Application of ERT, Saline Tracer and Numerical Studies to Delineate Preferential Paths in Fractured Granites

Sreeparvathy, Vijay and K B V N, Phanindra and Peddinti, Srinivasa Rao and P S L, Sarada (2018) Application of ERT, Saline Tracer and Numerical Studies to Delineate Preferential Paths in Fractured Granites. Groundwater, 57 (1). pp. 126-139. ISSN 0017-467X

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Accurate quantification of in situ heterogeneity and flow processes through fractured geologic media remains elusive for hydrogeologists due to the complexity in fracture characterization and its multiscale behavior. In this research, we demonstrated the efficacy of tracer-electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) experiments combined with numerical simulations to characterize heterogeneity and delineate preferential flow paths in a fractured granite aquifer. A series of natural gradient saline tracer experiments were conducted from a depth window of 18 to 22 m in an injection well (IW) located inside the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad campus. Tracer migration was monitored in a time-lapse mode using two cross-sectional surface ERT profiles placed in the direction of flow gradient. ERT data quality was improved by considering stacking, reciprocal measurements, resolution indicators, and geophysical logs. Dynamic changes in subsurface electrical properties inferred via resistivity anomalies were used to highlight preferential flow paths of the study area. Temporal changes in electrical resistivity and tracer concentration were monitored along the vertical in an observation well located at 48 m to the east of the IW. ERT-derived tracer breakthrough curves were in agreement with geochemical sample measurements. Fracture geometry and hydraulic properties derived from ERT and pumping tests were further used to evaluate two mathematical conceptualizations that are relevant to fractured aquifers. Results of numerical analysis conclude that dual continuum model that combines matrix and fracture systems through a flow exchange term has outperformed equivalent continuum model in reproducing tracer concentrations at the monitoring wells (evident by a decrease in RMSE from 199 to 65 mg/L). A sensitivity analysis on model simulations conclude that spatial variability in hydraulic conductivity, local-scale dispersion, and flow exchange at fracture-matrix interface have a profound effect on model simulations.

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Item Type: Article
Subjects: Civil Engineering
Divisions: Department of Civil Engineering
Depositing User: Team Library
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2019 11:55
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2019 11:55
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