3D representation of the 15 aquifers in the MONA hydrodynamic model of northern Aquitaine, produced with MARTHE software (2011). © BRGM

MARTHE: Modelling software for groundwater flows

MARTHE has been developed by the BRGM for 3D modelling of flows and mass and energy transfers in hydro-systems. Modelling includes aquifers, rivers and vadose zones.

MARTHE (acronym for Modélisation d'Aquifères avec un maillage Rectangulaire, Transport et HydrodynamiquE) is designed for 2D or 3D modelling of flows and transfers in aquifer systems, including climatic, human influences and possible geochemical reactions.

New in 2016


The following new items are available in the "Documentation" page :

  • New documentation updated on June 1, 2016: 5 new instruction manuals totaling more than 1000 pages.
  • The files corresponding to all the examples in the tutorial are available (53 projects grouped into 20 files).
  • English version of the software.


MARTHE: Modelling software for groundwater flows

  • Model using the MARTHE code of flows in the northern Aquitaine aquifer system, comprising 15 aquifer layers:Saltel and Pédron (2012). © BRGM

  • Model of the Poitou region produced with MARTHE. © BRGM

  • View with the WinMarthe pre-processor of simulated piezometry and pathlines. © BRGM

  • WinMarthe pre-processor: vertical cross-section showing bevelled layers. © BRGM

  • 3D model of the Alsace plain using an irregular tartan grid containing a regular nested grid. © BRGM

  • Complex hydrogeological configurations: a multilayer system extending across an entire region. © BRGM

  • TCE saturation calculated to t = 180 (the colours represent computed saturation). © BRGM

  • Extent of the TCE cloud observed (between glass plates) at t = 184.Kueper experiment.Infiltration of TCE (Tetra-Chloro-Ethylene), which is non  miscible in initially water-saturated heterogeneous sands. © BRGM

  • Diphase simulation of water injection at 4 points in an initially hydrocarbon-satured formation.The colours represent the percentage of water saturation calculated after 1209 days. © BRGM

  • Methane saturation calculated after 8840 days. © BRGM

  • Methane pressure (in m of water) calculated after 8840 days.Diphase simulation of methane storage in an aquifer. © BRGM

  • Simulation of geothermal doublets in the Dogger aquifer (Paris basin). © BRGM

  • pH profile according to distance from the injection point. © BRGM

  • Variation in the volumes of certain minerals in the matrix. Injection of CO2-saturated water into the Dogger aquifer (Paris basin). Radial 2D grid.  Geochemical REACT solver for the LBNL TOUGHREACT code (Berkeley) (MARTHE-TREACT coupling not available outside BRGM). © BRGM

Description of the MARTHE computer code

MARTHE is an application for computing pollutant and energy flows and transport in porous environments (in aquifers) developed at the BRGM. This application, based on the finite volumes method, is a complete code incorporating:

  • single-layer and multi-layer aquifers and 3D,
  • hydrographic networks (rivers, other waterways, drainage),
  • exchanges with the atmosphere (rain, snow, evapotranspiration).

The calculations may also include:

  • mass transfer, for water quality protection,
  • temperature effects,
  • influence of salinity,
  • degradation of pollutants,
  • transfers through the vadose zone,
  • geochemical interactions.

MARTHE: areas of application

MARTHE is designed to model fluid flow and transfer issues in different contexts:

Management of aquifer resources

  • Assessment of water budget components in an aquifer system: rainwater recharge, lateral input from catchment areas, underground circulation and associated flows, year-on-year fluctuations, seasonal storage and release,
  • Hydrodynamic impacts of existing or planned structures: pumping, irrigation, drainage, gravel beds, retention basins,
  • management and optimisation of catchments,
  • studies of the influence of climate variability and predicted climate change impacts,
  • diagnoses of groundwater pollution,


  • Pollutant infiltration into the vadose zone, percolation to the aquifer followed by groundwater migration,
  • simulation of a pollution plume released from a contaminated zone: pathlines, velocities, downstream concentrations.Modelling hydraulic scenarios for confinement or decontamination,
  • impacts of domestic and industrial landfill on groundwaters,
  • studies of underground storage confinement.

Civil engineering and mining

  • dewatering of excavations
  • hydraulic effects of impermeable walls,
  • below-ground worksites (underground, car parks, tunnels),
  • calculation of mine dewatering and corresponding drawdown.


MARTHE software
Direction D3E / GDR
BP 36009
45060 Orléans Cedex 2 (France)

Email: marthe@brgm.fr

BRGM - 3 avenue Claude-Guillemin - BP 36009 45060 Orléans Cedex 2 - France Tel.: +33 (0)2 38 64 34 34