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Geoelectrical evidence of bicontinuum transport in groundwater

January 1, 2007

Bicontinuum models and rate-limited mass transfer (RLMT) explain complex transport behavior (e.g., long tailing and rebound) in heterogeneous geologic media, but experimental verification is problematic because geochemical samples represent the mobile component of the pore space. Here, we present geophysical evidence of RLMT at the field scale during an aquifer-storage and recovery experiment in a fractured limestone aquifer in Charleston, South Carolina. We observe a hysteretic relation between measurements of porefluid conductivity and bulk electrical conductivity; this hysteresis contradicts advective-dispersive transport and the standard petrophysical model relating pore-fluid and bulk conductivity, but can be explained by considering bicontinuum transport models that include first-order RLMT. Using a simple numerical model, we demonstrate that geoelectrical measurements are sensitive to bicontinuum transport and RLMT parameters, which are otherwise difficult to infer from direct, hydrologic measurements.

Publication Year 2007
Title Geoelectrical evidence of bicontinuum transport in groundwater
DOI 10.1029/2007GL030019
Authors K. Singha, Frederick D. Day-Lewis, John W. Lane
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geophysical Research Letters
Index ID 70029837
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Office of Ground Water; Toxic Substances Hydrology Program