Microgravity Measurement of Groundwater Storage Change

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Groundwater is an important source of water for human use, especially in the arid Southwest. Changes in the amount of groundwater stored in an aquifer are typically estimated by observing groundwater-level change in a well and multiplying the observed change by an assumed value of aquifer porosity, which is the void space that contains groundwater in a subsurface rock formation. USGS scientists are leveraging microgravity measurements as a way to calculate aquifer proosity. These measurements capture subsurface changes in mass that are caused by groundwater-level changes in an aquifer.