A chaotic-dynamical conceptual model to describe fluid flow and contaminant transport in a fractured vadose zone. 1997 progress report and presentations at the annual meeting, Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, December 3--4, 1997
Description: Understanding subsurface flow and transport processes is critical for effective assessment, decision-making, and remediation activities for contaminated sites. However, for fluid flow and contaminant transport through fractured vadose zones, traditional hydrogeological approaches are often found to be inadequate. In this project, the authors examine flow and transport through a fractured vadose zone as a deterministic chaotic dynamical process, and develop a model of it in these terms. Initially, the authors examine separately the geometric model of fractured rock and the flow dynamics model needed to describe chaotic behavior. Ultimately they will put the geometry and flow dynamics together to develop a chaotic-dynamical model of flow and transport in a fractured vadose zone. They investigate water flow and contaminant transport on several scales, ranging from small-scale laboratory experiments in fracture replicas and fractured cores, to field experiments conducted in a single exposed fracture at a basalt outcrop, and finally to a ponded infiltration test using a pond of 7 by 8 m. In the field experiments, they measure the time-variation of water flux, moisture content, and hydraulic head at various locations, as well as the total inflow rate to the subsurface. Such variations reflect the changes in the geometry and physics of water flow that display chaotic behavior, which they try to reconstruct using the data obtained. In the analysis of experimental data, a chaotic model can be used to predict the long-term bounds on fluid flow and transport behavior, known as the attractor of the system, and to examine the limits of short-term predictability within these bounds. This approach is especially well suited to the need for short-term predictions to support remediation decisions and long-term bounding studies. View-graphs from ten presentations made at the annual meeting held December 3--4, 1997 are included in an appendix to this report.
Date: July 1, 1998
Creator: Faybishenko, B.; Doughty, C. & Geller, J.
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