Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Vadose Zone Hydrology

GeoStudio provides comprehensive tools for analyzing coupled water and heat transfer within the vadose zone.

The analytical challenge

Understanding flow within the vadose zone is often challenging due to complex processes and interactions occurring near the ground surface given vegetation and climatic conditions. This information is often required to obtain climate-controlled pore pressures on natural slopes for stability analyses, design soil covers for mine or municipal wastes, and determine net infiltration and transpiration from agricultural land. To do so, coupled water, vapor, and heat transport is required.

The GeoStudio solution

GeoStudio’s multi-physics solver seamlessly couples mass and heat transport processes required for these problems. Various levels of complexity may be simulated, with more complex analyses including root water uptake and snowmelt, in addition to evaporation, surface ponding and runoff. Results from a vadose zone analysis can be linked with slope stability or contaminant transport models for a comprehensive solution.

Solution Examples

Explore documented examples of how GeoStudio can effectively analyze vadose zone hydrology.

Download GeoStudio to view GSZ files

Design of a Soil Vapor Barrier

Capillary covers are often used to restrict gas release from waste materials. Design of soil vapor barriers requires information on infiltration through the cover. The SEEP/W land-climate interaction boundary condition determines water transfers within a cover layer based on the inputted climate and vegetation data. CTRAN/W then uses the resulting water distribution to simulate gas transfer by hydrodynamic dispersion in both the free and dissolved phases.

Download the GeoStudio data files
Read the analysis details

Snow Accumulation and Melt

The SEEP/W land-climate interaction boundary condition models the water balance at the ground surface, and can be used to determine snow accumulation and melt. The water balance and corresponding net infiltration includes snow melt as an input, in these cases.

Download the GeoStudio data files
Read the analysis details

Transpiration by Root Water Uptake

The land-climate interaction boundary condition calculates root water extraction rates in accordance with potential evapotranspiration, which is climate dependent, the condition of the vegetation, and the availability of water.

Download the GeoStudio data files
Read the analysis details

Actual Evaporation

Actual evaporation rates are calculated in GeoStudio based on the relative humidity within the soil, which is controlled by temperature and matric suction. These are computed given climate conditions defined in the land-climate interaction and surface energy balance boundary conditions.

Download the GeoStudio data files
Read the analysis details

Related Products

GeoStudio's integrated products work in combination to provide effective analysis of vadose zone hydrology.



Finite element analysis of groundwater flow in saturated / unsaturated porous media.

Learn More



Finite element analysis of heat transfer and phase change in porous media.

Learn More


Finite element analysis of solute and gas transport in porous media.

Learn More


Finite element analysis of air transfer in mine waste and other porous media.

Learn More

Explore all solutions

GeoStudio's integrated products enable you to work across a broad range of engineering use cases.