A Class of Exact Solutions of the Boussinesq Equation for Horizontal and Sloping Aquifers

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21 Scopus citations


The nonlinear equation of Boussinesq (1877) is a foundational approach for studying groundwater flow through an unconfined aquifer, but solving the full nonlinear version of the Boussinesq equation remains a challenge. Here, we present an exact solution to the full nonlinear Boussinesq equation that not only applies to sloping aquifers but also accounts for source and sink terms such as bedrock seepage, an often significant flux in headwater catchments. This new solution captures the hysteretic relationship (a loop rating curve) between the groundwater flow rate and the water table height, which may be used to provide a more realistic representation of streamflow and groundwater dynamics in hillslopes. In addition, the solution provides an expression where the flow recession varies based on hillslope parameters such as bedrock slope, bedrock seepage, aquifer recharge, plant transpiration, and other factors that vary across landscape types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-778
Number of pages12
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


  • bedrock seepage
  • flow recession
  • groundwater
  • hydrological hysteresis
  • loop rating curve
  • water table


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