In modeling transport within naturally heterogeneous aquifers, it is usually assumed that the transport equations valid at local scales can also be applied at larger scales. At larger scales, the heterogeneous domain is represented by an equivalent homogeneous medium. Convergent-flow tracer tests constitute one of the most frequently used field tests to estimate effective input parameters of equivalent homogeneous aquifers. Traditionally, statistical approaches applied to groundwater flow and solute transport have provided tools to estimate these equivalent parameters. These approaches are based on a number of simplifications including the assumption that the point transmissivity values follow a multilog-normal random function. Several investigators have found that this assumption may not be valid in many field cases. In order to study the applicability of the equivalent homogeneous formulation in a nontraditional stochastic field, a number of experimental and numerical studies were conducted. The results are used to determine the apparent values of porosity and dispersivity that would be obtained if convergent-flow tracer tests were conducted in a deterministically generated heterogeneous transmissivity field displaying anisotropy in the correlation structure. It is shown that in this particular heterogeneous media, apparent porosity strongly depends on connectivity rather than on transmissivity. This dependence on connectivity questions the theoretical results obtained in continuum equivalent fields to estimate effective porosity.

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Published on 01/01/2002

DOI: 10.1016/S0169-7722(01)00214-5
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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