New empirical relationship between grain size distribution and hydraulic conductivity for ephemeral streambed sediments

Jorge Rosas, Khan Jadoon, Thomas M. Missimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Grain size distribution, porosity, and hydraulic conductivity were determined for 39 sediment samples collected from ephemeral streams (wadis) in western Saudi Arabia. The measured hydraulic conductivity values were then compared to values calculated using 20 different empirical equations commonly used to estimate hydraulic conductivity from grain size analyses. It was found that most of the hydraulic conductivity values estimated from the empirical equations correlated very poorly with the measured hydraulic conductivity values. Modifications of the empirical equations, including changes to special coefficients and statistical offsets, were made to produce modified equations that considerably improved the hydraulic conductivity estimates from grain size data for wadi sediments. The Chapuis, Hazen, Kozeny, Slichter, Terzaghi, and Barr equations produced the best correlations, but still had relatively high predictive errors. The Chapius equation was modified for wadi sediments by incorporating mud percentage and the standard deviation (in phi units) into a new equation that reduced the predicted hydraulic conductivity error to ±14.1 m/day. The equation is best applied to ephemeral stream samples that have hydraulic conductive values greater than 2 m/day.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1303-1315
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 19 2014

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The funding for this research was provided by the Water Desalination and Reuse Center and faculty discretionary funding by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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