In this paper, we use numerical simulations based on a Lagrangian framework to study contaminant transport through highly heterogeneous porous media due to advection and local diffusion (under local diffusion, we assume coupled effect of mechanical dispersion and molecular diffusion). The analysis of the concentration field is done for the case of a two-dimensional hydraulic conductivity domain representing the aquifer, with three log-conductivity structures that differ in spatial correlation. In addition to different conductivity structures, we focus our investigation on mild and highly heterogeneous porous media characterized by the values of hydraulic log-conductivity variance being equal to 1 and 8. In the concentration moment analysis, we show that a linear relationship exists between higher-order to second-order normalized concentration moments on a log-log scale up to the fourth-order moment. This leads to the important finding that moments of a higher than the second order can be derived based on information about the first two concentration moments only. Such a property has been observed previously for boundary-layer water channels, wind tunnels, and turbulent diffusion in open terrain and laboratory experiments. Normalized moments are shown to collapse for different types of hydraulic conductivity structures, Peclet (Pe) numbers and values. In the case of local diffusion absence, a linear log-log relationship is derived analytically and is set as a lower limit. The deviation from the lower limit is explained to be predominantly caused by the local diffusion, which needs time to evolve. In the case of local diffusion presence, we define the moment deriving function (MDF) to describe the linear log-log relationship between higher-order concentration moments to the second-order normalized one. Finally, the comparison between numerical results and those obtained from the Columbus Air Force Base Macrodispersion Experiment (MADE 1) is used to demonstrate the robustness of the moment collapse.
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