Continuous time random walk analysis of solute transport in fractured porous media

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The objective of this work is to discuss solute transport phenomena in fractured porous media, where the macroscopic transport of contaminants in the highly permeable interconnected fractures can be strongly affected by solute exchange with the porous rock matrix. We are interested in a wide range of rock types, with matrix hydraulic conductivities varying from almost impermeable (e.g., granites) to somewhat permeable (e.g., porous sandstones). In the first case, molecular diffusion is the only transport process causing the transfer of contaminants between the fractures and the matrix blocks. In the second case, additional solute transfer occurs as a result of ... continued below

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Cortis, Andrea; Cortis, Andrea & Birkholzer, Jens June 1, 2008.

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The objective of this work is to discuss solute transport phenomena in fractured porous media, where the macroscopic transport of contaminants in the highly permeable interconnected fractures can be strongly affected by solute exchange with the porous rock matrix. We are interested in a wide range of rock types, with matrix hydraulic conductivities varying from almost impermeable (e.g., granites) to somewhat permeable (e.g., porous sandstones). In the first case, molecular diffusion is the only transport process causing the transfer of contaminants between the fractures and the matrix blocks. In the second case, additional solute transfer occurs as a result of a combination of advective and dispersive transport mechanisms, with considerable impact on the macroscopic transport behavior. We start our study by conducting numerical tracer experiments employing a discrete (microscopic) representation of fractures and matrix. Using the discrete simulations as a surrogate for the 'correct' transport behavior, we then evaluate the accuracy of macroscopic (continuum) approaches in comparison with the discrete results. However, instead of using dual-continuum models, which are quite often used to account for this type of heterogeneity, we develop a macroscopic model based on the Continuous Time Random Walk (CTRW) framework, which characterizes the interaction between the fractured and porous rock domains by using a probability distribution function of residence times. A parametric study of how CTRW parameters evolve is presented, describing transport as a function of the hydraulic conductivity ratio between fractured and porous domains.

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  • Journal Name: Water Resources Research; Journal Volume: 44

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  • Report No.: LBNL-469E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.1029/2007WR006596 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 934774
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc902580

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  • June 1, 2008

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 30, 2016, 6:21 p.m.

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Cortis, Andrea; Cortis, Andrea & Birkholzer, Jens. Continuous time random walk analysis of solute transport in fractured porous media, article, June 1, 2008; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc902580/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.