Unsaturated Zone Hydrology


Martin Hendriks

Marc Bierkens






Majid Hassanizadeh

Yoshi Wada







Course code:                  GEO4-4417
ECTS Credits:                 7.5
Level M:                          Master
Language of instruction: English

Dr Martin R. Hendriks                            (m.r.hendriks at uu.nl)
Professor Marc F.P. Bierkens                (m.f.p.bierkens at uu.nl)
Professor Majid (S.M.) Hassanizadeh    (s.m.hassanizadeh at uu.nl)
Yoshihide Wada MSc                             (y.wada at uu.nl)

Teaching period:  2 (November-January)
Time slot:              C (MON-afternoon; THU-morning)

Course objectives
This course covers the theory and principles of soil physics, soil moisture storage, unsaturated flow and transport, matric flow, infiltration, preferential flow and evaporation, the determination of soil physical parameters, soil moisture dynamics, the use of state-of-the-art 1D and 2D unsaturated zone models and a critical evaluation of unsaturated flow theories. After completing the course, the student has in-depth knowledge of these topics.

Course contents

  • Soil water
  • Environmental soil physics
  • Unsaturated flow and transport
  • Ecohydrology: the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum
  • Determination of soil physical parameters
  • Soil water flow modelling using Hydrus-2D
  • Advanced flow and transport in the unsaturated zone

Course material

  • Hendriks, M.R. (2010). Introduction to Physical Hydrology. Oxford University Press.
  • Hillel, D. (2004). Introduction to Environmental Soil Physics. Elsevier Academic              Press.
  • Kutilek, M and Nielsen, D.R. (1994). Soil Hydrology. Catena Verlag.
  • Tindall, J.A., Kunkel, J.R., and Anderson, D.E. (1998). Unsaturated Zone Hydrology for Scientists and Engineers. Prentice Hall.

Modes of instruction
Lectures, practicals/tutorials, computer practicals; home assignments; exercises; technical report writing

mid-term exam (40%); final exam (60%)

Entry requirements
Knowledge of groundwater hydrology (either BSc level GEO2-4203 Physical Hydrology or MSc level GEO4-1434 Principles of groundwater flow)