The water table is a fundamental concept in hydrogeology. In standard hydrologic and geotechnical practice, it is the elevation to which water will fill a hole if the borehole is drilled into the top of the shallowest water-bearing zone. As Hubbert (1940) has shown, this definition of the water table corresponds to a surface on which fluid pressure is atmospheric, which is a definition that implies nothing about saturation. Many textbooks take note of this but also point out that a zone above a water table may be saturated with water at subatmospheric pressure because of capillarity (e.g., Davis and...

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