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Geological entropy and solute transport in heterogeneous porous media

Bianchi, Marco; Pedretti, Daniele. 2017 Geological entropy and solute transport in heterogeneous porous media. Water Resources Research, 53 (6). 4691-4708. 10.1002/2016WR020195

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Abstract/Summary

We propose a novel approach to link solute transport behavior to the physical heterogeneity of the aquifer, which we fully characterize with two measurable parameters: the variance of the log K values ( math formula), and a new indicator (HR) that integrates multiple properties of the K field into a global measure of spatial disorder or geological entropy. From the results of a detailed numerical experiment considering solute transport in K fields representing realistic distributions of hydrofacies in alluvial aquifers, we identify empirical relationship between the two parameters and the first three central moments of the distributions of arrival times of solute particles at a selected control plane. The analysis of experimental data indicates that the mean and the variance of the solutes arrival times tend to increase with spatial disorder (i.e., HR increasing), while highly skewed distributions are observed in more orderly structures (i.e., HR decreasing) or at higher math formula. We found that simple closed-form empirical expressions of the bivariate dependency of skewness on HR and math formula can be used to predict the emergence of non-Fickian transport in K fields considering a range of structures and heterogeneity levels, some of which based on documented real aquifers. The accuracy of these predictions and in general the results from this study indicate that a description of the global variability and structure of the K field in terms of variance and geological entropy offers a valid and broadly applicable approach for the interpretation and prediction of transport in heterogeneous porous media.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1002/2016WR020195
ISSN: 00431397
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater
Date made live: 12 Jun 2017 14:08 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/517142

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