Karstbase Bibliography Database
Karstbase Bibliography Database
Heterogeneity is a salient feature of every natural geological formation. In the past decades a large body of literature has focused on the effects of heterogeneity on flow and transport problems. These works have substantially improved the understanding of flow and transport phenomena but still fail to characterize many of the important features of an aquifer. Among them, preferential flows and solute paths, connectivity between two points of an aquifer, and interpretation of hydraulic and tracer tests in heterogeneous media are crucial points that need to be properly assessed to obtain accurate model predictions. In this context, the aim of this thesis is twofold:
· to improve the understanding of the effects of heterogeneity on flow and transport phenomena
· to provide new tools for characterizing aquifer heterogeneity
First, we start by theoretically and numerically examine the relationship between two indicators of flow and transport connectivity. The flow connectivity indicator used here is based on the time elapsed for hydraulic response in a pumping test (e.g., the storage coefficient estimated by the Cooper-Jacob method, Sest). Regarding transport, we select the estimated porosity from the observed breakthrough curve (Φ est) in a forced-gradient tracer test. Our results allow explaining the poor correlation between these two indicators, already observed numerically by Knudby and Carrera (2005).
Second, a geostatistical framework has been developed to delineate connectivity patterns using a limited and sparse number of measurements. The methodology allows conditioning the results to three types of data measured over different scales, namely: (a) travel times of convergent tracer tests, ta, (b) estimates of the storage coefficient from pumping tests interpreted using the Cooper-a Jacob method, S est, and (c) measurements of transmissivity point values, T. The ability of the methodology to properly delineate capture zones is assessed through estimations (i.e. ordinary cokriging) and sequential gaussian simulations based on different sets of measurements.
Third, a novel methodology for the interpretation of pumping tests in leaky aquifer systems, referred to as the double inflection point (DIP) method, is presented. The real advantage of the DIP method comes when it is applied with all the existing methods independently to a test in a heterogeneous aquifer. In this case each method yields parameter values that are weighted differently, and thus each method provides different information about the heterogeneity distribution. In particular, the combination of the DIP method and Hantush method is shown to lead to the identification of contrasts between the local transmissivity in the vicinity of the well and the equivalent transmissivity of the perturbed aquifer volume.
Fourth, the meaning of the hydraulic parameters estimated from pumping test performed in leaky aquifers is assessed numerically within a Monte Carlo framework. A synthetic pumping test is interpreted using three existing methods. The resulting estimated parameters are shown to be space dependent and vary with the interpretation method, since each method gives different emphasis to different parts of the timedrawdown data. Finally, we show that by combining the parameter estimates obtained from the different analysis procedures, information about the heterogeneity of the leaky aquifer system may be inferred.
Fifth, an unsaturated highly heterogeneous waste rock pile is modeled using a simple linear transfer function (TF) model. The calibration of the parametric model provides information on the characteristic time of the flow through the matrix and on the fraction of the water that, within each section, is channeled through the macropores. An analysis of the influence of the scale on the results is also provided showing that at large scales the behavior of the system tends to that of an equivalent matrix reservoir masking the effects of preferential flow.