The Influence of Topology on Hydraulic Conductivity in a Sand-and-Gravel Aquifer
Article first published online: 28 OCT 2009
Copyright © 2009 The Author(s) are Federal Government Employees. Journal compilation © 2009 National Ground Water Association
Volume 48, Issue 2, pages 181–190, March/April 2010
How to Cite
Morin, R. H., LeBlanc, D. R. and Troutman, B. M. (2010), The Influence of Topology on Hydraulic Conductivity in a Sand-and-Gravel Aquifer. Groundwater, 48: 181–190. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2009.00646.x
- Issue published online: 25 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 28 OCT 2009
- Received March 2009, accepted September 2009.
A field experiment consisting of geophysical logging and tracer testing was conducted in a single well that penetrated a sand-and-gravel aquifer at the U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology research site on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Geophysical logs and flowmeter/pumping measurements were obtained to estimate vertical profiles of porosity ϕ, hydraulic conductivity K, temperature, and bulk electrical conductivity under background, freshwater conditions. Saline-tracer fluid was then injected into the well for 2 h and its radial migration into the surrounding deposits was monitored by recording an electromagnetic-induction log every 10 min. The field data are analyzed and interpreted primarily through the use of Archie's (1942) law to investigate the role of topological factors such as pore geometry and connectivity, and grain size and packing configuration in regulating fluid flow through these coarse-grained materials. The logs reveal no significant correlation between K and ϕ, and imply that groundwater models that link these two properties may not be useful at this site. Rather, it is the distribution and connectivity of the fluid phase as defined by formation factor F, cementation index m, and tortuosity α that primarily control the hydraulic conductivity. Results show that F correlates well with K, thereby indicating that induction logs provide qualitative information on the distribution of hydraulic conductivity. A comparison of α, which incorporates porosity data, with K produces only a slightly better correlation and further emphasizes the weak influence of the bulk value of ϕ on K.