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Selected Readings Accessible to Undergraduate Hydrogeology Students

Journal articles are an excellent resource to improve students' understanding and ability to communicate in hydrogeology. Below is a list of primary literature that is understandable at the undergraduate level.

If you have an article to contribute to this list, please let us know.



Models in the Courtroom
Bair, E.S., 2001
Chapter 5, in Model Validation, Perspectives in Hydrological Science, M.G. Anderson and P.D. Bates, eds., John W. Wiley & Sons Ltd., West Sussex, England, 57-76.

This article provides background information about the societal and technical aspects of the famous 'A Civil Action' trial and proposes that the steps involved in constructing a predictive groundwater model are similar to the steps involved in the scientific method and the path that a civil lawsuit takes through the U.S. legal system. The article contains excerpts from the trial testimony of several expert witnesses, a cross section, potentiometric map, and aerial photograph of the Woburn, Massachusetts area. It also contains a brief history of the foundations of the U.S. legal system, quotes from a federal judge about the role of scientists in our legal system and quotes stating why the objectives of science and trials have to be different. more info

Remediation of the Wells G and H Superfund Site, Woburn, Massachusetts
Bair, E.S., and Metheny, M.A., 2002
Ground Water, vol. 40, no 6, p. 657-668.

This article gives a detailed description of the sources and distributions of TCE and PCE at the Woburn Wells G & H Superfund Site. It also describes the various types of remediation systems being used to recover the contaminants, the hydrogeologic reasons why different systems are used in different hydrogeologic settings, and presents tables and graphs of the amounts of recovered contaminants. It is a good compliment to other Woburn information because it shows what is being done to cleanup the aquifer, how much it costs, and how successful, or not, it has been. more info

Regional Ground-Water Flow Concepts in the United States: Historical Perspective
Bredehoeft, J.D., and Hanshaw, B.B., 1982
Geological Society of America Special paper 189, p. 297-316

This paper is a review of regional flow concepts. It's an excellent resource for starting a term-paper or project. more info

Regional flow in the Dakota aquifer: a study of the role of confining layers
Bredehoeft, J.D., Neuzil, C.E., and Milly, P.C., 1983
U.S. Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 2237

This is a great paper describing the role of confining layers in regional flow systems using the historic work of N.H Darton in the Dakota Aquifer as a background to modern concepts and interpretations. This article would be useful for initiating a student project or class project on regional flow concepts. more info A case control study of childhood leukemia in Woburn, Massachusetts: the relationship between leukemia incidence and exposure to drinking water
Costas, K., Knorr, R.S., and Condon, S.K., 2002
Science of the Total Environment, 300, 23-35.

This article provides an excellent review of previous health studies in Woburn, summarizes the number and distribution of childhood leukemias across the city, and presents the hypothesis and statistical analysis that contraction of childhood leukemia was more positively associated with children whose mothers were exposed during gestation. It also has a good reference list. more info

An analysis of contaminated well water and health effects in Woburn
Lagakos, S.W., Wessen, B.J., and Zelen, M. 1986
Journal of the American Statistical Association, vol. 81, no. 395, p. 583-614.

At its time, this was the most comprehensive and most detailed statistical study of the health problems in Woburn. It is discussed in the book 'A Civil Action'. It provides a good historic overview of the problems and a sound statistical analysis of possible associations. more info

The Science Behind 'A Civil Action' - The Hydrogeology of the Aberjona River, Wetland and Woburn Wells G and H
Metheny, M.A., and Bair, E.S., 2001
The Science Behind A Civil Action - The Hydrogeology of the Aberjona River, Wetland and Woburn Wells G and H, West, D.P. and R.H. Bailey, eds., in Guidebook for the Geological Field Trips in New England, 2001 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, p. D1-D25, Boston, Massachusetts.

This is a GSA guidebook contribution giving the field trip log and descriptions of the stops made on the 2001 trip. It contains graphs, maps, data, and information about the science presented in the famous 'A Civil Action' trial and additional data and analyses made as part of Maura Metheny's M.S. and Ph.D. research at Ohio State. more info

Area of influence and zone of contribution to Superfund-site Wells G and H, Woburn, Massachusetts
Myette, C.F., Olympio, J., Johnson, D.G., 1987
U. S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations Report 87-4100, 21 p.

This is a must publication for anyone using 'A Civil Action' or the Woburn Wells G & H Superfund Site as a case study or for an assignment. The geological descriptions are good, although the cross sections are general. The report contains large plates of the contoured water-level data from the famous aquifer test performed in December 1985 and January 1986, just before the famous trial. The plates are excellent examples for class. The report also tabulates the measured streamflow gain and loss data collected by the USGS. These are great data for demonstrating the role of wells in inducing infiltration from a river and wetland. more info

Contaminated verdict
Pacelle, M.
American Lawyer, December 1986

This is a great summary of the famous 'A Civil Action' trial that includes interviews with some of the jurors. It also describes the difficulties each lawyer had in presenting his/her case to the jury. It is good complementary reading to the 'A Civil Action' book, which is written through the eyes of the plaintiffs' attorney. more info

Guidelines for evaluating ground-water flow models
Reilly, T.E. and Harbaugh, A.W., 2004

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5038
This report provides some guidelines and discussion on how to evaluate complex ground-water flow models used in the investigation of ground-water systems. The important aspects to be included in a modeling report are described. This report could be used as an outline for a M.S. thesis or Ph.D. dissertation or research project that uses ground-water modeling. more info

Two-Hundred Years of Hydrogeology in the United States
Rosenshein, J.S.; Moore, J.E.; Lohman, S.W.; Chase, E.B. editors, 1986
U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 86-480, 110p.

This is a great reference book for anyone interested in the historical figures and concepts in hydrogeology. The report contains biographic information, old photographs, and describes the scientific contributions of such USGS luminaries as John Wesley Powell, Clarence Rivers King, T.C. Chamberlin, G.K. Gilbert, N.H. Darton, Walter Mendenhall, and O.E. Meinzer. It also contains concise descriptions of the history of hydrogeologic thought from 1700s to the 1950s. more info


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