Home » Optional short courses » Introduction to Mountain Hydrogeology (#322)

Introduction to Mountain Hydrogeology (#322)

May 4, 2014

Instructor: Andrew H. Manning, Ph.D.

CEUs: 0.875

This course is SOLD OUT.

This one-day class will provide an overview of our current understanding of the processes and principles governing groundwater flow in mountainous terrain, enabling you to more effectively investigate, remediate, and manage water resources in mountains and intermountain basins.

A growing awareness of the importance of mountain groundwater as a resource, particularly in arid and semiarid regions, has driven a surge in mountain hydrogeologic research over the past decade. Mountain aquifers are vital for storing mountain precipitation, sustaining streamflows, and transmitting groundwater to heavily utilized aquifers in adjacent basins, as well as providing water for expanding mountain communities and resorts. Increasing pressures on mountain aquifers are driving a need to better understand these often complex and poorly characterized flow systems.

In this course you will be introduced to both established and recently developed concepts related to mountain groundwater flow. Flow on various scales will be discussed, from hillslope- to watershed- to regional-scale (interbasin flow). You will learn about primary topographic, geologic, and climatic controls on recharge, flowpaths, and discharge. Effective methods of investigation will be reviewed, with an emphasis on environmental tracer applications. Potential impacts of climate change on the quantity and quality of mountain groundwater will also be addressed.

The course will consist of a morning classroom session and an afternoon field trip. On the field trip we will visit Turkey Creek in the nearby Front Range foothills, a mountain watershed containing extensive recent home development relying almost exclusively on groundwater. A recent USGS-led investigation into available water resources in the watershed will be discussed, and data collection sites for the study will be visited. The field trip will provide some real-life context and examples of concepts covered in the morning classroom session.

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Develop better conceptual models of mountain aquifers
  • Design more effective site investigations for mountain sites
  • Perform better characterization studies of intermountain basin aquifers
  • Recognize existing major knowledge gaps in mountain hydrogeology
  • Understand potential effects of climate change on mountain aquifers.

Who should attend?

  • ​Hydrogeologists
  • Geologists
  • Engineers
  • Project managers
  • Regulators.​​​


7:30 a.m. ​Registration
8:00 a.m. Introduction: History and context
8:30 a.m. ​Watershed-scale flow

  • Recharge processes
  • Aquifer characteristics
  • Discharge processes
  • Investigation methods
10:00 a.m. ​Break
​10:15 a.m. ​Regional-scale flow

  • Controlling factors
  • Mountain-block recharge
  • Deep circulation
  • Investigation methods
​11:30 a.m. ​Potential climate change effects

  • Recharge, flow, and discharge
  • Water quality
12:00 p.m. ​Lunch (on your own)
​1:00 p.m. ​Field trip to Turkey Creek Watershed
6:00 p.m. ​Course adjourns