Three-dimensional ground-water modeling experiments were done to test the hypothesis that regional ground-water flow is an important component of the water budget in the Glacial Lake Agassiz Peatlands of northern Minnesota. Previous data collected from the Glacial Lake Agassiz Peatlands suggest that regional ground-water flow discharges to these peatlands, maintaining saturation, controlling the peat pore-water chemistry, and driving ecological change. To test this hypothesis, steady-state MODFLOW models were constructed that encompassed an area of 10,160 km2. Data used in this modeling project included surface-water and water-table elevations measured across the study area, digital elevation data, and well logs from scientific test wells and domestic water wells drilled in the study area. Numerical simulations indicate that the Itasca Moraine, located to the south of the peatland, acts as a recharge area for regional ground-water flow. Ground water recharged at the Itasca Moraine did not discharge to the Red Lake Peatlands, but rather was intercepted by the Red Lakes or adjacent rivers. Simulations suggest that ground-water flow within the peatlands consists of local-flow systems with streamlines that are less than 10 km long and that ground water from distant recharge areas does not play a prominent role in the hydrology of these peatlands. Ground-water flow reversals previously observed in the Red Lake Peatlands are either the result of interactions between local and intermediate-scale flow systems or the transient release of water stored in glacial sediments when the water-table is lowered.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Nigel Roulet and an anonymous reviewer for their comments and suggestions to improve the manuscript. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation.
Copyright 2007 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Ground water