Hydraulic Tomography: 3D Hydraulic Conductivity, Fracture Network, and Connectivity in Mudstone
We present the first demonstration of hydraulic tomography (HT) to estimate the three-dimensional (3D) hydraulic conductivity (K) distribution of a fractured aquifer at high-resolution field scale (HRFS), including the fracture network and connectivity through it. We invert drawdown data collected from packer-isolated borehole intervals during 42 pumping tests in a wellfield at the former Naval Air Warfare Center, West Trenton, New Jersey, in the Newark Basin. Five additional tests were reserved for a quality check of HT results. We used an equivalent porous medium forward model and geostatistical inversion to estimate 3D K at high resolution (K blocks <1 m3), using no strict assumptions about K variability or fracture statistics. The resulting 3D K estimate ranges from approximately 0.1 (highest-K fractures) to approximately 10−13 m/s (unfractured mudstone). Important estimated features include: (1) a highly fractured zone (HFZ) consisting of a sequence of high-K bedding-plane fractures; (2) a low-K zone that disrupts the HFZ; (3) several secondary fractures of limited extent; and (4) regions of very low-K rock matrix. The 3D K estimate explains complex drawdown behavior observed in the field. Drawdown tracing and particle tracking simulations reveal a 3D fracture network within the estimated K distribution, and connectivity routes through the network. Model fit is best in the shallower part of the wellfield, with high density of observations and tests. The capabilities of HT demonstrated for 3D fractured aquifer characterization at HRFS may support improved in situ remediation for contaminant source zones, and applications in mining, repository assessment, or geotechnical engineering.
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Appendix S1. Supporting details of hydraulic tomography field testing at NAWC.
Appendix S2. Supporting details of forward and inverse modeling.
Appendix S3. Supporting details for visualizations of results.
Table S1. Local coordinates of wells 83-89 at NAWC, and wellhead elevations.
Table S2. Depths of packed-off intervals of wells 83-89.
Figure S1. Photographs of packers and wellhead configurations.
Figure S2. Packer configurations, optical and acoustic televiewer logs, and caliper logs.
Figure S3. Domain, boundary conditions, and discretization for models of pumping tests.
Figure S4. Steady-state model for particle tracking simulations in the west to east direction.
Figure S5. Drawdown isosurfaces and K distribution in the up-dip portion of the HFZ.
Figure S6. Network and connectivity visualization using drawdown tracing.
Figure S7. Drawdown isosurfaces during pumping test 83-H.
Figure S8. Simulated and observed drawdown curves at intervals of wells 83 and 87 for five tests used in the inversion.
Figure S9. Simulated and observed drawdown curves at intervals of well 83 for the five tests withheld from the inversion.
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