Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The demand for good quality water is rapidly increasing as the result of intensified agricultural practices and modern industry. At present fresh water supplies are adequate to meet the demand in most areas of the country. However, if present trends continue, the need for fresh water will increase faster than the development of freshwater resources. Surface water and ground water comprise the two main forms of fresh water. To date the greatest emphasis has been placed. on the development of surface water reserves although much larger quantities of fresh water are present in the form of ground water. In glaciated areas, water may be present in sand and gravel deposits. These ground water supplies, called aquifers, are often of useable quality and the water can be extracted by conventional pumping techniques. The development of these ground water supplies has progressed slowly since traditional mapping techniques are expensive and time consuming. A mapping method presently used involves the drilling of a series of test wells. Since this process is expensive and time consuming, detailed explorations have not been conducted in many areas. A new geophysical exploration technique called thermal prospecting has recently been proposed. This method is based on the much higher heat capacity of water-saturated material compared to a similar dry material. Water-saturated material in the form of an aquifer will act as a heat sink in the summer and as a heat source in the winter. This temperature deviation is called a thermal anomaly. Thermal anomalies have been measured at a depth of 50 cm for several different locations of known aquifers. The maximum thermal anomaly observed at each site varied from 1°C to 3°C. Myers has reported detecting thermal patterns on the land surface using air-borne thermal remote sensors. Correlations of the temperature differences with the presence of known aquifers have been made and the results indicate that the cooler regions can be associated with the presence of an aquifer. The surface thermal patterns, however, cannot be detected under all conditions. Since these conditions are based on a limited amount of data, no conclusive evidence has been presented. The purpose of this study is to theoretically investigate the relationship between the surface thermal anomaly as detected by Myers and the subsurface anomaly as measured by Cartwright. Selected environmental factors will be varied to determine their effect on the magnitude of the surface thermal anomaly.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Heat -- Transmission
Heat -- Conduction



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University