The effects of regional groundwater flow in the thermal regime of a basin

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Numerical solutions of the equations of fluid flow and heat transport are used to quantify the effects of groundwater flow on the subsurface thermal regime. Simulations are carried out for a vertical section through a basin with a distance of 40 km separating the regional topographic high and low. Emphasis is placed on understanding the conditions under which advective effects significantly perturb the thermal field. The transition from conduction-dominated to advection-dominated thermal regimes is sharp and depends primarily on the topographic configuration of the water table, the magnitude and spatial distribution of permeability, hydraulic anisotropy and depth of active flow. ... continued below

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Smith, Leslie & Chapman, David S. September 1, 1982.

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Description

Numerical solutions of the equations of fluid flow and heat transport are used to quantify the effects of groundwater flow on the subsurface thermal regime. Simulations are carried out for a vertical section through a basin with a distance of 40 km separating the regional topographic high and low. Emphasis is placed on understanding the conditions under which advective effects significantly perturb the thermal field. The transition from conduction-dominated to advection-dominated thermal regimes is sharp and depends primarily on the topographic configuration of the water table, the magnitude and spatial distribution of permeability, hydraulic anisotropy and depth of active flow. Deviations of surface heat flow from the background heat flux are a measurable effect of groundwater flow and depend on the same factors. Our results show that from zero to almost one hundred per cent of the section may have surface heat flow significantly different from background heat flow, depending upon the nature of the hydrogeologic environment. A limited spatial variability in a distributed set of heat flow measurements and/or linear temperature-depth profiles does not ensure that surface heat flow measurements are not disturbed. The results of our simulations suggest that knowledge of the complete environment of a site, including the water table configuration and subsurface flow system, combined with more closely spaced heat flow measurements may be necessary to unravel the true background heat flux in active flow regions.

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  • Report No.: DOE/ID/12079-65
  • Grant Number: AC07-80ID12079
  • DOI: 10.2172/891556 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 891556
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc882415

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  • September 1, 1982

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Dec. 5, 2016, 2:46 p.m.

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Smith, Leslie & Chapman, David S. The effects of regional groundwater flow in the thermal regime of a basin, report, September 1, 1982; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc882415/: accessed September 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.