Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-427
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-427

  04 Oct 2021

04 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

The Thiem team – Adolf and Günther Thiem, two forefathers of hydrogeology

Georg J. Houben1 and Okke Batelaan2 Georg J. Houben and Okke Batelaan
  • 1Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Hannover, Germany
  • 2National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT), College of Science & Engineering, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia

Abstract. Adolf and Günther Thiem, father and son, left behind a methodological legacy that many current hydrogeologists are probably unaware of. It goes much beyond the Dupuit-Thiem analytical model for pump test analysis, which is connected to their name. Methods, which we use on a day-to-day basis today, such as isopotential maps, tracer tests and vertical wells were amongst the many contributions which the Thiems either developed or improved. Remarkably, this was not done in a university context but rather as a by-product of their practical work designing and building water supply schemes in countries all over Europe. Some of these water works are still active. Both Thiems were also great science communicators. Their contributions were read and applied in many countries, especially in the US, through a personal connection between Günther and O.E. Meinzer, the leading USGS hydrogeologist of the time.

Georg J. Houben and Okke Batelaan

Status: open (until 29 Nov 2021)

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Georg J. Houben and Okke Batelaan

Georg J. Houben and Okke Batelaan

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Short summary
Unbeknownst to most hydrologists, many methods used in groundwater hydrology today go back to work by Adolf and Günther Thiem. Their work goes much beyond the Dupuit-Thiem analytical model for pump tests mentioned in many textbooks. It includes e.g. the development and improvement of isopotential maps, tracer tests and vertical well constructions. An extensive literature and archive research has been conducted to identify how and where the Thiems developed their methods and how they spread.