DOI: 10.1111/gwat.13351 ISSN:

MODFLOW as a Configurable Multi‐Model Hydrologic Simulator

Christian D. Langevin, Joseph D. Hughes, Alden M. Provost, Martijn J. Russcher, Sorab Panday
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Water Science and Technology


MODFLOW 6 is the latest in a line of six “core" versions of MODFLOW released by the U.S. Geological Survey. The MODFLOW 6 architecture supports incorporation of additional hydrologic processes, in addition to groundwater flow, and allows interaction between processes. The architecture supports multiple model instances and multiple types of models within a single simulation, a flexible approach to formulating and solving the equations that represent hydrologic processes, and recent advances in interoperability, which allow MODFLOW to be accessed and controlled by external programs. The present version of MODFLOW 6 consolidates popular capabilities available in MODFLOW variants, such as the unstructured grid support in MODFLOW‐USG, the Newton‐Raphson formulation in MODFLOW‐NWT, and the support for partitioned stress boundaries in MODFLOW‐CDSS. The flexible multi‐model capability allows users to configure MODFLOW 6 simulations to represent the local‐grid refinement (LGR) capabilities available in MODFLOW‐LGR, the multi‐species transport capabilities in MT3DMS, and the coupled variable‐density capabilities available in SEAWAT. This paper provides a new, holistic and integrated overview of simulation capabilities made possible by the MODFLOW 6 architecture, and describes how ongoing and future development can take advantage of the program architecture to integrate new capabilities in a way that is minimally invasive and automatically compatible with the existing MODFLOW 6 code.

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