Correlating fracture trends and hydraulic head using semivariogram cloud analysis


Corresponding author: The Seagram Center for Soil and Water Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel;


Fracture trends (defined as kilometer-scale linear features interpolated between field observations of fractures along their strikes) often have a dominant orientation. Finding a correlation between this orientation and hydraulic data could shed light on their hydraulic influence. A significant correlation between head residuals from first-order regional drift and the orientation of 2- to 4-km-long fracture trends was found in a study site in the Negev, Israel, using the semivariogram cloud analysis. Correlation of head residuals rather than the head itself implies that the orientation of the fracture trends controls the anisotropy and heterogeneity at this scale, mainly because the fracture trends define the orientation of blocks, which differ in their hydraulic properties. Preferential transmissive pathways are probably shorter than the full extent of the fracture trends, causing a relatively high head difference along the trends on the 2- to 4-km scale. Fracture trend density and additional data from short-range hydraulic tests helped characterize two blocks separated by a fault zone. The identification of hydraulic features on a kilometer scale is necessary for better modeling of regional ground water flow and transport. Hydraulic tests at this scale are not feasible, thereby rendering combined analyses of head and structural data, such as the one presented here, essential.