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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That anisotropic is the property of aquifer systems displaying different hydrological properties in different directions [16]. see also anisotropy; anisotropic mass.?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for three-dimensional (Keyword) returned 66 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 66
Thermal aspects of the East Midlands aquifer system, 1987, Wilson N. P. , Luheshi M. N. ,
A case study of a heat flow anomaly in the E Midlands of England is reported. The anomaly has been suggested to be an effect of water movement at depth within the E Midlands basin, with recharge to the Lower Carboniferous limestones in their outcrop, eastward movement and ascent of water up a steep faulted anticline at Eakring where the heat flow measurements were made. Numerical modelling of heat and fluid flow has been undertaken for a section running from the Peak District through Eakring to the coast. The results indicate that, although an anomaly is expected for reasonable values of hydrological parameters, its magnitude is less than that observed. The geological structure at Eakring is such that three-dimensional flow is likely to be important, and this could easily account for the discrepancy between the modelling results and the observations. The regional water flow regime has other effects on heat flow, notably the depression of heat flow above the Sherwood Sandstone aquifer

VARIOUS APPROACHES FOR FLOW SIMULATIONS IN A KARST - APPLICATION TO ROSPO MARE FIELD (ITALY), 1994, Corre B,
Rospo Mare field is located in the Adriatic Sea, 20 km of the Abruzzes coast, at an average depth of 80 m. The reservoir is a karst which is essentially conductive; yet unlike a conventional porous medium, it cannot be simulated by the usual tools and techniques of reservoir simulation. Therefore, several approaches were used to describe the flow mechanism during the production period in greater detail. The first approach consisted of generating three-dimensional images which were constrained by both petrophysical and geological factors and then, using up-scaling techniques, obtaining the equivalent permeabilities (scalar or tensorial) of grid blocks located in different zones within the karst. This approach shows that within the infiltration zone it is possible, whatever the scale, to find an equivalent homogeneous porous medium; on the other hand, within the epikarst this equivalent medium does not exist below pluridecametric dimensions. Thus it is impossible to study the sweeping mechanism on a small scale, so we must use a deterministic model which describes the network of pipes in the compact matrix, in which a waterflood is simulated by means of a conform finite-element model. This constituted the second approach. The third and final approach consisted of inventing a system of equations to analytically solve the pressure field in a network of vertical pipes which are intersected by a production drain and submitted to a strong bottom water-drive. This model allows us to simulate the water-oil contact rise within the reservoir and study the flows depending on the constraints applied to the production well. It appears that cross flows occur in the pipes even during the production period

OCCURRENCE OF HYPOGENIC CAVES IN A KARST REGION - EXAMPLES FROM CENTRAL ITALY, 1995, Galdenzi S, Menichetti M,
The caves of the Umbria and Marche regions in central Italy are made up of three-dimensional maze systems that display different general morphologies due to the various geological and structural contexts. At the same time, the internal morphologies of the passages, galleries, and shafts present some similarity, with solutional galleries characterized by cupolas and blind pits, anastamotic passages, roof pendants, and phreatic passages situated at different levels. Some of these caves are still active, as is the case for Frassassi Gorge, Parrano Gorge, and Acquasanta Terme, with galleries that reach the phreatic zone, where there is a rising of highly mineralized water, rich in hydrosulfydric acid, and with erosion of limestone walls and the formation of gypsum. Elsewhere there are fossil caves, such as Monte Cucco and Pozzi della Piana, where large speleothems of gypsum are present 500 m or more above the regional water table. In all of these important karst systems it is possible to recognize basal input points through fracture and intergranular porosity networks at the base of the oxidizing zone in the core of the anticline, where mineralized water rises up from the Triassic evaporitic layers in small hydrogeological circuits. Different underground morphologies can derive from the presence of a water table related to an external stream or from the confined setting of the carbonate rocks, underlying low permeable sedimentary cover, where artesian conditions can occur

CHEMICAL EVOLUTION OF GROUNDWATER NEAR A SINKHOLE LAKE, NORTHERN FLORIDA .1. FLOW PATTERNS, AGE OF GROUNDWATER, AND INFLUENCE OF LAKE WATER LEAKAGE, 1995, Katz B. G. , Lee T. M. , Plummer L. N. , Busenberg E. ,
Leakage from sinkhole lakes significantly influences recharge to the Upper Floridan aquifer in poorly confined sediments in northern Florida. Environmental isotopes (oxygen 18, deuterium, and tritium), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs: CFC-11, CCl3F; CFC-12, CCl2F2; and CFC-113, C2Cl3F3), and solute tracers were used to investigate groundwater flow patterns near Lake Barco, a seepage lake in a mantled karst setting in northern Florida. Stable isotope data indicated that the groundwater downgradient from the lake contained 11-67% lake water leakage, with a limit of detection of lake water in groundwater of 4.3%. The mixing fractions of lake water leakage, which passed through organic-rich sediments in the lake bottom, were directly proportional to the observed methane concentrations and increased with depth in the groundwater flow system. In aerobic groundwater upgradient from Lake Barco, CFC-modeled recharge dates ranged from 1987 near the water table to the mid 1970s for water collected at a depth of 30 m below the water table. CFC-modeled recharge dates (based on CFC-12) for anaerobic groundwater downgradient from the lake ranged from the late 1950s to the mid 1970s and were consistent with tritium data. CFC-modeled recharge dates based on CFC-11 indicated preferential microbial degradation in anoxic waters. Vertical hydraulic conductivities, calculated using CFC-12 modeled recharge dates and Darcy's law, were 0.17, 0.033, and 0.019 mid for the surficial aquifer, intermediate confining unit, and lake sediments, respectively. These conductivities agreed closely with those used in the calibration of a three-dimensional groundwater flow model for transient and steady state flow conditions

Structure et comportement hydraulique des aquifers karstiques, DSc thesis, 1996, Jeannin, P. Y.

This thesis aims to provide a better knowledge of karst flow systems, from a functional point of view (behaviour with time), as well as from a structural one (behaviour in space). The first part of the thesis deals with the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst systems, and the second part with the geometry of karstic networks, which is a strong conditioning factor for the hydrodynamic behaviour.
Many models have been developed in the past for describing the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst hydrogeological systems. They usually aim to provide a tool to extrapolate, in time and/or space, some characteristics of the flow fields, which can only be measured at a few points. Such models often provide a new understanding of the systems, beyond what can be observed directly in the field. Only special field measurements can verify such hypotheses based on numerical models. This is an significant part of this work. For this purpose, two experimental sites have been equipped and measured: Bure site or Milandrine, Ajoie, Switzerland, and Holloch site, Muotathal, Schwyz, Switzerland. These sites gave us this opportunity of simultaneously observe hydrodynamic parameters within the conduit network and, in drillholes, the "low permeability volumes" (LPV) surrounding the conduits.
These observations clearly show the existence of a flow circulation across the low permeability volumes. This flow may represent about 50% of the infiltrated water in the Bure test-field. The epikarst appears to play an important role into the allotment of the infiltrated waters: Part of the infiltrated water is stored at the bottom of the epikarst and slowly flows through the low permeability volumes (LPV) contributing to base flow. When infiltration is significant enough the other part of the water exceeds the storage capacity and flows quickly into the conduit network (quick flow).
For the phreatic zone, observations and models show that the following scheme is adequate to describe the flow behaviour: a network of high permeability conduits, of tow volume, leading to the spring, is surrounded by a large volume of low permeability fissured rock (LPV), which is hydraulically connected to the conduits. Due to the strong difference in hydraulic conductivity between conduits and LPV, hydraulic heads and their variations in time and space are strongly heterogeneous. This makes the use of piezometric maps in karst very questionable.
Flow in LPV can be considered as similar to flow in fractured rocks (laminar flow within joints and joints intersections). At a catchment scale, they can be effectively considered as an equivalent porous media with a hydraulic conductivity of about 10-6 to 10-7 m/s.
Flow in conduits is turbulent and loss of head has to be calculated with appropriate formulas, if wanting any quantitative results. Our observations permitted us to determine the turbulent hydraulic conductivity of some simple karst conduits (k', turbulent flow), which ranges from 0.2 to 11 m/s. Examples also show that the structure of the conduit network plays a significant role on the spatial distribution of hydraulic heads. Particularity hydraulic transmissivity of the aquifer varies with respect to hydrological conditions, because of the presence of overflow conduits located within the epiphreatic zone. This makes the relation between head and discharge not quadratic as would be expected from a (too) simple model (with only one single conduit). The model applied to the downstream part of Holloch is a good illustration of this phenomena.
The flow velocity strongly varies along the length of karst conduits, as shown by tracer experiments. Also, changes in the conduit cross-section produce changes in the (tow velocity profile. Such heterogeneous flow-field plays a significant role in the shape of the breakthrough curves of tracer experiments. It is empirically demonstrated that conduit enlargements induce retardation of the breakthrough curve. If there are several enlargements one after the other, an increase of the apparent dispersivity will result, although no diffusion with the rock matrix or immobile water is present. This produces a scale effect (increase of the apparent dispersivity with observation scale). Such observations can easily be simulated by deterministic and/or black box models.
The structure of karst conduit networks, especially within the phreatic zone, plays an important role not only on the spatial distribution of the hydraulic heads in the conduits themselves, but in the LPV as well. Study of the network geometry is therefore useful for assessing the shape of the flow systems. We further suggest that any hydrogeological study aiming to assess the major characteristics of a flow system should start with a preliminary estimation of the conduit network geometry. Theories and examples presented show that the geometry of karst conduits mainly depends on boundary conditions and the permeability field at the initial stage of the karst genesis. The most significant boundary conditions are: the geometry of the impervious boundaries, infiltration and exfiltration conditions (spring). The initial permeability field is mainly determined by discontinuities (fractures and bedding planes). Today's knowledge allows us to approximate the geometry of a karst network by studying these parameters (impervious boundaries, infiltration, exfiltration, discontinuity field). Analogs and recently developed numerical models help to qualitatively evaluate the sensitivity of the geometry to these parameters. Within the near future, new numerical tools will be developed and will help more closely to address this difficult problem. This development will only be possible if speleological networks can be sufficiently explored and used to calibrate models. Images provided by speleologists to date are and will for a long time be the only data which can adequately portray the conduit networks in karst systems. This is helpful to hydrogeologists. The reason that we present the example of the Lake Thun karst system is that it illustrates the geometry of such conduits networks. Unfortunately, these networks are three-dimensional and their visualisation on paper (2 dimensions) is very restrictive, when compared to more effective 3-D views we can create with computers. As an alternative to deterministic models of speleogenesis, fractal and/or random walk models could be employed.


Karst landform development in a three-dimensional theoretical model, 1997, Ahnert F. , Williams P. W.

Sheet flow caves of Kilauea Caldera, Hawaii County, Hawaii., 1998, Halliday William R.
Terminal lobes of sheet flows of pahoehoe lava sometimes form three-dimensional nests, initially separated by partitions consisting of accreted 'skins" of each lobe. Melting breaks down these partitions, forming a uniform flow unit. In Kilauea Caldera we have found and mapped sizable drained cavities in low-slope sheet flows. Their general pattern includes three-dimensional nests, with partially melted septa evident in some examples. Christmas Cave is the most extensive found to date, with 632 meters surveyed on two levels. It is located at the lower end of an inflated sheet flow tongue which underwent local deflation as a result of drainage through the cave after its parameters were partially fixed. Small conduit remnants persist in its boundary ridges. The major part of the cave consists of wide, low nestled chambers. Meltdown of such partitions is one of the few emplacement mechanisms of thermal erosion which may not involve any mechanical element. Additional caves in this caldera are being identified and studied.

Structure et comportement hydraulique des aquifers karstiques, DSc. Thesis, faculte des Sciences de l'Universite de Neuchatel., 1998, Jeannin Py.
This thesis aims to provide a better knowledge of karst flow systems, from a functional point of view (behaviour with time), as well as from a structural one (behaviour in space). The first part of the thesis deals with the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst systems, and the second part with the geometry of karstic networks, which is a strong conditioning factor for the hydrodynamic behaviour. Many models have been developed in the past for describing the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst hydrogeological systems. They usually aim to provide a tool to extrapolate, in time and/or space, some characteristics of the flow fields, which can only be measured at a few points. Such models often provide a new understanding of the systems, beyond what can be observed directly in the field. Only special field measurements can verify such hypotheses based on numerical models. This is an significant part of this work. For this purpose, two experimental sites have been equipped and measured: Bure site or Milandrine, Ajoie, Switzerland, and Holloch site, Muotathal, Schwyz, Switzerland. These sites gave us this opportunity of simultaneously observe hydrodynamic parameters within the conduit network and, in drillholes, the "low permeability volumes" (LPV) surrounding the conduits. These observations clearly show the existence of a flow circulation across the low permeability volumes. This flow may represent about 50% of the infiltrated water in the Bure test-field. The epikarst appears to play an important role into the allotment of the infiltrated waters: Part of the infiltrated water is stored at the bottom of the epikarst and slowly flows through the low permeability volumes (LPV) contributing to base flow. When infiltration is significant enough the other part of the water exceeds the storage capacity and flows quickly into the conduit network (quick flow). For the phreatic zone, observations and models show that the following scheme is adequate to describe the flow behaviour: a network of high permeability conduits, of tow volume, leading to the spring, is surrounded by a large volume of low permeability fissured rock (LPV), which is hydraulically connected to the conduits. Due to the strong difference in hydraulic conductivity between conduits and LPV, hydraulic heads and their variations in time and space are strongly heterogeneous. This makes the use of piezometric maps in karst very questionable. Flow in LPV can be considered as similar to flow in fractured rocks (laminar flow within joints and joints intersections). At a catchment scale, they can be effectively considered as an equivalent porous media with a hydraulic conductivity of about 10-6 to 10-7 m/s. Flow in conduits is turbulent and loss of head has to be calculated with appropriate formulas, if wanting any quantitative results. Our observations permitted us to determine the turbulent hydraulic conductivity of some simple karst conduits (k',turbulent flow), which ranges from 0.2 to 11 m/s. Examples also show that the structure of the conduit network plays a significant role on the spatial distribution of hydraulic heads. Particularity hydraulic transmissivity of the aquifer varies with respect to hydrological conditions, because of the presence of overflow conduits located within the epiphreatic zone. This makes the relation between head and discharge not quadratic as would be expected from a (too) simple model (with only one single conduit). The model applied to the downstream part of Holloch is a good illustration of this phenomena. The flow velocity strongly varies along the length of karst conduits, as shown by tracer experiments. Also, changes in the conduit cross-section produce changes in the (tow velocity profile. Such heterogeneous flow-field plays a significant role in the shape of the breakthrough curves of tracer experiments. It is empirically demonstrated that conduit enlargements induce retardation of the breakthrough curve. If there are several enlargements one after the other, an increase of the apparent dispersivity will result, although no diffusion with the rock matrix or immobile water is present. This produces a scale effect (increase of the apparent dispersivity with observation scale). Such observations can easily be simulated by deterministic and/or black box models. The structure of karst conduit networks, especially within the phreatic zone, plays an important role not only on the spatial distribution of the hydraulic heads in the conduits themselves, but in the LPV as well. Study of the network geometry is therefore useful for assessing the shape of the flow systems. We further suggest that any hydrogeological study aiming to assess the major characteristics of a flow system should start with a preliminary estimation of the conduit network geometry. Theories and examples presented show that the geometry of karst conduits mainly depends on boundary conditions and the permeability field at the initial stage of the karst genesis. The most significant boundary conditions are: the geometry of the impervious boundaries, infiltration and exfiltration conditions (spring). The initial permeability field is mainly determined by discontinuities (fractures and bedding planes). Today's knowledge allows us to approximate the geometry of a karst network by studying these parameters (impervious boundaries, infiltration, exfiltration, discontinuity field). Analogs and recently developed numerical models help to qualitatively evaluate the sensitivity of the geometry to these parameters. Within the near future, new numerical tools will be developed and will help more closely to address this difficult problem. This development will only be possible if speleological networks can be sufficiently explored and used to calibrate models. Images provided by speleologists to date are and will for a long time be the only data which can adequately portray the conduit networks in karst systems. This is helpful to hydrogeologists. The reason that we present the example of the Lake Thun karst system is that it illustrates the geometry of such conduits networks. Unfortunately, these networks are three-dimensional and their visualisation on paper (2 dimensions) is very restrictive, when compared to more effective 3-D views we can create with computers. As an alternative to deterministic models of speleogenesis, fractal and/or random walk models could be employed.

Linear and nonlinear input/output models for karstic springflow and flood prediction at different time scales, 1999, Labat D. , Ababou R. , Mangin A. ,
Karstic formations function as three-dimensional (3D) hydrological basins, with both surface and subsurface flows through fissures, natural conduits, underground streams and reservoirs. The main characteristic of karstic formations is their significant 3D physical heterogeneity at all scales, from fine fissuration to large holes and conduits. This leads to dynamic and temporal variability, e.g, highly variable flow rates, due to several concurrent flow regimes with several distinct response times. The temporal hydrologic response of karstic basins is studied here from an input/output, systems analysis viewpoint. The hydraulic behaviour of the basins is approached via the relationship between hydrometeorological inputs and outputs. These processes are represented and modeled as random, self-correlated and cross-correlated, stationary time processes. More precisely, for each site-specific case presented here, the input process is the total rainfall on the basin and the output process is the discharge rate at the outlet of the basin (karstic spring). In the absence of other data, these time processes embody all the available information concerning a given karstic basin. In this paper, we first present a brief discussion of the physical structure of karstic systems. Then, we formulate linear and nonlinear models, i.e. functional relations between rainfall and runoff, and methods for identifying the kernel and coefficients of the functionals (deterministic vs. statistical; error minimisation vs. polynomial projection). These are based mostly on Volterra first order (linear) or second order (nonlinear) convolution. In addition, a new nonlinear threshold model is developed, based on the frequency distribution of interannual mean daily runoff. Finally, the different models and identification methods are applied to two karstic watersheds in the french Pyrenees mountains, using long sequences of rainfall and spring outflow data at two different sampling rates (daily and semi-hourly). The accuracy of nonlinear and linear rainfall-runoff models is tested at three time scales: long interannual scale (20 years of daily data), medium or seasonal scale (3 months of semi-hourly data), and short scale or 'flood scale' (2 days of semi-hourly data). The model predictions are analysed in terms of global statistical accuracy and in terms of accuracy with respect to high flow events (floods)

On predicting contaminant transport in carbonate terrains: Behavior and prediction, 1999, Annable W. K , Sudicky E. A.
A three-dimensional numerical model was used to quantify the fate of conservative transport in carbonate terrainsNumerical flow and transport experiments were conducted in proto-conduit scale limestone terrains (conduits less than 10cm) which determined that a priori information on the 'spill' and/or 'tracer injection location' and discharge locations provided little insight in characterizing the complexity of the internal labyrinth of interconnected conduitsScaling, aside from the characterization of the geologic media, was one of the most limiting factors in quantifying recharge tracers or contaminant distributionHowever, if sufficient numbers of discharge locations (springs) are known, the extent of downstream contaminant migration can be characterized

Perspectives in karst hydrogeology and cavern genesis, 1999, Ford D. C.
Hydrogeology and speleology both began during the 19th CenturyTheir approaches to limestone aquifers diverged because hydrogeologists tend to measure phenomena at very local scales between drilled wells and generalize from them to basin scales, while speleologists study the large but sparse conduits and then infer conditions around themConvergence of the two approaches with modem computing should yield important genetic models of aquifer and caveGenesis of common cave systems by dissolution is a three-dimensional problem, best broken down into two-dimensional pairs for purposes of analysisHistorically, the dimensions of length and depth have received most attention, especially the question of the location of principal cave genesis with respect to the water tableBetween 1900 and 1950, different scientists proposed that caves develop principally (1) in the vadose zone; (2) at random depth in the phreatic zone; (3) along the water table in betweenEmpirical evidence suggests that these differing hypotheses can be reconciled by a four-state model in which the frequency of penetrable fissuration controls the system geometryFor the dimensions of length and breadth (plan patterns) there is widespread agreement that dendritic (or branchwork) patterns predominate in common cavesIrregular networks or anastomose patterns may occur as subsidiary componentsWhen hydraulic conditions in a fissure are anisotropic (the usual case), dissolutional conduit development is competitive: local hydraulic gradients are reoriented toward the first conduits to break through to outlet points, redirecting others toward them in a cascading processPlan patterns are most complex where there have been multiple phases ("levels") of development in a cave system in response to such effects as river channel entrenchment lowering the elevation of springs

A comprehensive strategy for understanding flow in carbonate aquifers, 1999, Worthington S. R. H.

Studies of carbonate aquifers usually either concentrate on sampling the channel flow (egsink-to-spring tracer testing, spring monitoring) or on sampling the non-channel flow (egborehole measurements)A comprehensive approach is advocated here, involving the integration of both sources of information, as well as measurements of the porosity and permeability of the unfractured rockRepresentative sampling can be achieved by treating carbonates as triple-porosity aquifers, with one-, two-, and three-dimensional porosity elementsThe division of carbonate aquifers into "karstic" or "non-karstic" types is unwarranted


Three-dimensional flow measurements in rock fractures, 1999, Dijk P. , Berkowitz B.

Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging is applied to measure flow patterns in natural, water-saturated, rough-walled rock fractures. From three-dimensional water density and velocity vector images the fracture morphology and flow patterns are determined. The parabolic nature and asymmetry of the velocity profiles, and thus the accuracy of local cubic law flow rate predictions, vary greatly. This depends on the degree of wall roughness. Particularly complex flow patterns are found in one sample which contains a sharp fracture wall discontinuity. A power law for the flow rate versus aperture for the low-flow region was found without considering the hydraulic gradients.


Investigation of flow in water-saturated rock fractures using nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), 1999, Dijk P. , Berkowitz B. , Bendel P.

The application of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI) to the direct three-dimensional measurement of flow in rough-walled water-saturated rock fractures is presented for the first time. The study demonstrates the abilities of NMRI to noninvasively measure rock-water interfaces and water flow velocities in these fractures and investigates the effects of wall morphology on flow patterns inside a typical rock fracture. Two- and three-dimensional flow-encoded spin-echo pulse sequences were applied. The stability and reproducibility of the water flow patterns were confirmed by analyzing two-dimensional velocity images. A variety of geometrical and hydraulic features were determined from three-dimensional velocity images, including the rock-water interfaces, the fracture aperture distribution, and the critical aperture path; velocity profiles and volumetric flow rates; flow and stagnant regions; and the critical velocity path. In particular, the effects of a sharp step discontinuity of the fracture walls and the applicability of the cubic law were examined. As a result of the complex three-dimensional geometry, velocity profiles are generally parabolic but often highly asymmetric, with respect to the fracture walls. These asymmetric velocity profiles are clustered together, with significant correlations; they are not just local random phenomena. However, theoretical considerations indicate that the effects of the measured asymmetry on volumetric flow rates and hydraulic conductivities are insignificant, in that the overall flow inside rough fractures still obeys the cubic law. The features discussed in this study emphasize the strong heterogeneity and the highly three-dimensional nature of the flow patterns in natural rock fractures and consequently the need for three-dimensional flow analysis.


Structure, flow, and generalized conductivity scaling in fracture networks, 1999, Margolin G. , Berkowitz B. , Scher H.

We present a three-dimensional (3-D) model of fractures that within the same framework, allows a systematic study of the interplay and relative importance of the two key factors determining the character of flow in the system. The two factors of complexity are () the geometry of fracture plane structure and interconnections and (2) the aperture variability within these planes. Previous models have concentrated on each separately. We introduce anisotropic percolation to model a wide range of fracture structures and networks. The conclusion is that either of these elements, fracture geometry and aperture variability, can give rise to channeled flow and that the interplay between them is especially important for this type of flow. Significant outcomes of our study are (1) a functional relationship that quantifies the dependence of the effective hydraulic conductivity on aperture variability and on the network structure and fracture element density, (2) a relation between aperture variability and the Peclet number, and (3) a basis for a new explanation for the field-length dependence of permeability observed in fractured and heterogeneous porous formations.


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