A Civil Action - The Woburn Toxic Trial > Instructor Materials > 4 - Groundwater Flow > Constructing Potentiometric Surfaces

Constructing Potentiometric Surfaces - Wells G & H Superfund Site, Woburn, MA

E. Scott Bair (Ohio State University) and Terry Lahm (Capital University)


Students use well head measurements from the area surrounding wells G and H to construct potentiometric surfaces and groundwater flow. The exercise involves extrapolating between data points to draw the equipotential lines. Students are also asked to answer a set of questions about the process and the meaning of the results.

Learning Goals

  • Learn how to draw a potentiometric map based on well head data.
  • Interpret the groundwater flow patterns based on well head data and potentiometric maps.

Context for Use

This activity was developed for an introductory level, mock-trial class centered around the Woburn, MA pollution trial. It is also appropriate for an introductory level structural geology or groundwater hydrology class.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Teaching Materials


Students construct two potentiometric maps which are handed in assessment. They also complete a question set asking them to interpret the meaning of elements of the map and draw conclusions.

References and Resources

Chute, N.E. (1959) . Glacial geology of the Mystic Lakes-Fresh Pond area, Massachusetts. U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 8755-531X; B 1061-F, 187-216.