  • Porous media
  • Salinity
  • Viscosity


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