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Book review:

  • Manual of Applied Field Hydrogeology

  • On the shelf
    On the Web

    Book reviews
    Manual of Applied Field Hydrogeology by Willis D. Weight and John L. Sonderegger. McGraw-Hill (2001), ISBN 0-07-069639-X, Hardcover, $79.95. (Phone: 800-352-3566)

    David Bednar

    The Manual of Applied Field Hydrogeology covers a wide variety of topics for helping the hydrogeologist understand groundwater flow dynamics. As its preface states, the book “is useful for the practicing hydrogeologist to be able to read up on a topic in field hydrogeology without having to wade through hundreds of pages.” The authors have performed this task remarkably well.

    The Manual of Applied Field Hydrogeology should be required reading for every professional entering the field. The authors presented the material as seen through the eyes of a senior hydrogeologist mentoring a new employee. The book stresses that errors do occur in the field and provides ways to minimize errors. Additionally, the authors include examples from their own experiences that provide a “real world” flavor to the book.

    The beginning of the first chapter, Field Hydrogeology, introduces the reader to the hydrologic cycle, details the approach for conducting a water budget analysis, and identifies numerous sources of hydrogeologic information needed to determine site geologic and hydrogeologic characteristics.

    Chapter 2, The Geology of Hydrogeology, “is a reference on geologic topics and how they are specifically applied to hydrogeology.” This includes the geologic properties of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks; geologic structures caused by folding, faulting or tilting of bedrock; karst topography and groundwater flow within karst; and a short discussion on epikarst, paleokarst and fieldwork in karst areas.

    Chapter 6 emphasizes the importance of understanding groundwater and surface water interactions. Understanding these interactions is crucial to understanding the complex nature of groundwater flow in fluvial plains, which helps in conducting water-resource management and watershed assessments and restoration. An example of a mass balance approach is presented that is used to account for mixing of groundwater and surface water based on water chemistry.

    Water Chemistry Sampling and Results is covered in Chapter 7. This summary provides the reader with guidance on how to collect groundwater samples and water quality measurements correctly. Other noteworthy items include discussions on evaluating laboratory results, guidance on the use of field equipment, and insight on groundwater flow direction based on water chemistry.

    Chapter 8 provides detailed information on Drilling and Well Completion. The chapter begins with an indispensable but short discussion on getting along with drillers. Without a good relationship with your driller, a project can seem to last forever, especially in very cold weather.

    Chapter 12 describes the vadose zone. The reader, Weight and Sonderegger say, must “understand the distinction between the vadose and saturated zones, and the strengths and weaknesses of vadose-zone monitoring.” This soil zone has received considerable attention in past studies due to its limiting factor for recharge, because it contains stored water used by plants, and because it is the most accessible horizon and easiest to instrument.

    Although no book is all-inclusive, two areas of the book, I believe, could have been expanded to provide professionals entering the field of karst hydrology.

    First, the section about karst in Chapter 2 provides a concise discussion on karst effects. Adding a brief description of other types of karst settings and a discussion on discrete and diffuse recharge zones would have been beneficial.

    Second, the authors could have referenced The Ozark Underground Laboratory’s Groundwater Tracing Handbook by Thomas Aley (1999) and Tracing Technique in Geohydrology by Kass (1998) as being comprehensive sources on water tracing in surface water and groundwater.

    Bednar is a Senior Environmental Scientist for Michael Baker Jr., Inc. in Shreveport, La.

    On the shelf

    Air-Sea Interaction: Laws and Mechanisms by G.T. Csanady. Cambridge University Press (2001). 239 p. ISBN 0-521-79680-6. Illus. Paperback, $34.95.

    Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences edited by Raymond Jeanloz, Arden L. Albee, and Kevin C. Burke. Annual Reviews (2001). Volume 29, 2001. 616 p. ISBN 0-824-32-0298. Illus. Hardcover, $75.

    Astronomy and Earth Science by J. Michael T. Thompson. Cambridge University Press (2001). 237 p. ISBN 0-521-80537-6. Illus. Paperback, $24.95.

    Catalogue of Meteorites by Monica M. Grady. Cambridge University Press (2000). Fifth Edition. 689 p. ISBN 0-521-66303-2. Hardcover and CD-ROM, $150.

    Holding Back the Sea by Christopher Hallowell. Harper Collins Publishers (2001). 265 p. ISBN 0-06-019446-4. Illus. Hardcover, $26.

    Tsunami: The Underrated Hazard by Edward Bryant. Cambridge University Press (2001). 350 p. ISBN 0-521-77799-X. Illus. Paperback, $27.95.


    U.S. Geological Survey

    I-2619. NEW MEXICO. Geologic map of the Tularosa Mountains 30’ x 60’ quadrangle, Catron County, New Mexico, compiled by J.C. Ratte. Prepared in cooperation with the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources. 2001. Scale 1:100,000. One color sheet accompanied by 13 pages of text. $7.

    I-2674. NEW MEXICO. Geologic map of the Tularosa Mountains 30’ x 60’ quadrangle, Catron County, New Mexico by B.R. Johnson and G.L. Raines. Prepared in cooperation with the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources. 2001. Scale 1:100,000. One color sheet accompanied by 11 pages of text. $7.

    I-2713. MONTANA and IDAHO. Map of normal faults and extensional folds in the Tendoy Mountains and Beaverhead Range, southwest Montana and eastern Idaho by S.U. Janecke, J.J. Blankenau, C.J. VanDenburg and B.S. VanGosen. 2001. Scale 1:100,000. One color sheet. Available free at:

    MF-2364. ARIZONA. Geologic map of the House Rock quadrangle, Coconino County, northern Arizona by G.H. Billingsley, J.L. Wellmeyer, and D.L. Block. 2001. Scale 1:24,000. One color sheet. Available free at:

    MF-2366. ARIZONA. Geologic map of the Cane quadrangle, Coconino County, northern Arizona by G.H. Billingsley and J.L. Wellmeyer. 2001. Scale 1:24,000. One color sheet. Available free at:

    MF-2367. ARIZONA. Geologic map of the House Rock Spring quadrangle, Coconino County, northern Arizona by G.H. Billingsley and H.M. Hampton. 2001. Scale 1:24,000. One color sheet. Available free at:

    To order USGS maps: contact USGS Information Services, P.O. Box 25286, Denver, CO 80225. Phone: 1-888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747).

    Peter Lyttle compiles the Maps section and is acting coordinator for the USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program.

    On the Web
    The Wyoming Oil and Gas Resource Mapper is a printable, GIS-style, interactive map of Wyoming. The map includes the usual cities and roads, and also irrigated agricultural land, golf courses, precious metal deposits, geothermal energy, oil and gas wells, faults, bedrock geology, and limestone quarries. Be warned though. The site is a bit unwieldy. The map takes about 30 seconds to redraw itself between each modification, and some colors are hard to see against the background. Still, if you’ve got a fast Internet connection, a good monitor and an interest in Wyoming, it’s a fun site.
    This is a site created along with a summer 1998 PBS television series on natural disasters. It is divided into three sections: tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanoes. Each section gives a brief overview followed by links to specific event information and clips of disasters-in-action — Quicktime is required. The site sometimes overdoses on verbal hype (“tsunamis: waves of destruction”) but makes up for it in the close-up pictures of erupting volcanoes and earthquake damage and the informative earthquake maps and diagrams of plate motions at work. Put your kid at the monitor and let her loose.
    Select a day of the year and this site tells you what major earthquakes happened on that day. When I typed in my birthday, I got the New Madrid, MO quake — a 7.9.
    Last month the United States Geological Survey launched the National Water Information System (NWISWeb), a site containing 100 years of archival and real-time streamflow data. The USGS has been providing water data on the Web for several years, but the new system is meant to improve information transfer and help users integrate it with other data: historical and real-time water-quality, groundwater levels and precipitation.  At 1.5 million surface-water and groundwater sites ranging from wells to rivers, the USGS maintains instruments that continuously record physical and chemical characteristics including water level, flow, pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen. Uses for this information include forecasting floods and droughts; flood control; evaluation of water quality and supplies; monitoring the possibility of hydroelectric power; and safely fishing, canoeing or kayaking. You will have better luck with NWISWeb when looking for particular information instead of casually surfing. Start your search by specifying a data type and location (the nation, a state, a town). Then choose a data format: graphs, tables or downloadable files. You can also create your own bookmarks when you want specific information again and again.

    Emily D. Johnson

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