We present expressions satisfied by the first statistical moments (mean and variance–covariance) of travel time and trajectory of conservative solute particles advected in a three-dimensional heterogeneous aquifer under uniform in the mean flow conditions. Closure of the model is obtained by means of a consistent second-order expansion in (standard deviation of the log hydraulic conductivity) of (statistical) moments of quantities of interest. As such, the results obtained are nominally limited to mildly non-uniform fields, with . Resulting mean and variance of particles travel time and trajectory are functions of first and second moments and cross-moments of trajectory and velocity components. Our solution is applicable to infinite domains and is free of distributional assumptions. As an important application of the methodology we obtain closed-form expressions for the unconditional mean and variance of travel time and particle trajectory for isotropic log-conductivity domain characterized by an exponential variogram. This allows us to recover the non linear behavior of mean travel time versus distance, in agreement with numerical results published in the literature, as well as a non-linear effect in the mean trajectory. The analysis of trajectory variance allows recovering some known results regarding transverse macro-dispersion, evidencing some limitations typical of perturbation theory

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Published on 01/01/2005

DOI: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2004.12.009
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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