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

Georg J. Houben, Okke Batelaan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


Adolf and Günther Thiem, father and son, left behind a methodological legacy that many current hydrogeologists are probably unaware of. It goes far 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 of designing and building water supply schemes in countries all over Europe. Some of these waterworks are still active. Both Thiems were also great science communicators. Their contributions were read and applied in many countries, especially in the USA, through a personal connection between Günther Thiem and Oscar Edward Meinzer, the leading United States Geological Survey (USGS) hydrogeologist of the time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4055-4091
Number of pages37
JournalHydrology and Earth System Sciences
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2022


  • Adolf Thiem
  • Günther Thiem
  • hydrogeology
  • water supply
  • science communication


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