Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2009

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

You-Kuan Zhang

First Committee Member

E.A. Bettis III

Second Committee Member

Frank Weirich

Third Committee Member

Kung-Sik Chan

Fourth Committee Member

Richard Schultz


In a shallow aquifer underlain by low permeable material, groundwater recharge (R), discharge to rivers or stream as baseflow (BF), and discharge to the atmosphere as evapotranspiration (ET) are related by a simple water balance equation, R - ET - BF = ΔS. Gathering information about these processes is difficult since these processes are hidden from view, yet these processes commingle with one another at the water table surface. The main objective of this dissertation project was to evaluate how main hydrological processes can be inferred from high-resolution water table measurements collected at various sites in Walnut Creek watershed located in southern Iowa. Water table monitoring data available for analysis in the project included three main sites, covering 2573 days between 1996 to 2008 and 61,714 individual water level monitoring points. Water table fluctuations were used to estimate R across an upland-floodplain chronosequence and plant ET under three riparian land covers. High resolution hydraulic head measurements were analyzed with spectral methods to evaluate potential surface and groundwater interaction. Detailed sedimentology and water table monitoring were combined to develop a conceptual model of nitrate leaching to in the near-stream riparian zone of an incised channel. Additional soil moisture and precipitation monitoring are recommended for improved application of methods to other sites. Results from this dissertation indicate that there is a considerable amount of information about key hydrological processes to be gained by measuring water table levels at a high frequency.


biogeochemistry, evapotranspiration, groundwater, recharge, spectral analysis, water table


ix, 172 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 158-172).


Copyright 2009 Keith Edwin Schilling

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Geology Commons