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Keywords:

  • solute transport;
  • small-scale aquifer heterogeneity;
  • connectivity;
  • MADE site

[1] Modeling large-scale effects from small-scale influences is a delicate act. For example, even when researchers know small changes can make a big difference, attempts to predict the outcome of the diffusion of a solute through an aquifer can be hindered by the amount of data needed to run the simulation. Ronayne et al. seem to have cracked the scaling code by building a new model that allows them to accurately simulate the transport of a previously injected bromide tracer through an aquifer in Mississippi by relying on simple geologic measurements collected near the surface. Their model works by using geologic data to infer submeter-sized changes in porosity and permeability that exist within the layers of an aquifer—cores drilled throughout the aquifer reveal that such variation exists in the aquifer's layers. (Water Resources Research, doi:10.1029/2010WR009348, 2010)