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ESCI 337
Spring, 2011

Course Syllabus

The online version of this syllabus will be updated several times per week as we move through the semester.  Check 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.)

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 or just after each class.
JAN 11  Course overview.  The hydrologic cycle.  Solving quantitative problems.  Rain barrels and stormwater management.  Read: Chapter 1. JAN 13  Solving quantitative problems; rain barrels continued.   Read: p. 24-47, 55-57.
JAN 18  Homeworks #1 and #2 are due.  Uncertainty in scientific measurement.  What makes water flow? JAN 20  Water budgets and the hydrologic equation.  Water flow: lab explorations.  
JAN 25  Water flow: lab explorations, continued. Homework #3 is due. JAN 27  Water flow: lab explorations, continued.
FEB  1   NEIU is closed due to the blizzard. FEB  3  NEIU is closed due to the blizzard.   
FEB  8  Hydraulic properties of porous materials: porosity, effective porosity, specific yield, specific retention, permeability, hydraulic conductivity.  Read: p. 68-95. Read: p. 68-90.    FEB 10  Hydraulic properties of rocks and sediments, continued.  Water table, vadose zone, capillary fringe, phreatic zone.  Hydraulic head, pressure head, elevation head.  Flow nets.  Read: p. 113-147.   
FEB 15  Hydrostratigraphy: aquifers and aquitards.  Wells and piezometers. Homework #4 is due.   FEB 17  Flow nets and hydraulic head, continued.  EXAM #1 will be distributed near the end of class today. 
FEB 22  Hydraulic gradient.  Flow nets.  FEB 24  Flow nets.  Identifying boundaries to flow systems.  Read: p. 100-108, Chapter 4 (esp. pages 132-138).  Making and interpreting water level maps.  Hydrostratigraphy.    
MAR  1  Hydrogeologic cross sections and maps.   Piezometers.  Read: Chapter 7 and p. 297-300.  Homework #5 is due. MAR  3  Darcy's Law.  Finding well boring data for Illinois.  Plotting well locations.
MAR  8  Work on your hydrogeologic cross section. MAR 10  Using geologic maps.  Drawing a hydrogeologic cross section.  Read: Chapter 7.
MAR 15  Evaluating cross sections.  Glacial deposits.  MAR 17  Conceptual models; ground water modeling.  Designing grids for numerical models.  Read: p. 132-138 and Chapter 13.  Download Dr. Steven Esling's Graphic Groundwater here. 
MAR 22  Spring Break; no class MAR 24  Spring Break; no class
MAR 29  Stresses on aquifers: pumping, recharge, discharge.  Read: Chapter 13.   MAR 31  Hydrostratigraphy and models.
APR  5  Ground water modeling: particle tracking, capture zones/recharge areas.  Your model should run today!  APR  7   EXAM #2
APR 12  Evaluating models; sensitivity analyses. APR 14  Completing your modeling project. 
APR 19  Ground water chemistry.  Intro to ground water contamination and remediation.  Capstone project: introduction.  Find Plume Busters here. APR 21  Modeling project paper is due.  Ground water contamination and remediation, continued. 
APR 26  Capstone project, continued.  Find Plume Busters here. APR 28  Remediation.  Well construction.  Capstone project, continued. 
MAY  3  Exam period: 6:00-7:50 pm.  Capstone project papers 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 or computer, 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 another e-mail service) and must pick up messages at least every few days.  E-mail will be used to make announcements about the course.

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

Homework:  Some homework and 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.

Modeling Project:  In the project, which we will work on for several weeks, 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 homework assignments will deal directly with this project.  The final product of this project 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.

Capstone Project:  In the capstone project, you will act as a consultant in an online simulation of a site with ground water contamination.  You will be given a budget and timeline and will design a remediation program to clean up the aquifer.  Your grade will be based on the degree of remediation you achieve and how well you stick to the budget and schedule, and your written report.  The final product will include a cover letter and consulting report.

Instructor Contact Information

Instructor:  Dr. Laura L. Sanders
E-mail:  This is the fastest and best way to reach me!  L-Sanders [at]
Office hours:
 Tuesday 4:00-5:10 pm, 7:20-8:00 pm
                      Thursday 4:00-5:10 pm, 8:10-8:30 pm
                      Friday 4:20-5:00 pm
Office:  During office hours you can find me in BBH 130 or 132
Phone:  Voicemail may be left for me at 773-442-6051

Evaluation and Grading

Evaluation: 2 exams, weighted equally: 40%
Homework and in-class assignments: 30%
Modeling project paper: 10%
Capstone project: 20%

No extra credit will be given.
Grading scale: 90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, <60% =F

Other Course Policies

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 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 in-class work 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. 

Assessments:  Students must participate in all assessment activities.  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 some class periods, you will assess this, usually anonymously. 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 Indiana University 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 frequently for updates!

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COURSE OUTCOMES AND OBJECTIVES:  What will you take from this course?

Hints for Solving 
Quantitative Problems

Ten Easy Ways to Avoid Math Mistakes

Graphic Groundwater
(Dr. Steve Esling, SIU)




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NEIU Earth Science

 Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University
5500 North Saint Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, USA 60625
© 2011 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated April 28, 2011.