Department of Earth Science |Northeastern Illinois University

ESCI 337
Fall, 2005

Course Syllabus

Please note: The online version of this syllabus will be updated several times per week as we move through the semester.  Please check back frequently for updates.

Course Description:  Introduction to the theory and principles of ground water flow as well as streamflow.  Topics include the hydrologic equation, evapotranspiration, well drilling and testing, porosity and permeability, Darcy's law, confined and unconfined aquifers, flow nets, geology of ground water occurrence, water table maps, geophysical exploration methods, well logs, streamflow, and hydrographs (4 credit hours).  (From the NEIU catalog.)

Instructor Contact Information

Outline of Topics
Course Requirements

 Evaluation and Grading

What should you bring
to this course?

Course Outcomes and Objectives (What will you take from this course?)

Working in Teams
Hints for Solving 
Quantitative Problems

Ground water modeling software (Graphic Groundwater, written by Dr. Steve Esling at Southern Illinois University)

Contact Information:

Instructor: Dr. Laura L. Sanders              Office: S-146
Phone:      773/442-6051                        Fax: 773/442-5710                      E-Mail:
Office Hours:   M 8:10-8:40 pm, T 4:00-6:00 pm, W 4:00-5:00 pm, R 8:30-9:00 pm, and by appointment.

Course Prerequisites: Physical Geology (ESCI 211)
             and either College Algebra (MATH 104) or Precalculus Mathematics (MATH 106)
Text:     C.W. Fetter, Applied Hydrogeology, 4th edition, 2001
Course Website:
Earth Science Department Website:

Outline of Topics

v Reading assignments listed here are for the Fetter textbook.
v Click on the date to see a list of objectives for that class period.  These will be updated at least twice weekly, just before the start of each class.

AUG 29  Course overview, working in teams, observing ground water flow.  Hydrologic cycle.  Read: Chapter 1. AUG 31  Lab #1. Wells and water levels.  Solving quantitative problems.  Read: p. 24-42.
SEP 5  Labor Day; no class. SEP 7  Report for Lab #1 is due.  Find the other groups' data and graphs here!  Putting flow model data and well data in context.  Drainage basins.  Topographic maps and drainage basin delineation.  Homework: Assignment #1 is due. 
SEP 12  Analyzing spatial distribution of precipitation data.   Effective uniform depth, Thiessen method.  Estimating map area. Read: p. 43-48, 55-58.   SEP 14  Quiz #1.  Measuring precipitation, evaporation, and stream flow.  Thiessen method, continued.
SEP 19  Lab #2: Hydrographs, interpreting and analyzing stream flow data.  Homework: Assignment #2 is due at the beginning of class today!  SEP 21  Water budgets and the hydrologic equation.
SEP 26 Lab #3: Water flow: lab explorations.  Read: p. 69-81.  Review for exam. SEP 28 EXAM #1.
OCT 3  Lab #4: Water flow: lab explorations, continued. OCT 5  Properties of porous materials: porosity, effective porosity, specific yield, specific retention. 
OCT 10  Lab #5: Measuring hydraulic properties of sediments: porosity, effective porosity, specific yield, specific retention, and hydraulic conductivity.  Darcy's Law.   Read: p. 66-100, 90-93, 104-106.  OCT 12  Hydrostratigraphy.  Hydrogeologic cross sections and maps.  Using geologic maps; ground water modeling. 
OCT 17  Lab #6: The NEIU Darcy tube.  Read: p. 132-138 and Chapter 13. 
OCT 19  Ground water flow.  Water levels; wells; piezometers; hydraulic head; gradient.  Hydraulic head, Darcy's Law, and flow nets.  Read: p. 100-108, Chapter 4 and p. 297-300.   
OCT 24  Review of hydraulic properties and flow concepts.  OCT 26  EXAM #2
OCT 31  Lab #7: Flow nets I.  Read:  Chapter 7.
NOV 2  Flow nets II.
NOV 7  Lab #8:  Flow nets, contd.  Ground water modeling. NOV 9  Flow nets, continued.
NOV 14  Lab #9: Regional ground water flow and ground water models.  Read: Chapter 7.
NOV 16  Hydrostratigraphy and construction of cross sections. 
NOV 21  Lab #10: Hydrostratigraphy and construction of cross sections.  Plotting well locations.   Read: Chapter 13.  Graphic Groundwater home page. NOV 23  Ground water modeling, contd. The flow equation.  Conceptual models; grids for numerical models. 
NOV 28  Lab #11: Ground water modeling, contd. NOV 30  Ground water modeling, continued.
DEC 5  Lab #12: Ground water modeling, continued. 
DEC 7 Ground water modeling, continued.
DEC 12   Review for exam.
DEC 14 Exam #3, 6:00-7:50 pm.  Please note the unusual starting time!  Modeling projects and report due.

Course Requirements

Attendance at all lecture and lab sessions is expected.  Please bring the following to class every day:
    § Your textbook and notebook.
    § A scientific calculator, pencil, eraser, ruler, and a colored pencil (optional)--any color is fine.
    § Optional: when we work with topographic maps, you might find it convenient to use a map scale, or engineer's scale.  These three-sided rulers make measuring distances on topo maps much easier.  If you buy one, be sure to get an engineer's scale (divided into tenths and then subdivided) and not an architect's scale (divided into halves, quarters, eighths, sixteenths, and so on).

E-Mail: Students must maintain a valid e-mail account (either through NEIU or an e-mail service) and must pick up messages at least every 2-3 days.

Exams and Quizzes: Three exams will be given; dates are shown on the outline of topics.  Quizzes given will be announced in advance.

Laboratory Work: Weekly laboratory activities will be described on handouts.  Only certain portions of each lab will be graded, and unless otherwise stated, you should hand in these portions before you leave the lab.  Some lab activities will be done individually, while others will be done in teams.

Homework:  Homework and some labs will be completed and handed in by teams.  Assignments and due dates will be posted on the course outline and on the homework page.  Each paper handed in should list only the names of the students who participated in producing the final product.  Team members should first outline the solutions to problems on their own, and then should work together to complete the solutions.  Only one grade will be assigned per team.  When solving quantitative problems, be sure to use the hints linked to this syllabus.

Project: In the project, which we will work on in teams throughout the semester, you will construct, test, and use a numerical ground water model that will allow you to delineate a wellhead protection area of a community water supply well in Illinois.  Several of the homework assignments and labs will deal directly with this project.  The final paper will be a report describing the geologic and hydrogeologic setting, the ground water model, and the five-year recharge area for the well(s) in the study.

Assessments: Students must participate in all assessment activities ("green sheets").   I want to learn how well certain concepts are getting across and how the class is feeling about the material and the course as we go along.  At the end of each class period, you will assess this, anonymously.  On these “green sheets”, assessment questions will help me find out how well the day’s outcomes were achieved.  This may be done in the form of an ungraded quiz-type question, a concept map, or survey-type questions.  This information will help me to determine the extent to which the course is meeting its goals.  To provide me with the most information so that I can make the course better, I ask that you give me your most thoughtful, honest feedback-- the more, the better.

Academic integrity:  The NEIU policy on academic integrity will be strictly enforced.  A site from the University of Indiana explains and gives examples of plagiarism and provides helpful tips on how to avoid it.

Flexibility: This outline will change as the semester evolves.  Please allow for flexibility in topics and assignments.  Check this page frequently for updates!

Evaluation and Grading

Evaluation:  3 exams, weighted equally: 36%
Laboratory work:   12%
Homework and quizzes: 36%
Project paper:   16%
No extra credit will be given.
Grading scale: 90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, <60% =F

Missing Work

A score of zero points will be assigned for any missing work.
Homework assignments may be turned in late only if approved by the instructor before the original due date/time.  Late homework assignments must be submitted within one week of the original due date/time.
Missed exams may be made up only if approved by the instructor before the class takes the exam.   Missed exams must be made up within one week of the original date/time.
Missed quizzes cannot be made up.
Missed labs may be made up only if they do not involve a physical laboratory set-up, and only if approved by the instructor in advance of the original due date/time.  Laboratory write-ups may be turned in late only if approved by the instructor before the original due date/time.

Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

© 2005 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated December 13, 2005.