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Porosity and pore size distribution in a sedimentary rock: Implications for the distribution of chlorinated solvents

August 1, 2017

Characterizing properties of the rock matrix that control retention and release of chlorinated solvents is essential in evaluating the extent of contamination and the application of remediation technologies in fractured rock. Core samples from seven closely spaced boreholes in a mudstone subject to trichloroethene (TCE) contamination were analyzed using Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry to investigate porosity and pore size distribution as a function of mudstone characteristics, and depth and lateral extent in the aquifer; organic carbon content was also evaluated to identify the potential for adsorption. Porosity and retardation factor varied over two orders of magnitude, with the largest porosities and largest retardation factors associated with carbon-rich mudstone layers. Larger porosities were also measured in the shallow rock that has been subject to enhanced groundwater flow. Porosity also varied over more than an order of magnitude in spatially continuous mudstone layers. The analyses of the rock cores indicated that the largest pore diameters may be accessible to entry of the nonaqueous form of TCE. Although the porosity associated with the largest pore diameters is small (~ 0.1%), that volume of TCE can significantly affect the total TCE that is retained in the rock matrix. The dimensions of the largest pore diameters may also be accessible to microbes responsible for reductive dechlorination; however, the small percentage of the pore space that can accommodate microbes may limit the extent of reductive dechlorination in the rock matrix.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2017
Title Porosity and pore size distribution in a sedimentary rock: Implications for the distribution of chlorinated solvents
DOI 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2017.06.006
Authors Allen M. Shapiro, Chrsitopher E. Evans, Erin C. Hayes
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Contaminant Hydrology
Series Number
Index ID 70189985
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Research Program - Eastern Branch

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