A potentiometric surface is based on
hydraulicprinciples. For an example, we know that two connected storage tanks with one full and one empty will gradually fill/drain to the same level. This is because of atmospheric pressure and gravity. A potentiometric surface is the imaginary line where a given reservoir of fluid will "equalize out to" if allowed to flow. This idea is heavily used in city water supplies - a tall tower containing the water supply has a great enough potentiometric surface to provide flowing water at a decent pressure to the houses it supplies.
Without being too complicated, potentiometric surfaces explain how phenomena like
Artesian wells occur. In geology, when a tilted formation receives water (from rainfall or otherwise), water enters the formation and flows downward. If the bottom of this formation is exposed to the air, this water will flow up and out of the formation in an artesian well because of the force of the water behind it that is also flowing downhill.
* "Earth: Portrait of a Planet; Second edition"; Stephen Marshak, 2005 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc (Page 604-605)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
potentiometric surface — An imaginary surface representing the total static head of ground water and defined by the level to which water will rise in a piezometer . Replaces the term piezometric surface … Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology
Potentiometric dyes — are used to monitor the electrical activity inside cells where it is not possible to insert an electrode, such as the mitochondria. This technology is especially powerful for the study of patterns of activity in complex multicellular preparations … Wikipedia
potentiometric field — As used in karst hydrology, a discontinuous highly irregular surface representing the static ground water head as indicated by the level to which water rises in a selected piezometer. In some piezometers, the water level rise will be greatly… … Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology
piezometric surface — 1. The imaginary surface to which water from a given aquifer will rise under its full static head . 2. Defined by the elevation to which water will rise in artesian wells or wells penetrating confined aquifers . See also… … Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology
divide — 1. A line connecting the highest topographic elevations or ground water crests that separate one drainage basin from another . 2. A ridge in the water table or potentiometric surface from which the ground water represented by that… … Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology
Horowhenua District — Horowhenua is a district on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Unlike many other districts, it has a distinct identity, so much so that The Horowhenua , as it is usually called, is regarded more as distinct region than as part of… … Wikipedia
estavelle — (French.) An intermittent resurgence or exsurgence, active only in wet seasons. May act alternatively as a swallow hole and as a rising according to ground water conditions . Opening in karstic terrane which acts as a discharge spring… … Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology
water table — 1. The top surface of a body of slowly moving ground water that fills the pore spaces within a rock mass. Above it lies the freely draining vadose zone, and below it lies the permanently saturated phreas. In uniform aquifers, such as sandstone … Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology
equipotential line — or surface 1. A contour line on the potentiometric surface along which the pressure head of ground water in the aquifer is the same. Fluid flow is normal to these lines in the direction of decreasing fluid potential . 2. Line (or… … Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology
John Alan Glennon — (born September 24, 1970) is an American geographer and explorer. His work has been mapping and describing caves and geysers.Discoveries and researchCavesIn 1996, Glennon and Jon Jasper discovered an entrance to the Martin Ridge Cave System,… … Wikipedia