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Ground Water. 2006 May-Jun;44(3):444-52.

Cross-borehole flowmeter tests for transient heads in heterogeneous aquifers.

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Géosciences Rennes, UMR CNRS 6118, University of Rennes, Rennes, France.


Cross-borehole flowmeter tests have been proposed as an efficient method to investigate preferential flowpaths in heterogeneous aquifers, which is a major task in the characterization of fractured aquifers. Cross-borehole flowmeter tests are based on the idea that changing the pumping conditions in a given aquifer will modify the hydraulic head distribution in large-scale flowpaths, producing measurable changes in the vertical flow profiles in observation boreholes. However, inversion of flow measurements to derive flowpath geometry and connectivity and to characterize their hydraulic properties is still a subject of research. In this study, we propose a framework for cross-borehole flowmeter test interpretation that is based on a two-scale conceptual model: discrete fractures at the borehole scale and zones of interconnected fractures at the aquifer scale. We propose that the two problems may be solved independently. The first inverse problem consists of estimating the hydraulic head variations that drive the transient borehole flow observed in the cross-borehole flowmeter experiments. The second inverse problem is related to estimating the geometry and hydraulic properties of large-scale flowpaths in the region between pumping and observation wells that are compatible with the head variations deduced from the first problem. To solve the borehole-scale problem, we treat the transient flow data as a series of quasi-steady flow conditions and solve for the hydraulic head changes in individual fractures required to produce these data. The consistency of the method is verified using field experiments performed in a fractured-rock aquifer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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