From Fourier to Darcy, from Carslaw to Theis: the analogies between the subsurface behaviour of water and heat

David Banks
  • David Banks
    School of Engineering, James Watt Building (South) University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom |


The analogy between the behaviour of groundwater in an aquifer and the conductive behaviour of heat in an aestifer is almost perfect. The development of groundwater flow theory has consistently drawn upon thermal analogues to find mathematical solutions: Darcy’s Law is analogous to Fourier’s. Charles Theis drew on Horatio Scott Carslaw’s heat conduction equations to develop his analysis of radial groundwater flow. Ogata and Banks refer to Carslaw and Jaeger’s work on heat diffusion to solve the longitudinal dispersion of solutes in flowing groundwater. The hydrogeologist is thus admirably equipped with the necessary conceptual models, mathematical tools and computer codes to become a practising thermogeologist


General hydrogeology, thermogeology, groundwater hydraulics, history of hydrogeology, heat conduction

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Submitted: 2012-10-12 16:59:09
Published: 2012-12-30 00:00:00
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