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Hydrogeophysical Methods for Analyzing Aquifer Storage and Recovery Systems


Currently at U.S. Geological Survey, Denver Federal Center, MS964, Denver, CO 80225; (303) 236-5718; fax: (303) 236-1425;


Hydrogeophysical methods are presented that support the siting and monitoring of aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) systems. These methods are presented as numerical simulations in the context of a proposed ASR experiment in Kuwait, although the techniques are applicable to numerous ASR projects. Bulk geophysical properties are calculated directly from ASR flow and solute transport simulations using standard petrophysical relationships and are used to simulate the dynamic geophysical response to ASR. This strategy provides a quantitative framework for determining site-specific geophysical methods and data acquisition geometries that can provide the most useful information about the ASR implementation. An axisymmetric, coupled fluid flow and solute transport model simulates injection, storage, and withdrawal of fresh water (salinity ∼500 ppm) into the Dammam aquifer, a tertiary carbonate formation with native salinity approximately 6000 ppm. Sensitivity of the flow simulations to the correlation length of aquifer heterogeneity, aquifer dispersivity, and hydraulic permeability of the confining layer are investigated. The geophysical response using electrical resistivity, time-domain electromagnetic (TEM), and seismic methods is computed at regular intervals during the ASR simulation to investigate the sensitivity of these different techniques to changes in subsurface properties. For the electrical and electromagnetic methods, fluid electric conductivity is derived from the modeled salinity and is combined with an assumed porosity model to compute a bulk electrical resistivity structure. The seismic response is computed from the porosity model and changes in effective stress due to fluid pressure variations during injection/recovery, while changes in fluid properties are introduced through Gassmann fluid substitution.