A mathematical model of subsurface flow is used to complement a field study of snowmelt runoff in a small upstream source area in the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed near Boise, Idaho. Field measurements from an instrumented cross section of this small watershed show that the mechanism of streamflow generation is subsurface delivery of meltwater over limited distances through shallow high‐permeability low‐porosity formations of altered and fractured basalt. The mathematical model provides a two‐dimensional transient saturated‐unsaturated analysis of the subsurface flow at the field site. It proved to be a valuable aid to a unified interpretation of the field measurements. For mathematical models that consist of boundary value problems with boundary conditions that are time and space dependent, the boundary condition sensitivity can thwart the rational calibration‐validation procedure. This, together with the more serious limitations of data availability, funds for data acquisition, and computer capacity, precludes the imminent use of fully deterministic hydrologic response models on a regional scale.
Water Resources Research – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 1974
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