MODFLOW-USG: A Conceptual Modeling Approach Using Visual MODFLOW Flex

May 31, 2015


The course is designed to introduce the participants to the concepts and applications of the MODFLOW-USG code using the Visual MODFLOW Flex interface. MODFLOW-USG is a new version of MODFLOW that uses UnStructured Grids; this is a fundamental shift from the rigid finite difference structured grids used by MODFLOW-2005 and LGR, familiar to many groundwater modelers. There are several differences in modeling approach that should be followed in order best leverage the capabilities of the MODFLOW-USG code. This course will discuss the theory of MODFLOW-USG, the input/output files, and how Visual MODFLOW Flex can be used to build the input files and analyze and interpret the results from a MODFLOW-USG run. This course will also provide a brief overview of theory, concepts, and examples from mod-PATH3DU, a grid-independent particle tracking program for MODFLOW-USG. Attendees can expect a combination of lectures and hands-on exercises that are based on real-world problems.

Registration begins at 8:00 AM and the class runs from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Participants should bring their own laptop computer with the Windows 7 or later operating system.



MODFLOW-USG provides a level of gridding capability that far exceeds what most MODFLOW modelers are familiar with. The first step in creating your unstructured grid is to provide shape inputs for the grid design. These take the form of points (well locations), and polylines and polygons representing boundary conditions. An unstructured grid can then be generated with local refinement around these objects, providing for effective, local-scale representation of your wells, observation points, and hydrological features.

The development of a reliable and accurate groundwater model requires two components - a conceptual model and a numerical model. Why not save time, money, and frustration by creating them both in one place? Visual MODFLOW Flex (VMOD Flex) provides an integrated software environment for conceptual and numerical modeling. The conceptual model is constructed using GIS data objects: surfaces, shapefiles, well logs, etc, in a 2D/3D environment. An unstructured grid can be generated for the model site, using the conceptual objects. Numerical models can be efficiently generated and run in a matter of minutes.

By following a conceptual modeling approach, and having flow boundaries and wells represented as grid independent points, polylines, and polygons, this will dramatically facilitate generation of the unstructured grid and locally refining the grid around these features. Complex geological elements are defined as conceptual volumes, representing pinchouts, discontinuities, and perched aquifers, lenses, etc. These objects can serve as inputs for defining the vertical layers, including generation of sub-layers, and populating the finite volumes with the appropriate parameter values.

Learn how your models can easily evolve and adapt as they become more complex, or if your objectives change. Discover the power of communicating your results effectively with rich 3D graphic visualizations.



All participants will receive a 30-day trial version of Visual MODFLOW Flex software for the course exercises, and for evaluating the software with their own data sets/models afterwards.



Participants should have an understanding of the basics of groundwater modeling and the fundamentals of USGS MODFLOW.



Printed copies of the exercises will be provided.



Sorab Panday, Ph.D. is a Principal Engineer at GSI Environmental with over 26 years of experience in directing, managing, developing, reviewing and troubleshooting flow and transport models for groundwater evaluations and water resource management. As a water resource modeling consultant, has worked on modeling projects spanning a wide range of schedules and budgets, of multiple spatial and temporal scales, complex geological settings, diverse climatic conditions, unique water/contaminant management issues and challenging numerical conditions. Sorab has helped to develop several of the industry‚Äôs state-of-the-art water resource modeling codes and is the lead author on MODFLOW-USG, an unstructured-grid version of MODFLOW released by the USGS. He has published refereed articles in reputed journals, provides review and support to industry publications and associations, and conducts short courses and workshops on water resource and contaminant transport modeling.  


Wayne Hesch, B.Sc. is the Senior Product Champion for Visual MODFLOW, at Waterloo Hydrogeologic. Wayne has completed his Bachelor of Science Degree at University of Waterloo and the Environmental Engineering Program at Conestoga College. Wayne has taught courses on conceptual modeling, groundwater modeling, and water quality data management for more than 10 years, for public and private organizations at venues around the world.


Chris Muffels is a Senior Project Hydrogeologist with S.S. Papadopulos and Assoc. Inc. He has been with the company for over 12 years. His expertise is the application and development of numerical and analytical models for water resource analyses and engineering design. This experience includes interpreting data from hydrogeologic investigations, creation and modification of groundwater flow and transport models and software development. Mr. Muffels is fluent in a variety of programming languages including FORTRAN, C/C++, and JAVA (including Android application development). He is the developer of GENIE, a program written in collaboration with the USGS to manage model runs over the internet for PEST and other programs. He is also the lead developer of mod-PATH3DU, a grid-independent particle tracking program developed by SSP&A for the MODFLOW suite of programs, including MODFLOW-USG.



The course will be held at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO. (Room and building TBA)

All Visitor parking areas will have a pay and display parking meter. When arriving on campus for the first time, look for a parking meter, find a space in that location, pay the meter and display the receipt on your dash. You will find brochures at each of our parking meters that can also help guide you around the campus.



The fee for the short course is $495 by 4PM Mountain Daylight Time, May 15, 2015 ($595 after May 15).  You will be invoiced for the tuition balance. The fee covers instruction, course notes, refreshments, and continuing education units. Lodging and meals are not covered. Payment in full must be received prior to the beginning of the course. The registration fee may be paid by check, VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover or purchase order (US Only).

If cancellation is made before May 15, 2015, tuition will be refunded except for the $100 deposit. Cancellations made after that date will forfeit a $150 processing fee in addition to the $100 deposit. In case of cancellation, the right to course material is forfeited. Substitutions are permitted at any time prior to the start of the course. Please be advised that if the program is cancelled due to insufficient enrollment, Colorado School of Mines will return all course fees, but will not be liable for any other expenses incurred by the prospective attendees.

Click here to register using our secure CASHNET site.


For transportation and lodging information, please visit our MODFLOW and More 2015 website here.



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