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Academic year
Didactic period
Secondo Semestre

Training objectives

The aim of the course is to provide the basic principles of numerical modelling for geotechnical and hydrogeological problems.
The course is divided into two parts:
1) Numerical Modelling in Engineering Geology (24h)
2) Numerical Modelling in Hydrogeology (24h)


Previous knowledge from courses: Technical Geology, Applied Geology, Hydrogeology

Course programme

Course contents
Introduction to Engineering Geology modelling. Quick review on geotechnical and geomechanical principles and parameters (4 h).
Numerical analysis of: 1) gravitational stress field generated in an elastic and an elastic-plastic material; 2) underground excavation in an elastic and elasto-plastic material; 3) slope stability of an homogeneous slope; 4) slope stability of a rock mass (20h).
Introduction to hydrogeological modelling: Purpose of groundwater modelling (1h)
Types of models and flow equations. Quick review on contaminant transport and solute transport equations (1h).
Conceptual model: conceptualisation of aquifer-aquitard systems; (1h)
Design of numerical model: finite-difference and finite-element solutions of flow problems; steady versus unsteady model; one layer versus multi-layer model; types and lay-out of grids; stress period/time steps (2h)
Steps for the implementation of a numerical model: spatial discretization of the flow domain, initial and boundary conditions, hydrogeological parameters and hydrological stresses, model calibration and validation (4h)
Overview of the main numerical codes and graphical interfaces for hydrogeological modelling (1h). Hydrogeological modelling exercises using the codes MODFLOW, SEAWAT, and MT3DMS and the graphical interface GMS: steady state and transient state flow models, transport models, density dependent models (8h).
Introduction to Geostatistics (30’). Regionalised variables and data exploratory analysis (30’). Experimental Variogram and variogram fitting (1h). Ordinary Kriging (1h). Kriging Exercises (3h)

Didactic methods

The course 'Numerical modelling in Engineering Geology' forecasts 24 hours of teaching divided in 8 hours of frontal lectures and 16 guided tutorial in the labs.
The course 'Numerical Modelling in Hydrogeology' consists in 24 h of teaching divided into 10
hours of theoretical concepts about Numerical Modelling in hydrogeology and 8h of
guided tutorials in the labs; 3h theoretical concepts about Geostatistics and 3h of
guided tutorials in the labs.

Learning assessment procedures

The aim of the exam is to verify at which level the learning objectives previously described have been acquired.
The exam is divided into 2 parts:
1) multiple-choice quiz on both modules contents (A1)
2) numerical modelling exercise on both modules contents (A2)
The final grade results from the average of A1 and A2

Reference texts

- Powerpoint slides
- E.Hoek Practical rock engineering, 2007; freeware al sito
Applied Groundwater Modeling: Simulation of Flow and Advective Transport. Mary P. Anderson, William W. Woessner, Randall J. Hunt. Academic Press, Aug 13, 2015 -
 Technology & Engineering - 630 pages