Coupled modeling of groundwater flow solute transport, chemical reactions and microbial processes in the 'SP' island

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The Redox Zone Experiment was carried out at the Aespoe HRL in order to study the redox behavior and the hydrochemistry of an isolated vertical fracture zone disturbed by the excavation of an access tunnel. Overall results and interpretation of the Redox Zone Project were reported by /Banwart et al, 1995/. Later, /Banwart et al, 1999/ presented a summary of the hydrochemistry of the Redox Zone Experiment. Coupled groundwater flow and reactive transport models of this experiment were carried out by /Molinero, 2000/ who proposed a revised conceptual model for the hydrogeology of the Redox Zone Experiment which could explain ... continued below

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121 pages

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Samper, Javier; Molinero, Jorg; Changbing, Yang & Zhang, Guoxiang December 1, 2003.

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Description

The Redox Zone Experiment was carried out at the Aespoe HRL in order to study the redox behavior and the hydrochemistry of an isolated vertical fracture zone disturbed by the excavation of an access tunnel. Overall results and interpretation of the Redox Zone Project were reported by /Banwart et al, 1995/. Later, /Banwart et al, 1999/ presented a summary of the hydrochemistry of the Redox Zone Experiment. Coupled groundwater flow and reactive transport models of this experiment were carried out by /Molinero, 2000/ who proposed a revised conceptual model for the hydrogeology of the Redox Zone Experiment which could explain simultaneously measured drawdown and salinity data. The numerical model was found useful to understand the natural system. Several conclusions were drawn about the redox conditions of recharge waters, cation exchange capacity of the fracture zone and the role of mineral phases such as pyrite, calcite, hematite and goethite. This model could reproduce the measured trends of dissolved species, except for bicarbonate and sulfate which are affected by microbially-mediated processes. In order to explore the role of microbial processes, a coupled numerical model has been constructed which accounts for water flow, reactive transport and microbial processes. The results of this model is presented in this report. This model accounts for groundwater flow and reactive transport in a manner similar to that of /Molinero, 2000/ and extends the preliminary microbial model of /Zhang, 2001/ by accounting for microbially-driven organic matter fermentation and organic matter oxidation. This updated microbial model considers simultaneously the fermentation of particulate organic matter by yeast and the oxidation of dissolved organic matter, a product of fermentation. Dissolved organic matter is produced by yeast and serves also as a substrate for iron-reducing bacteria. Model results reproduce the observed increase in bicarbonate and sulfate concentration, thus adding additional evidence for the possibility of organic matter oxidation as the main source of bicarbonate. Model results indicate that pH and Eh are relatively stable. The dissolution-precipitation trends of hematite, pyrite and calcite also coincide with those indicated by the conceptual model. A thorough sensitivity analysis has been performed for the most relevant microbial parameters as well as for initial and boundary POC and DOC concentrations. The results of such analysis indicate that computed concentrations of bicarbonate, sulfate and DOC are sensitive to most of the microbial parameters, including specific growth rates, half-saturation constants, proportionality coefficients and yield coefficients. Model results, however, are less sensitive to the yield coefficient of DOC to iron-reducer bacteria. The sensitivity analysis indicates that changes in fermentation microbial parameters affect the growth of the iron-reducer, thus confirming the interconnection of both microbial processes. Computed concentrations of bicarbonate and sulfate are found to be sensitive to changes in the initial concentration of POC and the boundary concentration of DOC, but they lack sensitivity to the initial concentration of DOC and the boundary concentration of POC. The explanation for such result is related to the fact that POC has a low mobility due to its large molecular weight. DOC, however, can migrate downwards. Although a coupled hydro-bio-geochemical 1-D model can reproduce the observed ''unexpected'' increase of concentrations of bicarbonate and sulfate at a depth of 70 m, further modeling work is required in order to obtain a similar conclusion under the more realistic two dimensional conditions of the fracture zone.

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121 pages

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OSTI as DE00836051

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Dec 2003

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  • Report No.: LBNL--55914
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • DOI: 10.2172/836051 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 836051
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc782756

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  • December 1, 2003

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • April 4, 2016, 12:33 p.m.

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Samper, Javier; Molinero, Jorg; Changbing, Yang & Zhang, Guoxiang. Coupled modeling of groundwater flow solute transport, chemical reactions and microbial processes in the 'SP' island, report, December 1, 2003; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc782756/: accessed July 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.