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Sample records for media unsaturated zone

  1. A model for the effective diffusion of gas or the vapor phase in a fractured media unsaturated zone driven by periodic atmospheric pressure fluctuations

    SciTech Connect

    Vold, E.L.

    1997-03-01

    There is evidence for migration of tritiated water vapor through the tuff in the unsaturated zone from the buried disposal shafts located on a narrow mesa top at Area G, Los Alamos, NM. Field data are consistent with an effective in-situ vapor phase diffusion coefficient of 1.5x10{sup {minus}3} m{sup s}/s, or a factor of 60 greater than the binary diffusion coefficient for water vapor in air. A model is derived to explain this observation of anomolously large diffusion, which relates an effective vapor or gas phase diffusion coefficient in the fractured porous media to the subsurface propagation of atmospheric pressure fluctuations (barometric pumping). The near surface (unattenuated) diffusion coefficient is independent of mode period under the simplified assumptions of a complete {open_quote}mixing mechanism{close_quote} for the effective diffusion process. The unattenuated effective diffusion driven by this barometric pumping is proportional to an average media permeability times the sum of the square of pressure mode amplitudes, while the attenuation length is proportional to the squarer root of the product of permeability times mode period. There is evidence that the permeability needed to evaluate the pressure attenuation length is the in-situ value, approximately that of the matrix. The diffusion which results using Area G parameter values is negligible in the matrix but becomes large at the effective permeability of the fractured tuff matrix. The effective diffusion coefficient predicted by this model, due to pressure fluctuations and the observed fracture characteristics, is in good agreement with the observed in-situ diffusion coefficient for tritium field measurements. It is concluded that barometric pumping in combination with the enhanced permeability of the fractured media is a likely candidate to account for the observed in-field migration of vapor in the near surface unsaturated zone at Area G.

  2. Do Karstic Unsaturated Zones Have the Fastest Preferential Flow?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nimmo, J. R.; Perkins, K. S.

    2013-12-01

    There is strong evidence that unsaturated-zone travel times for preferential flow, unlike those for diffuse flow, mostly fall within a relatively small range, even for a wide variety of media and conditions [Nimmo, 2007, Water Resources Research]. We have calculated travel times for preferential flow observations published in the last seven years, finding a range of travel velocities with a greater maximum than was previously recognized. The instances of faster transport, however, are predominantly for karst or other materials in which water flow may strongly influence the creation and development of preferential flow paths. These findings motivate a hypothesis: in media where the matrix is soluble, erodible, or otherwise vulnerable to enlargement by flowing water, this flow acts to reduce flow impediments within a macropore network. This might be thought of as a sculpting process in which water carves its conduit into a smoother, larger, less constrictive shape, as discussed in connection with soil pipes [Jones, 2010, Hydrological Processes]. Known developmental processes of karst and epikarst are consistent with this hypothesis. Its acceptance would open doors to expanded use of optimality and thermodynamic principles to understand and predict preferential flow. It also could lead to new modes of hydraulic characterization of subsurface media with regard to unsaturated flow, which are much needed as the difficulty of measuring hydraulic properties of the unsaturated zone is a major barrier to the advance of hydrologic science. In practical terms, a new guideline may be justified: in unsaturated karst or other materials in which flowing water may enhance flowpaths, preferential transport rates in general may be several times faster than through media without such pore-developmental processes.

  3. NaturAnalogs for the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    A. Simmons; A. Unger; M. Murrell

    2000-03-08

    The purpose of this Analysis/Model Report (AMR) is to document natural and anthropogenic (human-induced) analog sites and processes that are applicable to flow and transport processes expected to occur at the potential Yucca Mountain repository in order to build increased confidence in modeling processes of Unsaturated Zone (UZ) flow and transport. This AMR was prepared in accordance with ''AMR Development Plan for U0135, Natural Analogs for the UZ'' (CRWMS 1999a). Knowledge from analog sites and processes is used as corroborating information to test and build confidence in flow and transport models of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This AMR supports the Unsaturated Zone (UZ) Flow and Transport Process Model Report (PMR) and the Yucca Mountain Site Description. The objectives of this AMR are to test and build confidence in the representation of UZ processes in numerical models utilized in the UZ Flow and Transport Model. This is accomplished by: (1) applying data from Boxy Canyon, Idaho in simulations of UZ flow using the same methodologies incorporated in the Yucca Mountain UZ Flow and Transport Model to assess the fracture-matrix interaction conceptual model; (2) Providing a preliminary basis for analysis of radionuclide transport at Pena Blanca, Mexico as an analog of radionuclide transport at Yucca Mountain; and (3) Synthesizing existing information from natural analog studies to provide corroborating evidence for representation of ambient and thermally coupled UZ flow and transport processes in the UZ Model.

  4. Gas transport in unsaturated porous media: the adequacy of Fick's law

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thorstenson, D.C.; Pollock, D.W.

    1989-01-01

    The increasing use of natural unsaturated zones as repositories for landfills and disposal sites for hazardous wastes (chemical and radioactive) requires a greater understanding of transport processes in the unsaturated zone. For volatile constituents an important potential transport mechanism is gaseous diffusion. Diffusion, however, cannot be treated as an independent isolated transport mechanism. A complete understanding of multicomponent gas transport in porous media (unsaturated zones) requires a knowledge of Knudsen transport, the molecular and nonequimolar components of diffusive flux, and viscous (pressure driven) flux. This review presents a brief discussion of the underlying principles and interrelationships among each of the above flux mechanisms. -from Authors

  5. The geometry of nonwetting liquids in the unsaturated zone

    SciTech Connect

    Hartz, M.J.; Overcamp, T.J.

    1996-09-01

    In hydrophilic aquifer material, gasoline, immiscible solvents, and similar nonaqueous phase liquids (NAPL) form a separate nonwetting phase. If such a nonwetting liquid is spilled onto soil, it will percolate into the soil and migrate downward and laterally under the influence of gravity and capillary forces. As the nonwetting liquid drains from a portion of soil, some of this liquid is retained by capillary forces. Although current models predict that the retained nonwetting liquid is immobile a growing body of evidence indicates that it may be displaced by percolating water. A theory is developed to describe the geometry of nonwetting or nonaqueous phase liquids in moist unsaturated media. This theory predicts that liquids with positive values of the classical two-dimensional spreading coefficient form pendular rings. Liquids with negative values form pendular rings in regions of high-water tension or in regions of relatively high concentration of the nonwetting fluid, but they form insular lenses in regions of low-water tension or regions of low concentration of the nonwetting fluid. A three-dimensional spreading coefficient was developed to predict this behavior. Infiltrating water can cause transitions by breaking the pendular rings of nonwetting liquids in the unsaturated zone, and forming larger blobs as these rings coalesce. These blobs may drain downward due to gravity. These conditions may contribute to the mobility of nonwetting liquids due to percolation of water through the unsaturated zone.

  6. Unsaturated Zone and Saturated Zone Transport Properties (U0100)

    SciTech Connect

    J. Conca

    2000-12-20

    This Analysis/Model Report (AMR) summarizes transport properties for the lower unsaturated zone hydrogeologic units and the saturated zone at Yucca Mountain and provides a summary of data from the Busted Butte Unsaturated Zone Transport Test (UZTT). The purpose of this report is to summarize the sorption and transport knowledge relevant to flow and transport in the units below Yucca Mountain and to provide backup documentation for the sorption parameters decided upon for each rock type. Because of the complexity of processes such as sorption, and because of the lack of direct data for many conditions that may be relevant for Yucca Mountain, data from systems outside of Yucca Mountain are also included. The data reported in this AMR will be used in Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) calculations and as general scientific support for various Process Model Reports (PMRs) requiring knowledge of the transport properties of different materials. This report provides, but is not limited to, sorption coefficients and other relevant thermodynamic and transport properties for the radioisotopes of concern, especially neptunium (Np), plutonium (Pu), Uranium (U), technetium (Tc), iodine (I), and selenium (Se). The unsaturated-zone (UZ) transport properties in the vitric Calico Hills (CHv) are discussed, as are colloidal transport data based on the Busted Butte UZTT, the saturated tuff, and alluvium. These values were determined through expert elicitation, direct measurements, and data analysis. The transport parameters include information on interactions of the fractures and matrix. In addition, core matrix permeability data from the Busted Butte UZTT are summarized by both percent alteration and dispersion.

  7. IDENTIFICATION AND COMPILATION OF UNSATURATED/VADOSE ZONE MODELS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The present report contains the result of research and information processing activities supporting evaluation of the capabilities of various unsaturated zone flow and transport models in predicting the movement of hazardous chemicals through soils to ground water. t provides an ...

  8. Unsaturated Zone Flow Patterns and Analysis

    SciTech Connect

    C. Ahlers

    2001-10-17

    This Analysis/Model Report (AMR) documents the development of an expected-case model for unsaturated zone (UZ) flow and transport that will be described in terms of the representativeness of models of the natural system. The expected-case model will provide an evaluation of the effectiveness of the natural barriers, assess the impact of conservatism in the Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA), and support the development of further models and analyses for public confidence building. The present models used in ''Total System Performance Assessment for the Site Recommendation'' (Civilian Radioactive Waste Management System Management and Operating Contractor (CRWMS M&O) 2000 [1532461]) underestimate the natural-barrier performance because of conservative assumptions and parameters and do not adequately address uncertainty and alternative models. The development of an expected case model for the UZ natural barrier addresses issues regarding flow-pattern analysis and modeling that had previously been treated conservatively. This is in line with the Repository Safety Strategy (RSS) philosophy of treating conservatively those aspects of the UZ flow and transport system that are not important for achieving regulatory dose (CRWMS M&O 2000 [153246], Section 1.1.1). The development of an expected case model for the UZ also provides defense-in-depth in areas requiring further analysis of uncertainty and alternative models. In general, the value of the conservative case is to provide a more easily defensible TSPA for behavior of UZ flow and transport processes at Yucca Mountain. This AMR has been prepared in accordance with the ''Technical Work Plan for Unsaturated Zone (UZ) Flow and Transport Process Model Report'' (Bechtel SAIC Company (BSC) 2001 [155051], Section 1.3 - Work Package 4301213UMG). The work scope is to examine the data and current models of flow and transport in the Yucca Mountain UZ to identify models and analyses where conservatism may be reduced and

  9. Unsaturated zone 14CO2: implications for groundwater dating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wood, C.; Cook, P. G.; Harrington, G. A.; Meredith, K.; Kipfer, R.

    2013-12-01

    Quantitative interpretation of the carbon-14 activity (14C) of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in groundwater requires an understanding of the various chemical and physical processes that can vary the initial 14C activity from that of the original atmospheric source (carbon dioxide, CO2). Such processes include radioactive decay, carbonate mineral dissolution, isotope exchange, decay of organic matter and molecular diffusion. Many geochemical correction models exist to account for some of these processes (e.g., Fontes and Garnier, 1979). However in most existing correction schemes, it is assumed that the 14C activity of CO2 in the unsaturated zone is in equilibrium with the atmosphere (i.e., 14C:12C is the same as the atmospheric ratio). This assumption is rarely tested and in several cases has been found to be inappropriate (eg. Bacon and Keller, 1998; Walvoord et al., 2005). Not accounting for the influence of unsaturated zone processes on 14C may lead to problems in determining residence time and estimating fluxes from measured 14C data in groundwater. In this study we examined carbon isotope processes in deep unsaturated zone profiles (up to 30m in depth) in arid central Australia. At five sites, multi-level samples of unsaturated zone gas and groundwater were collected for 14C analysis. Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC-11 and CFC-12) samples were also collected in unsaturated zone gas. At all sites we observed a decrease in the 14C activity of unsaturated zone gas with depth, from approximately 107 pmC near the ground surface to 50 - 80 pmC immediately above the water table. The measured 14C data was reproduced in a one-dimensional model using Hydrus, with CFC concentrations used to help constrain the gas transport parameters. Modelling showed that the decrease in 14C could be explained by CO2 production from different sources at different depths in the unsaturated zone (e.g. plant root respiration at shallower depths, oxidation of dead organic matter at greater

  10. Upscaling of Constitutive Relations I Unsaturated Heterogeneous Porous Media

    SciTech Connect

    H. H. Liu; G. S. Bodvarsson

    2001-05-31

    When numerical model are used for modeling field scale flow and transport processes in the subsurface, the problem of ''upscaling'' arises. Typical scales, corresponding to spatial resolutions of subsurface heterogeneity in numerical models, are generally much larger than the measurement scale of the parameters and physical processes involved. The upscaling problems is, then, one of assigning parameters to gridblock scale based on parameter values measured on small scales. The focus of this study is to develop an approach to determine large-scale (upscaled) constitutive relations (relationships among relative permeability, capillary pressure and saturation) from small-scale measurements for porous media for a range of air entry values that are typical for the tuff matrix in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain. For porous media with large air entry values, capillary forces play a key role in determining spatial water distribution at large-scales. Therefore, a relatively uniform capillary pressure approximately exists even for a large gridblock scale under steady state flow conditions. Based on these reasoning, we developed formulations that relate upscaled constitutive relations to ones measured at core-scale. Numerical experiments with stochastically generated heterogeneous porous media were used to evaluate the upscaling formulations.

  11. Modeling Unsaturated Flow and Transport using Zones: Aliasing Errors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schafer, A. L.; Holt, R. M.

    2001-12-01

    It is difficult and costly to accurately determine the spatial statistics of unsaturated hydraulic properties, whereas it is often easier to define hydraulic property zones. When heterogeneous hydraulic property fields are subdivided into zones, however, flow and transport predictions show aliasing errors that alter predicted concentrations and breakthrough curves. The amount of error varies with the number of zones, the character of the heterogeneity, and boundary and initial conditions. The objective of this work is to determine the number of zones required to preserve critical transport behavior during numerical simulation of flow and transport. For this exercise, we consider unsaturated flow and non-reactive transport only. We assume that Richard?s Equation is valid and that the Gardner-Russo parametric model exactly describes unsaturated constitutive relationships. Correlated random parameter fields are generated and unsaturated flow and transport through these fields is simulated. The fields are then zoned using quantiles (0.25, 0.1, 0.05, and 0.025), appropriate zonal averages are determined, and flow and transport is simulated through the zoned fields. Aliasing errors are assessed by comparing the first, second and third moments of concentration for the full and zoned fields. The number of zones is varied to elucidate the character of aliasing error. The style of heterogeneity is varied to reflect geologically relevant end members (statistically isotropic vs. perfectly layered fields). Simulations are repeated under unit gradient conditions at mean tensions of 10, 100, and 1000 cm. Aliasing errors will tend to be smallest in layered systems with flow perpendicular to layering, because zonal averaging does not obscure fast paths. In statistically isotropic systems, fast paths are reduced as the coarseness of the zones increases. At higher tensions, finer zones are required to preserve transport behavior.

  12. Unsaturated zone flow modeling for GWTT-95

    SciTech Connect

    Ho, C.K.; Altman, S.J.; McKenna, S.A.; Arnold, B.W.

    1995-12-31

    In accordance with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulation regarding groundwater travel times at geologic repositories, various models of unsaturated flow in fractured tuff have been developed and implemented to assess groundwater travel times at the potential repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Kaplan used one-dimensional models to describe the uncertainty and sensitivity of travel times to various processes at Yucca Mountain. Robey and Arnold et al. used a two-dimensional equivalent continuum model (ECM) with inter- and intra-unit heterogeneity in an attempt to assess fast-flow paths through the unsaturated, fractured tuff at Yucca Mountain (GWTT-94). However, significant flow through the fractures in previous models was not simulated due to the characteristics of the ECM, which requires the matrix to be nearly saturated before flow through the fractures is initiated. In the current study (GWTT-95), four two-dimensional cross-sections at Yucca Mountain are simulated using both the ECM and dual-permeability (DK) models. The properties of both the fracture and matrix domains are geostatistically simulated, yielding completely heterogeneous continua. Then, simulations of flow through the four cross-sections are performed using spatially nonuniform infiltration boundary conditions. Steady-state groundwater travel times from the potential repository to the water table are calculated.

  13. Chaotic dynamics in flow through unsaturated fractured media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Faybishenko, Boris

    Predictions of flow and transport within fractured rock in the vadose zone cannot be made without first characterizing the physics of unstable flow phenomena in unsaturated fractures. This paper introduces a new approach for studying complex flow processes in heterogeneous fractured media, using the methods of nonlinear dynamics and chaos--in particular reconstructing the system dynamics and calculating chaotic diagnostic parameters from time-series data. To demonstrate the application of chaotic analysis, this author analyzed the time-series pressure fluctuations from two water-air flow experiments conducted by Persoff and Pruess [Water Resour. Res. 31 (1995) 1175] in replicas of rough-walled rock fractures under controlled boundary conditions. This analysis showed that chaotic flow in fractures creates relaxational oscillations of liquid, gas, and capillary pressures. These pressure oscillations were used to calculate the diagnostic parameters of deterministic chaos, including correlation time, global embedding dimension, local embedding dimension, Lyapunov dimension, Lyapunov exponents, and correlation dimension. The results of the Persoff-Pruess experiments were then compared with the chaotic analysis of laboratory dripping-water experiments in fracture models and field-infiltration experiments in fractured basalt. This comparison allowed us to conjecture that intrinsic fracture flow and dripping, as well as extrinsic water dripping (from a fracture) subjected to a capillary-barrier effect, are deterministic-chaotic processes with a certain random component. The unsaturated fractured rock is a dynamic system that exhibits chaotic behavior because the flow processes are nonlinear, dissipative, and sensitive to initial conditions, with chaotic fluctuations generated by intrinsic properties of the system, not random external factors. Identifying a system as deterministically chaotic is important for developing appropriate short- and long-term prediction models

  14. BIODEGRADATION OF HYDROCARBON VAPORS IN THE UNSATURATED ZONE

    EPA Science Inventory

    The time-averaged concentration of hydrocarbon and oxygen vapors were measured in the unsaturated zone above the residually contaminated capillary fringe at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City, Michigan. Total hydrocarbon and oxygen vapor concentrations were observe...

  15. 40 CFR 264.278 - Unsaturated zone monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... or operator must monitor the soil and soil-pore liquid to determine whether hazardous constituents... unsaturated zone monitoring system that includes soil monitoring using soil cores and soil-pore liquid... the quality of background soil-pore liquid quality and the chemical make-up of soil that has not...

  16. 40 CFR 264.278 - Unsaturated zone monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... or operator must monitor the soil and soil-pore liquid to determine whether hazardous constituents... unsaturated zone monitoring system that includes soil monitoring using soil cores and soil-pore liquid... the quality of background soil-pore liquid quality and the chemical make-up of soil that has not...

  17. Comparison of different filter methods for data assimilation in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lange, Natascha; Berkhahn, Simon; Erdal, Daniel; Neuweiler, Insa

    2016-04-01

    The unsaturated zone is an important compartment, which plays a role for the division of terrestrial water fluxes into surface runoff, groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration. For data assimilation in coupled systems it is therefore important to have a good representation of the unsaturated zone in the model. Flow processes in the unsaturated zone have all the typical features of flow in porous media: Processes can have long memory and as observations are scarce, hydraulic model parameters cannot be determined easily. However, they are important for the quality of model predictions. On top of that, the established flow models are highly non-linear. For these reasons, the use of the popular Ensemble Kalman filter as a data assimilation method to estimate state and parameters in unsaturated zone models could be questioned. With respect to the long process memory in the subsurface, it has been suggested that iterative filters and smoothers may be more suitable for parameter estimation in unsaturated media. We test the performance of different iterative filters and smoothers for data assimilation with a focus on parameter updates in the unsaturated zone. In particular we compare the Iterative Ensemble Kalman Filter and Smoother as introduced by Bocquet and Sakov (2013) as well as the Confirming Ensemble Kalman Filter and the modified Restart Ensemble Kalman Filter proposed by Song et al. (2014) to the original Ensemble Kalman Filter (Evensen, 2009). This is done with simple test cases generated numerically. We consider also test examples with layering structure, as a layering structure is often found in natural soils. We assume that observations are water content, obtained from TDR probes or other observation methods sampling relatively small volumes. Particularly in larger data assimilation frameworks, a reasonable balance between computational effort and quality of results has to be found. Therefore, we compare computational costs of the different methods as well

  18. Hydraulic properties of adsorbed water films in unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Tokunaga, Tetsu K.

    2009-03-01

    Adsorbed water films strongly influence residual water saturations and hydraulic conductivities in porous media at low saturations. Hydraulic properties of adsorbed water films in unsaturated porous media were investigated through combining Langmuir's film model with scaling analysis, without use of any adjustable parameters. Diffuse double layer influences are predicted to be important through the strong dependence of adsorbed water film thickness (f) on matric potential ({Psi}) and ion charge (z). Film thickness, film velocity, and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity are predicted to vary with z{sup -1}, z{sup -2}, and z{sup -3}, respectively. In monodisperse granular media, the characteristic grain size ({lambda}) controls film hydraulics through {lambda}{sup -1} scaling of (1) the perimeter length per unit cross sectional area over which films occur, (2) the critical matric potential ({Psi}{sub c}) below which films control flow, and (3) the magnitude of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity when {Psi} < {Psi}{sub c}. While it is recognized that finer textured sediments have higher unsaturated hydraulic conductivities than coarser sands at intermediate {Psi}, the {lambda}{sup -1} scaling of hydraulic conductivity predicted here extends this understanding to very low saturations where all pores are drained. Extremely low unsaturated hydraulic conductivities are predicted under adsorbed film-controlled conditions (generally < 0.1 mm y{sup -1}). On flat surfaces, the film hydraulic diffusivity is shown to be constant (invariant with respect to {Psi}).

  19. Effects of unsaturated zone on ground-water mounding

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sumner, D.M.; Rolston, D.E.; Marino, M.A.

    1999-01-01

    The design of infiltration basins used to dispose of treated wastewater or for aquifer recharge often requires estimation of ground-water mounding beneath the basin. However, the effect that the unsaturated zone has on water-table response to basin infiltration often has been overlooked in this estimation. A comparison was made between two methods used to estimate ground-water mounding-an analytical approach that is limited to the saturated zone and a numerical approach that incorporates both the saturated and the unsaturated zones. Results indicate that the error that is introduced by a method that ignores the effects of the unsaturated zone on ground-water mounding increases as the basin-loading period is shortened; as the depth to the water table increases, with increasing subsurface anisotropy; and with the inclusion of fine-textured strata. Additionally, such a method cannot accommodate the dynamic nature of basin infiltration, the finite transmission time of the infiltration front to the water table, or the interception of the basin floor by the capillary fringe.The design of infiltration basins used to dispose of treated wastewater or for aquifer recharge often requires estimation of ground-water mounding beneath the basin. However, the effect that the unsaturated zone has on water-table response to basin infiltration often has been overlooked in this estimation. A comparison was made between two methods used to estimate ground-water mounding - an analytical approach that is limited to the saturated zone and a numerical approach that incorporates both the saturated and the unsaturated zones. Results indicate that the error that is introduced by a method that ignores the effects of the unsaturated zone on ground-water mounding increases as the basin-loading period is shortened; as the depth to the water table increases, with increasing subsurface anisotropy; and with the inclusion of fine-textured strata. Additionally, such a method cannot accommodate the

  20. Colloid Bound Transport of Contaminats In The Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmann, T.; Christ, A.

    Colloids can play a major role in the relocation of contaminants in the unsaturated zone. The amount of colloid driven transport is defined by soil chemistry, soil water chemistry and water flow velocity as well as colloid composition and formation. In a current research project we investigate the filtration and mobilization of colloids in unsaturated column studies. We use different soil types, chosen by a wide range of mean grain size and heterogeneity. Particle tracers are polystyrene solids with a de- fined negative surface charge and defined size from 50 nm to 10 µm. In addition, we use natural colloids extracted from a wide range of contaminated and uncontaminated land. Experimental conditions are exactly controlled throughout all the time. We alter mainly flow velocity ionic strength in order to study the filtration behaviour of the soils. In addition, Pyrene and Lead are are used as model contaminants. First results show the colloids are not retarded in many coarse structured soil types. Preferential colloid flow shows a major impact in breakthrough behaviour. Colloid bound lead is relocated significant through the unsaturated zone, whereas non colloid bound lead species are strongly retarded. In the presentation we will show results of contami- nant processes and present new results on the filtration behaviour of colloids in the unsaturated zone depending on flow velocity, soil type and colloid size.

  1. Heat and mass transfer in unsaturated porous media. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Childs, S.W.; Malstaff, G.

    1982-02-01

    A preliminary study of heat and water transport in unsaturated porous media is reported. The project provides background information regarding the feasibility of seasonal thermal energy storage in unconfined aquifers. A parametric analysis of the factors of importance, and an annotated bibliography of research findings pertinent to unconfined aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) are presented. This analysis shows that heat and mass transfer of water vapor assume dominant importance in unsaturated porous media at elevated temperature. Although water vapor fluxes are seldom as large as saturated medium liquid water fluxes, they are important under unsaturated conditions. The major heat transport mechanism for unsaturated porous media at temperatures from 50 to 90/sup 0/C is latent heat flux. The mechanism is nonexistent under saturated conditions but may well control design of unconfined aquifer storage systems. The parametric analysis treats detailed physical phenomena which occur in the flow systems study and demonstrates the temperature and moisture dependence of the transport coefficients of importance. The question of design of an unconfined ATES site is also addressed by considering the effects of aquifer temperature, depth to water table, porous medium flow properties, and surface boundary conditions. Recommendations are made for continuation of this project in its second phase. Both scientific and engineering goals are considered and alternatives are presented.

  2. Transport of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chahal, Maninder; Flury, Markus

    2016-04-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are complex organic molecules containing 2 or more fused benzene rings. Being hydrophobic and non-polar, PAHs tend to partition to the organic matter in the soil from bulk aqueous phase. Though transport of these contaminants has been well studied in saturated environment, interactive mechanisms of these fluorescent compounds in unsaturated (identified by presence of air-water interface) porous media is still not well understood. We studied is the transport of fluoranthene in unsaturated porous media as facilitated by moving air-water interfaces. Confocal microscopy was used to visualize the interactions of fluoranthene particles in a glass channel packed with quartz glass beads. The packed glass channel was used to mimic a porous media and effects of an advancing and receding capillary fringe on the detachment of fluoranthene.

  3. Liquid flow and distribution in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alexander, J. Iwan

    2004-01-01

    Flow and transport in permeable or porous media and microchannels occurs in a variety of situations in micro- and reduced-gravity environments, many of them associated with environmental control and life support systems. While the role of gravity is limited, due to the typically small size scales associated permeable media, gravity, at the very least, affects the overall disposition of fluid in a macroscopic system. This presentation will discuss examples where the absence of gravity affects flow and phase distribution in selected examples of unsaturated flow and transport of heat and mass in porous media and microchannels that are pertinent to spacecraft systems.

  4. Volatile organic compounds in the unsaturated zone from radioactive wastes.

    PubMed

    Baker, Ronald J; Andraski, Brian J; Stonestrom, David A; Luo, Wentai

    2012-01-01

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are often comingled with low-level radioactive wastes (LLRW), but little is known about subsurface VOC emanations from LLRW landfills. The current study systematically quantified VOCs associated with LLRW over an 11-yr period at the USGS Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in southwestern Nevada. Unsaturated-zone gas samples of VOCs were collected by adsorption on resin cartridges and analyzed by thermal desorption and GC/MS. Sixty of 87 VOC method analytes were detected in the 110-m-thick unsaturated zone surrounding a LLRW disposal facility. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were detected in 100% of samples collected. Chlorofluorocarbons are powerful greenhouse gases, deplete stratospheric ozone, and are likely released from LLRW facilities worldwide. Soil-gas samples collected from a depth of 24 m and a horizontal distance 100 m south of the nearest waste-disposal trench contained >60,000 ppbv total VOCs, including >37,000 ppbv CFCs. Extensive sampling in the shallow unsaturated zone (0-2 m deep) identified areas where total VOC concentrations exceeded 5000 ppbv at the 1.5-m depth. Volatile organic compound concentrations exceeded background levels up to 300 m from the facility. Maximum vertical diffusive fluxes of total VOCs were estimated to be 1 g m yr. Volatile organic compound distributions were similar but not identical to those previously determined for tritium and elemental mercury. To our knowledge, this study is the first to characterize the unsaturated zone distribution of VOCs emanating from a LLRW landfill. Our results may help explain anomalous transport of radionuclides at the ADRS and elsewhere. PMID:22751077

  5. Artificial recharge through a thick, heterogeneous unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Izbicki, J.A.; Flint, A.L.; Stamos, C.L.

    2008-01-01

    Thick, heterogeneous unsaturated zones away from large streams in desert areas have not previously been considered suitable for artificial recharge from ponds. To test the potential for recharge in these settings, 1.3 ?? 10 6 m3 of water was infiltrated through a 0.36-ha pond along Oro Grande Wash near Victorville, California, between October 2002 and January 2006. The pond overlies a regional pumping depression 117 m below land surface and is located where thickness and permeability of unsaturated deposits allowed infiltration and saturated alluvial deposits were sufficiently permeable to allow recovery of water. Because large changes in water levels caused by nearby pumping would obscure arrival of water at the water table, downward movement of water was measured using sensors in the unsaturated zone. The downward rate of water movement was initially as high as 6 m/d and decreased with depth to 0.07 m/d; the initial time to reach the water table was 3 years. After the unsaturated zone was wetted, water reached the water table in 1 year. Soluble salts and nitrate moved readily with the infiltrated water, whereas arsenic and chromium were less mobile. Numerical simulations done using the computer program TOUGH2 duplicated the downward rate of water movement, accumulation of water on perched zones, and its arrival at the water table. Assuming 10 ?? 10 6 m3 of recharge annually for 20 years, a regional ground water flow model predicted water level rises of 30 m beneath the ponds, and rises exceeding 3 m in most wells serving the nearby urban area.

  6. Artificial recharge through a thick, heterogeneous unsaturated zone.

    PubMed

    Izbicki, John A; Flint, Alan L; Stamos, Christina L

    2008-01-01

    Thick, heterogeneous unsaturated zones away from large streams in desert areas have not previously been considered suitable for artificial recharge from ponds. To test the potential for recharge in these settings, 1.3 x 10(6) m(3) of water was infiltrated through a 0.36-ha pond along Oro Grande Wash near Victorville, California, between October 2002 and January 2006. The pond overlies a regional pumping depression 117 m below land surface and is located where thickness and permeability of unsaturated deposits allowed infiltration and saturated alluvial deposits were sufficiently permeable to allow recovery of water. Because large changes in water levels caused by nearby pumping would obscure arrival of water at the water table, downward movement of water was measured using sensors in the unsaturated zone. The downward rate of water movement was initially as high as 6 m/d and decreased with depth to 0.07 m/d; the initial time to reach the water table was 3 years. After the unsaturated zone was wetted, water reached the water table in 1 year. Soluble salts and nitrate moved readily with the infiltrated water, whereas arsenic and chromium were less mobile. Numerical simulations done using the computer program TOUGH2 duplicated the downward rate of water movement, accumulation of water on perched zones, and its arrival at the water table. Assuming 10 x 10(6) m(3) of recharge annually for 20 years, a regional ground water flow model predicted water level rises of 30 m beneath the ponds, and rises exceeding 3 m in most wells serving the nearby urban area. PMID:18194322

  7. Evaluation of unsaturated zone air permeability through pneumatic tests

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baehr, Arthur L.; Hult, Marc F.

    1991-01-01

    Predicting the steady state distribution of air pressure in the unsaturated zone resulting from a pneumatic test provides a method for determining air-phase permeability. This technique is analogous to the inverse problem of well hydraulics; however, air flow is more complicated than ground water flow because of air compressibility, the Klinkenberg effect, variations in air density and viscosity that result from temperature fluctuations in the unsaturated zone and the possibility of inducing water movement during the pneumatic test. An analysis of these complicating factors reveals that, when induced water movement can be neglected, a linear version of the airflow equation can provide an appropriate approximation for the purpose of determining air-phase permeability. Two analytical solutions for steady state, two-dimensional, axisymmetric airflow to a single well partially screened in the unsaturated zone are developed. One solution applies where there is a stratum of relatively low air permeability, separating the stratum in which the well is completed, from the atmosphere. The other solution applies where there is no separating stratum between the domain and atmosphere. In both situations the water table forms the lower horizontal boundary. Applications of both solutions to determine air permeability from data collected during pneumatic tests are presented.

  8. Unsaturated Zone Flow Changes After Wildfire: A Virtual Experiment Perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ebel, B. A.

    2013-12-01

    Wildfire is a frequent disturbance event in the Western U.S. and other regions worldwide. It is well known that wildfire impacts the hydrologic cycle, yet the accompanying changes in unsaturated zone flow are poorly understood. This effort uses unsaturated zone flow simulation for well characterized experimental plots covering north- and south-facing slope aspects for plots both affected and unaffected by wildfire to improve understanding. Comparisons to observed soil-water content and matric potential data establish 'foundation simulations' that lay the groundwork for virtual experiments testing hypotheses developed from interpretation of field and laboratory data. The virtual experiments with the numerical model then extend understanding beyond what could be gleaned from data alone. Unsaturated zone flow is simulated with Hydrus-1D and the field site for this work is within the area affected by the 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire near Boulder, CO USA. Preliminary work shows that loss of transpiration because of vegetation combustion/mortality caused soils to be wetter at depths greater than 5 cm on both north- and south-facing slopes. Loss of interception by the tree canopy also contributes to wetter subsurface conditions on north-facing slopes. On south-facing slopes, at depths less than 3 cm, the soil was drier after wildfire because of decreases in soil-water retention, confirming hypotheses from field and laboratory measurements.

  9. Hydrogeology of the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Montazer, P.; Wilson, W.E.

    1985-12-31

    The unsaturated volcanic tuff beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being evaluated by the US Department of Energy as a host rock for a potential mined geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. Assessment of site suitability needs an efficient and focused investigative program. A conceptual hydrogeologic model that simulates the flow of fluids through the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain was developed to guide the program and to provide a basis for preliminary assessment of site suitability. The study was made as part of the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project of the US Department of Energy. Thickness of the unsaturated zone is about 1640 to 2460 feet (500 to 750 meters). Based on physical properties, the rocks in the unsaturated zone are grouped for the purpose of this paper into five informal hydrogeologic units. From top to bottom these units are: Tiva Canyon welded unit, Paintbrush nonwelded unit. Topopah Spring welded unit, Calico Hills nonwelded unit, and Crater Flat unit. Welded units have a mean fracture density of 8 to 40 fractures per unit cubic meter, mean matrix porosities of 12 to 23%, matrix hydraulic conductivities with geometric means ranging from 6.5 x 10{sup -6} to 9.8 x 10{sup -6} foot per day (2 x 10{sup -6} to 3 x 10{sup -6} meter per day), and bulk hydraulic conductivities of 0.33 to 33 feet per day (0.1 to 10 meters per day). The nonwelded units have a mean fracture density of 1 to 3 fractures per unit cubic meter, mean matrix porosities of 31 to 46%, and saturated hydraulic conductivities with geometric means ranging from 2.6 x 10{sup -5} to 2.9 x 10{sup -2} foot per day (8 x 10{sup -6} to 9 x 10{sup -3} meter per day). 15 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab.

  10. Injection of Nuclear Rocket Engine Exhaust into Deep Unsaturated Zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooper, C. A.; Decker, D.

    2008-05-01

    Nuclear rocket engine technology is being considered as a means of interplanetary vehicle propulsion for a manned mission to Mars. To achieve this, a test and development facility must be constructed to safely run nuclear engines. The testing of nuclear engines in the 1950's and 1960's was accomplished by exhausting the engine gases into the atmosphere, a practice that is no longer acceptable. Injection into deep unsaturated zones of radioactive exhaust gases and water vapor associated with the testing of nuclear rocket engines is being considered as a way of sequestering radionuclides from the environment. Numerical simulations were conducted to determine the ability of an unsaturated zone with the hydraulic properties of Frenchman Flat alluvium at the Nevada Test Site to contain gas-phase radionuclides. Gas and water vapor were injected for two hours at rates of 14.5 kg s-1 and 15 kg s-1, respectively, in an interval between 100 and 430 m below the land surface into alluvium with an intrinsic permeability of 10-11 m2 and porosity of 0.35. The results show that during a test of an engine, radionuclides with at least greater than 10-year half-lives may reach the land surface within several years after injection. Radionuclide transport is primarily controlled by the upward pressure gradient from the point of injection to the lower (atmospheric) pressure boundary condition at the land surface. Radionuclides with half-lives on the order of days should undergo enough decay prior to reaching the land surface. A cooling water vapor injected into the unsaturated zone simultaneously with the exhaust gas will condense within several meters of the injection point and drain downward toward the water table. However, the nearly horizontal hydraulic groundwater gradient present in several of the basins at NTS should limit lateral migration of radionuclides away from the vicinity of injection.

  11. LNAPL Removal from Unsaturated Porous Media using Surfactant Infiltration

    SciTech Connect

    Zhong, Lirong; Oostrom, Martinus

    2012-11-19

    A series of unsaturated column experiments was performed to evaluate light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) fate and removal during surfactant solution infiltration. Surfactant-LNAPL phase behavior tests were conducted to optimize the remedial solutions. Packed sand and site sediment columns were first processed to establish representative LNAPL smear zone under unsaturated conditions. Infiltration of low-concentration surfactant was then applied in a stepwise flush mode, with 0.3 column pore volume (PV) of solution in each flush. The influence of infiltrated surfactant solution volume and pH on LNAPL removal was assessed. A LNAPL bank was observed at the very front of the first surfactant infiltration in each column, indicating that a very low surfactant concentration is needed to reduce the LNAPL-water interfacial tension sufficiently enough to mobilize trapped LNAPL under unsaturated conditions. More LNAPL was recovered as additional steps of surfactant infiltration were applied. Up to 99% LNAPL was removed after six infiltration steps, with less than 2.0 PV of total surfactant solution application, suggesting surfactant infiltration may be an effective method for vadose zone LNAPL remediation. The influence of pH tested in this study (3.99~10.85) was insignificant because the buffering capacity of the sediment kept the pH in the column higher than the zero point charge, pHzpc, of the sediment and therefore the difference between surfactant sorption was negligible.

  12. Modeling water infiltration and pesticides transport in unsaturated zone of a sedimentary aquifer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sidoli, Pauline; Angulo-Jaramillo, Rafael; Baran, Nicole; Lassabatère, Laurent

    2015-04-01

    Groundwater quality monitoring has become an important environmental, economic and community issue since increasing needs drinking water at the same time with high anthropic pressure on aquifers. Leaching of various contaminants as pesticide into the groundwater is closely bound to water infiltration in the unsaturated zone which whom solute transport can occur. Knowledge's about mechanisms involved in the transfer of pesticides in the deep unsaturated zone are lacking today. This study aims to evaluate and to model leaching of pesticides and metabolites in the unsaturated zone, very heterogeneous, of a fluvio-glacial aquifer, in the South-East of France, where contamination of groundwater resources by pesticides is frequently observed as a consequence of intensive agricultural activities. Water flow and pesticide transport were evaluated from column tests under unsaturated conditions and from adsorption batch experiments onto the predominant lithofacies collected, composed of a mixture of sand and gravel. A maize herbicide, S-metolachlor, applied on the study site and worldwide and its two major degradation products (metolachlor ethanesulfonic acid and metolachlor oxanilic acid) were studied here. A conservative tracer, bromide ion, was used to determine water dispersive parameters of porous media. Elution curves were obtained from pesticide concentrations analyzed by an ultra-performance liquid chromatography system interfaced to a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer and from bromide concentrations measured by ionic chromatography system. Experimental data were implemented into Hydrus to model flow and solute transfer through a 1D profile in the vadose zone. Nonequilibrium solute transport model based on dual-porosity model with mobile and immobile water is fitting correctly elution curves. Water dispersive parameters show flow pattern realized in the mobile phase. Exchanges between mobile and immobile water are very limited. Because of low adsorptions onto

  13. New Hydrologic Insights to Advance Geophysical Investigation of the Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nimmo, J. R.; Perkins, K. S.

    2015-12-01

    Advances in hydrology require information from the unsaturated zone, especially for problems related to groundwater contamination, water-supply sustainability, and ecohydrology. Unsaturated-zone processes are notoriously difficult to quantify; soils and rocks are visually opaque, spatially variable in the extreme, and easily disturbed by instrument installation. Thus there is great value in noninvasive techniques that produce water-related data of high density in space and time. Methods based on resistivity and electromagnetic waves have already produced significant new understanding of percolation processes, root-zone water retention, influences of evapotranspiration on soil-water, and effects of preferential flow. Further developments are underway for such purposes as noninvasive application to greater depths, increased resolution, adaptation for lab-scale experiments, and calibration in heterogeneous media. Beyond these, however, there is need for a stronger marriage of hydrologic and geophysical knowledge and perspective. Possible means to greater and faster progress include: Apply the latest hydrologic understanding, both pore-scale and macroscopic, to the detection of preferential flow paths and their degree of activation. In the continuing advancement of hardware and techniques, draw creatively from developments in such fields as high-energy physics, medical imaging, astrogeology, high-tech semiconductors, and bioinstrumentation. Sidestep the imaging process where possible to measure essential properties and fluxes more directly. Pose questions that have a strong end-use character, like "how does storm intensity relate to aquifer recharge rate" rather than "what is the shape of the wetting front". The greatest advances in geophysical investigation of the unsaturated zone will come from methods informed by the latest understanding of unsaturated systems and processes, and aimed as directly as possible at the answers to important hydrologic questions.

  14. Evolution of the unsaturated zone testing at Yucca Mountain.

    PubMed

    Wang, J S Y; Bodvarsson, G S

    2003-01-01

    The evaluation of the Yucca Mountain site has evolved from intensive surface-based investigations in the early 1980s to current focus on testing in underground drifts. Different periods of site characterization activities and prominent issues concerning the unsaturated zone (UZ) are summarized. Data collection activities have evolved from mapping of faults and fractures to estimation of percolation through tuff layers, and to quantification of seepage into drifts. Evaluation of discrete flow paths in drifts has led to fracture-matrix interaction and matrix diffusion tests over different scales. The effects of tuff interfaces and local faults are evaluated in fractured-welded and porous-nonwelded units. Mobilization of matrix water and redistribution of moisture are measured in thermal tests. Lessons learned from underground tests are used to focus on processes needed for additional quantification. Migration through the drift shadow zone and liquid flow through faults are two important issues that have evolved from current knowledge. PMID:12714299

  15. Evolution of the unsaturated zone testing at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Wang, J.S.Y.; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    2002-09-01

    The evaluation of the Yucca Mountain site has evolved from intensive surface based investigations in the early 1980s to current focus on testing in underground drifts. Different periods of site-characterization activities and prominent issues concerning the unsaturated zone are summarized. Data-collection activities have evolved from mapping of faults and fractures, to estimation of percolation through tuff layers, and to quantification of seepage into drifts. Evaluation of discrete flow paths in drifts has led to fracture-matrix interaction and matrix diffusion tests over different scales. The effects of tuff interfaces and local faults are evaluated in fractured-welded and porous-nonwelded units. Mobilization of matrix water and redistribution of moisture are measured in thermal tests. Lessons learned from underground tests are used to focus on processes needed for additional quantification. Migration through the drift shadow zone and liquid flow through faults are two important issues that have evolved from current knowledge.

  16. Geophysical borehole logging in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schimschal, Ulrich; Nelson, Philip H.

    1991-01-01

    Borehole geophysical logging for site characterization in the volcanic rocks at the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, requires data collection under rather unusual conditions. Logging tools must operate in rugose, dry holes above the water table in the unsaturated zone. Not all logging tools will operate in this environment, therefore; careful consideration must be given to selection and calibration. A sample suite of logs is presented that demonstrates correlation of geological formations from borehole to borehole, the definition of zones of altered mineralogy, and the quantitative estimates of rock properties. We show the results of an exploratory calculation of porosity and water saturation based upon density and epithermal neutron logs. Comparison of the results with a few core samples is encouraging, particularly because the logs can provide continuous data in boreholes where core samples are not available.

  17. 40 CFR 265.278 - Unsaturated zone (zone of aeration) monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... soils nearby; this background monitoring must be conducted before or in conjunction with the monitoring... a minimum: (1) Soil monitoring using soil cores, and (2) Soil-pore water monitoring using devices... demonstrate in his unsaturated zone monitoring plan that: (1) The depth at which soil and soil-pore...

  18. 40 CFR 265.278 - Unsaturated zone (zone of aeration) monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... soils nearby; this background monitoring must be conducted before or in conjunction with the monitoring... a minimum: (1) Soil monitoring using soil cores, and (2) Soil-pore water monitoring using devices... demonstrate in his unsaturated zone monitoring plan that: (1) The depth at which soil and soil-pore...

  19. 40 CFR 265.278 - Unsaturated zone (zone of aeration) monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... soils nearby; this background monitoring must be conducted before or in conjunction with the monitoring... a minimum: (1) Soil monitoring using soil cores, and (2) Soil-pore water monitoring using devices... demonstrate in his unsaturated zone monitoring plan that: (1) The depth at which soil and soil-pore...

  20. 40 CFR 265.278 - Unsaturated zone (zone of aeration) monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... soils nearby; this background monitoring must be conducted before or in conjunction with the monitoring... a minimum: (1) Soil monitoring using soil cores, and (2) Soil-pore water monitoring using devices... demonstrate in his unsaturated zone monitoring plan that: (1) The depth at which soil and soil-pore...

  1. 40 CFR 265.278 - Unsaturated zone (zone of aeration) monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... soils nearby; this background monitoring must be conducted before or in conjunction with the monitoring... a minimum: (1) Soil monitoring using soil cores, and (2) Soil-pore water monitoring using devices... demonstrate in his unsaturated zone monitoring plan that: (1) The depth at which soil and soil-pore...

  2. A Research Park for Studying Processes in Unsaturated Fractured Media

    SciTech Connect

    Kristine Baker; Travis McLing; Leah Street; Annette Schafer; Shannon Ansley; Larry Hull; Robert Holt

    2005-01-01

    A field research site has been developed to explore the combined use of physical experiments and mathematical modeling to analyze large-scale infiltration and chemical transport through the unsaturated media overlying the Snake River Plain Aquifer in southeastern Idaho. This site offers opportunities to observe water and contaminant migration influenced by fluid dynamics and microbial activity through heterogeneous-porous and fractured media. At many waste disposal facilities, the presence of toxic or radioactive wastes between the land surface and underlying aquifers poses a serious and ongoing threat to public health and safety. To reduce the risk associated with these industrial and Cold War by-products, a combination of remediation and long-term monitoring will be required.

  3. Colloid suspension stability and transport through unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    McGraw, M.A.; Kaplan, D.I.

    1997-04-01

    Contaminant transport is traditionally modeled in a two-phase system: a mobile aqueous phase and an immobile solid phase. Over the last 15 years, there has been an increasing awareness of a third, mobile solid phase. This mobile solid phase, or mobile colloids, are organic or inorganic submicron-sized particles that move with groundwater flow. When colloids are present, the net effect on radionuclide transport is that radionuclides can move faster through the system. It is not known whether mobile colloids exist in the subsurface environment of the Hanford Site. Furthermore, it is not known if mobile colloids would likely exist in a plume emanating from a Low Level Waste (LLW) disposal site. No attempt was made in this study to ascertain whether colloids would form. Instead, experiments and calculations were conducted to evaluate the likelihood that colloids, if formed, would remain in suspension and move through saturated and unsaturated sediments. The objectives of this study were to evaluate three aspects of colloid-facilitated transport of radionuclides as they specifically relate to the LLW Performance Assessment. These objectives were: (1) determine if the chemical conditions likely to exist in the near and far field of the proposed disposal site are prone to induce flocculation (settling of colloids from suspension) or dispersion of naturally occurring Hanford colloids, (2) identify the important mechanisms likely involved in the removal of colloids from a Hanford sediment, and (3) determine if colloids can move through unsaturated porous media.

  4. Aspects of hysteresis in unsaturated porous media flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Duijn, Hans

    2016-04-01

    About 20 years ago, Peter Raats and I wrote a technical note related to the horizontal redistribution in unsaturated porous media with hysteresis in the capillary pressure (P.A.C. Raats & C.J. van Duijn, A note on horizontal redistribution with capillary hysteresis, WWR 31, p. 231-232, 1995). In the first part of my presentation, I will revisit the results of that paper. In particular the cases of unconventional flow, where the water flows from the dry region to the wet region. A comparison will be made with results obtained with the current interface area models as introduced by Gray & Hassanizadeh. I will explain and outline the differences. In the second part, travelling wave solutions of Richards equation with gravity and with hysteresis in both the capillary pressure and relative permeability will be discussed. It will be explained why such solutions oscillate in space-time and how they behave as the hysteresis regularization vanishes.

  5. Noninvasive Quantitative Measurement of Bacterial Growth in Porous Media under Unsaturated-Flow Conditions †

    PubMed Central

    Yarwood, R. R.; Rockhold, M. L.; Niemet, M. R.; Selker, J. S.; Bottomley, P. J.

    2002-01-01

    Glucose-dependent growth of the luxCDABE reporter bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens HK44 was monitored noninvasively in quartz sand under unsaturated-flow conditions within a 45- by 56- by 1-cm two-dimensional light transmission chamber. The spatial and temporal development of growth were mapped daily over 7 days by quantifying salicylate-induced bioluminescence. A nonlinear model relating the rate of increase in light emission after salicylate exposure to microbial density successfully predicted growth over 4 orders of magnitude (r2 = 0.95). Total model-predicted growth agreed with growth calculated from the mass balance of the system by using previously established growth parameters of HK44 (predicted, 1.2 × 1012 cells; calculated, 1.7 × 1012 cells). Colonization expanded in all directions from the inoculation region, including upward migration against the liquid flow. Both the daily rate of expansion of the colonized zone and the population density of the first day's growth in each newly colonized region remained relatively constant throughout the experiment. Nonetheless, substantial growth continued to occur on subsequent days in the older regions of the colonized zone. The proportion of daily potential growth that remained within the chamber declined progressively between days 2 and 7 (from 97 to 13%). A densely populated, anoxic region developed in the interior of the colonized zone even though the sand was unsaturated and fresh growth medium continued to flow through the colonized zone. These data illustrate the potential of a light transmission chamber, bioluminescent bacteria, and sensitive digital camera technology to noninvasively study real-time hydrology-microbiology interactions associated with unsaturated flow in porous media. PMID:12089048

  6. Noninvasive Quantitative Measurement of Bacterial Growth in Porous Media Under Unsaturated-Flow Conditions

    SciTech Connect

    Yarwood, Rocky; Rockhold, Mark L. ); Niemet, Mike; Selker, John S.; Bottomley, Peter J.

    2002-07-01

    Glucose-dependent growth of the luxCDABE reporter bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens HK44 was monitored noninvasively in quartz sand under unsaturated-flow conditions within a 45- by 56- by 1-cm two-dimensional light transmission chamber. The spatial and temporal development of growth were mapped daily over 7 days by quantifying salicylate-induced bioluminescence. A nonlinear model relating the rate of increase in light emission after salicylate exposure to microbial density successfully predicted growth over 4 orders of magnitude (r{sup 2}=0.95). Total model-predicted growth agreed with growth calculated from the mass balance of the system by using previously determined growth parameters of HK44 (predicted, 1.2 x 10{sup 12} cells; calculated, 1.7 x 10{sup 12} cells). Colonization expanded in all directions from the inoculation region, including upward migration against the liquid flow. Both the daily rate of expansion of the colonized zone and the population density of the first day's growth in each newly colonized region remained relatively constant throughout the experiment. Nonetheless, substantial growth continued to occur on subsequent days in the older regions of the colonized zone. The proportion of daily potential growth that remained within the chamber declined progressively between days 2 and 7 (from 97 to 13%). A densely populated, anoxic region developed in the interior of the colonized zone even though the sand was unsaturated and fresh growth medium continued to flow through the colonized zone. These data illustrate the potential of a light transmission chamber, bioluminescent bacteria, and sensitive digital camera technology to noninvasively study real-time hydrology-microbiology interactions associated with unsaturated flow in porous media.

  7. 2D experiments for characterizing solute dispersion in unsaturated heterogeneous porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jimenez-Martinez, J.; De Anna, P.; Turuban, R.; Tabuteau, H.; Le Borgne, T.; Meheust, Y.

    2012-12-01

    The unsaturated zone plays a key role in the transfer of chemical elements from the surface to the subsurface. Yet, predicting the transport of chemical species through unsaturated porous media is still an open issue. The distribution of water and air clusters creates flow paths that are controlled by the water saturation, with the feature of a large velocity distribution. As saturation decreases, very low velocity zones in regions of trapped fluid coexist with connected fluid clusters with relatively high velocities. As a consequence the dispersion of solute elements strongly depends on the saturation degree. Numerical simulations of unsaturated flows at the pore scale are feasible, but to our knowledge no simulation of solute transport in the water phase during two-phase flow has been achieved yet. Due to technical difficulties, there also exists relatively few laboratory experiments that allow for visualization and quantification of unsaturated flow and transport at the pore scale. We have developed a two-dimensional (2D) horizontal set up, built by lithographic technique and in which a joint injection of the two phases (wetting and non-wetting) provides a controlled homogeneous saturation in the medium. The simultaneous precise measurement of the flow field, the spatial distribution of water and air, and the 2D tracer concentration field, as well as breakthrough curves at different locations, are used to investigate the relationship between the flow field complexity (velocity distribution and its correlation properties) and dispersion properties. Experimental results show non-Fickian transport behaviors, characterized by heavy tailed breakthrough curves, whose characteristics depend on the average saturation.

  8. Effects of thermal vapor diffusion on seasonal dynamics of water in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Milly, P.C.D.

    1996-01-01

    The response of water in the unsaturated zone to seasonal changes of temperature (T) is determined analytically using the theory of nonisothermal water transport in porous media, and the solutions are tested against field observations of moisture potential and bomb fallout isotopic (36Cl and3H) concentrations. Seasonally varying land surface temperatures and the resulting subsurface temperature gradients induce thermal vapor diffusion. The annual mean vertical temperature gradient is close to zero: however, the annual mean thermal vapor flux is downward, because the temperature-dependent vapor diffusion coefficient is larger, on average, during downward diffusion (occurring at high T) than during upward diffusion (low T). The annual mean thermal vapor flux is shown to decay exponentially with depth; the depth (about 1 m) at which it decays to ??-1 of its surface value is one half of the corresponding decay depth for the amplitude of seasonal temperature changes. This depth-dependent annual mean flux is effectively a source of water, which must be balanced by a flux divergence associated with other transport processes. In a relatively humid environment the liquid fluxes greatly exceed the thermal vapor fluxes, so such a balance is readily achieved without measurable effect on the dynamics of water in the unsaturated zone. However, if the mean vertical water flux through the unsaturated zone is very small (<1 mm y-1), as it may be at many locations in a desert landscape, the thermal vapor flux must be balanced mostly by a matric-potential-induced upward flux of water. This return flux may include both vapor and liquid components. Below any near-surface zone of weather- related fluctuations of matric potential, maintenance of this upward flux requires an increase with depth in the annual mean matric potential; this theoretical prediction is supported by long-term field measurements in the Chihuahuan Desert. The analysis also makes predictions, confirmed by the field

  9. How important is the unsaturated zone in the terrestrial nitrogen budget?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ascott, Matthew; Wang, Lei; Ward, Robert; Stuart, Marianne

    2015-04-01

    Inputs of nitrogen to agricultural land have had significant effects on aquatic and marine ecosystems through eutrophication, algal blooms and habitat loss. In order to manage this problem, terrestrial nitrogen budgets at the national scale have been developed. However, explicit representation of nitrate transport in the subsurface is seldom considered. Using derived estimates of unsaturated zone travel time and nitrate loading at the base of the soil zone, we quantify the total mass of nitrate held in in the unsaturated zone of aquifers in the United Kingdom. In the unsaturated zone of moderate and highly productive aquifers of the UK this is estimated to have peaked in 2008 at 1400 kt N; substantially greater than previous approximations. Currently 70% of the nitrate mass in the unsaturated zone is in the Chalk, with the remainder split between the Permo-Triassic Sandstones, Oolitic Limestones and other less important aquifers. The UK unsaturated zone is now a source of nitrate and in 2014 we estimate the net nitrate flux from the unsaturated zone to groundwater and surface water to be approximately 70 kt N a-1. The mass of nitrate in the unsaturated zone should be considered in future terrestrial nitrogen budgets to improve national scale ecosystem management.

  10. Oxygen profiling of the unsaturated zone using direct push drilling.

    PubMed

    Sopilniak, A; Elkayam, R; Lev, O; Elad, T

    2015-09-01

    A methodology for oxygen profile measurements in the unsaturated zone is developed based on direct push drilling using sampling liners equipped with homemade silicone septa. The oxygen measurement is carried out by puncturing the septum with a commercial retractable optode needle fitted with a fluorescent tip. Metrological characteristics and method validation were carried out under laboratory conditions using different levels of oxygen and various water contents. The relative standard deviations under dry and water saturated soil conditions were less than 0.3% and 5% for 0.5 mg L(-1) of oxygen and less than 2% and 3% for 9 mg L(-1). Field demonstrations in a calcareous-sandstone soil aquifer treatment system with a layered clayey, marl and sandstone lithology of widely different water contents provided down to 30 m deep profiles of the dissolved oxygen level with less than 1.5 m spatial resolution. A single sensor was used for over 50 field measurements, though recalibration was required after approximately 30 measurements due to the deterioration of the fluorescent tip. PMID:26245519

  11. Numerical Simulation of Moisture Flux in Deep Unsaturated Zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooper, C.; Young, M.; Sharpe, S.; Miller, J.

    2003-04-01

    Understanding the rate and direction of liquid water movement in the valley fill sediments in the northern Mojave Desert (USA) is important for understanding groundwater recharge and near-surface soil water budgets. In some areas, the upward hydraulic gradient in the unsaturated zone drives liquid water upward. We used the multiphase, multicomponent simulator TOUGH2 to identify hydraulic processes and their magnitudes controlling liquid and vapor flux through a 250 m, one-dimensional column of unconsolidated sediment. Ten samples of unconsolidated sediment were collected from depths ranging from land surface to 31 m below land surface. The samples were repacked to original bulk density and analyzed for unsaturated hydraulic properties using an open-flow centrifuge. In the model, evaporation was simulated by prescribing the gas phase pressure at a thin, highly permeable "atmospheric" grid block at the land surface with zero relative humidity. The rest of the column was initially prescribed a gas pressure that was the sum of the ambient dry air pressure and the saturated vapor pressure at the assumed temperature. Root water uptake was modeled using the reservoir-engineering concept of a productivity index for a well, where the root operated against a slight, constant, prescribed pressure less than the reference atmospheric pressure. A 24,000-year precipitation sequence, generated from biotic distributions (e.g. ostracodes and pack-rat middens), was prescribed at the upper boundary. For our initial and boundary conditions, the simulations show that liquid flow is upward with velocities ranging between zero and 5 x 10-5 mm yr-1, depending on depth below ground surface. The zero flux plane fluctuates in depth between 14 and 17 meters, below which liquid flow is downward. In the absence of plants, liquid flow is downward throughout the entire profile and simulation period. Our simulations show that the "memory" of the system is on the order of 10,000 years; that is, the

  12. Numerical study of variable-density flow and transport in unsaturated-saturated porous media.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yi; Kuang, Xingxing; Jiao, Jiu Jimmy; Li, Jiang

    2015-11-01

    Dense contaminant or solute transport in the unsaturated-saturated aquifer commonly exists in the natural environment. However, the influence of hydraulic properties of the unsaturated soil on penetration process of variable density flow in an unsaturated-saturated aquifer system is rarely investigated. In this study, a variable density, variably saturated flow and transport model based on FEFLOW is used to systematically investigate the penetration process of the solute through the unsaturated-saturated aquifer system, with a focus on the influence of the hydraulic parameters of the unsaturated soil on the penetration process. Vertical center of mass, and its speed and acceleration, are used to identify different stages of the penetration process through the unsaturated-saturated aquifer. The hydraulic parameters in the van Genuchten-Mualem model (VGM) affect the water content distribution in the unsaturated zone, subsequently the penetration time through the unsaturated zone. Through influencing the thickness of the transition zone (0.1-0.9 maximum concentration of the plume) when the plume reaches the water table, the hydraulic parameters affect the accumulation time of the solute at the boundary layer in the saturated zone. Thus, the process in not only the unsaturated but also the saturated zones is influenced by the change of the hydraulic properties of the unsaturated zone. Furthermore, the results show that the instabilities start to occur at the zone with high water content (90% of maximum saturation) in the capillary fringe. Freshwater intrudes into the zone with high water content when fingers are completely developed at the entire system. The length of freshwater intrusion above the water table has a negative correlation with the fitting parameter alpha in the VGM model. The influence of the density difference of the solute on the penetration processes is insignificant in the unsaturated zone but significant in the saturated zone. Sensitive analysis for

  13. Numerical study of variable-density flow and transport in unsaturated-saturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Yi; Kuang, Xingxing; Jiao, Jiu Jimmy; Li, Jiang

    2015-11-01

    Dense contaminant or solute transport in the unsaturated-saturated aquifer commonly exists in the natural environment. However, the influence of hydraulic properties of the unsaturated soil on penetration process of variable density flow in an unsaturated-saturated aquifer system is rarely investigated. In this study, a variable density, variably saturated flow and transport model based on FEFLOW is used to systematically investigate the penetration process of the solute through the unsaturated-saturated aquifer system, with a focus on the influence of the hydraulic parameters of the unsaturated soil on the penetration process. Vertical center of mass, and its speed and acceleration, are used to identify different stages of the penetration process through the unsaturated-saturated aquifer. The hydraulic parameters in the van Genuchten-Mualem model (VGM) affect the water content distribution in the unsaturated zone, subsequently the penetration time through the unsaturated zone. Through influencing the thickness of the transition zone (0.1-0.9 maximum concentration of the plume) when the plume reaches the water table, the hydraulic parameters affect the accumulation time of the solute at the boundary layer in the saturated zone. Thus, the process in not only the unsaturated but also the saturated zones is influenced by the change of the hydraulic properties of the unsaturated zone. Furthermore, the results show that the instabilities start to occur at the zone with high water content (90% of maximum saturation) in the capillary fringe. Freshwater intrudes into the zone with high water content when fingers are completely developed at the entire system. The length of freshwater intrusion above the water table has a negative correlation with the fitting parameter alpha in the VGM model. The influence of the density difference of the solute on the penetration processes is insignificant in the unsaturated zone but significant in the saturated zone. Sensitive analysis for

  14. Investigations of the unsaturated zone at two radioactive waste disposal sites in Lithuania.

    PubMed

    Skuratovič, Žana; Mažeika, Jonas; Petrošius, Rimantas; Martma, Tõnu

    2016-01-01

    The unsaturated zone is an important part of the water cycle, governed by many hydrological and hydrogeological factors and processes and provide water and nutrients to the terrestrial ecosystem. Besides, the soils of the unsaturated zone are regarded as the first natural barrier to a large extent and are able to limit the spread of contaminants depending on their properties. The unsaturated zone provides a linkage between atmospheric moisture, groundwater, and seepage of groundwater to streams, lakes, or other surface water bodies. The major difference between water flow in saturated and unsaturated soils is that the hydraulic conductivity, which is conventionally assumed to be a constant in saturated soils, is a function of the degree of saturation or matrix suction in the unsaturated soils. In Lithuania, low and intermediate level radioactive wastes generated from medicine, industry and research were accumulated at the Maisiagala radioactive waste repository. Short-lived low and intermediate levels radioactive waste, generated during the operation of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) and arising after the INPP decommissioning will be disposed of in the near surface repository close to the INPP (Stabatiske site). Extensive data sets of the hydraulic properties and water content attributed to unsaturated zone soil profiles of the two radioactive waste disposal sites have been collected and summarized. Globally widespread radionuclide tritium ((3)H) and stable isotope ratio ((18)O/(16)O and (2)H/(1)H) distribution features were determined in precipitation, unsaturated zone soil moisture profiles and groundwater. PMID:26586231

  15. Improvement of the hillslope-storage Boussinesq model by considering lateral flow in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kong, Jun; Shen, Chengji; Luo, Zhaoyang; Hua, Guofen; Zhao, Hongjun

    2016-04-01

    Unsaturated flow is an important factor that affects groundwater motion. Among various drainage models, the nonlinear Hillslope-storage Boussinesq (HSB) model has been commonly used to predict water flux along a slope. In this study, we improved this model by considering lateral flow in the unsaturated zone. Using modified van Genuchten functions, we analytically expressed the concept of equivalent propagation thickness in the vadose zone. This analytical expression was then incorporated into the HSB model to reflect two different stages of the drainage process and to simulate the hillslope drainage process more accurately. The model results indicated that lateral flow has significant effects in the unsaturated zone during the hillslope drainage process. Even in sandy aquifers, the amount of water contributed by the unsaturated zone is a key factor that enables a decrease in the water table during the middle and late stages of the process. A comparison between the measured and simulated results based on both convergent-type and divergent-type hillslope drainage processes revealed that the thickness of the saturated zone decreases as the unsaturated flow increases. This study emphasizes the necessity of considering unsaturated flow in the HSB model to improve the accuracy of predicting groundwater outflow rates and develop more accurate hydrographs. The concept of equivalent propagation thickness also provides a criterion for assessing the importance of unsaturated lateral flow for future drainage research.

  16. Understanding Fluid and Contaminant Movement in the Unsaturated Zone Using the INEEL Vadose Zone Monitoring System

    SciTech Connect

    Hubbell, J. M.; Mattson, E. D.; Sisson, J. B.; Magnuson, S. O.

    2002-02-26

    DOE has hundreds of contaminated facilities and waste sites requiring cleanup and/or long-term monitoring. These contaminated sites reside in unsaturated soils (i.e. the vadose zone) above the water table. Some of these sites will require active remediation activities or removal while other sites will be placed under institutional controls. In either case, evaluating the effectiveness of the remediation strategy or institutional controls will require monitoring. Classical monitoring strategies implemented at RCRA/CERCLA sites require ground water sampling for 30 years following closure. The overall effectiveness of ground water sampling is diminished due to the fact that by the time you detect chemical transport from a waste site, a major contamination plume likely exists in the vadose zone and the aquifer. This paper suggests a more effective monitoring strategy through monitoring near the contaminant sites within the vadose zone. Vadose zone monitoring allows for quicker detection of potential contaminant transport. The INEEL Vadose Zone Monitoring System (VZMS) is becoming an accepted, cost effective monitoring technology for assessing contaminant transport at DOE facilities. This paper describes the technologies employed in the VZMS and describes how it was used at several DOE facilities. The INEEL VZMS has provided the information in developing and validating both conceptual and risk assessment models of contaminant transport at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Savannah River Site (SRS) and the Hanford site. These DOE sites exhibit a broad range of meteorologic, hydrologic and geologic conditions representative of various common geologic environments. The VZMS is comprised of advanced tensiometers, water content sensors, temperature sensors and soil and gas samplers. These instruments are placed at multiple depths in boreholes and allows for the detection of water movement in the

  17. Storage and mobilization of natural and septic nitrate in thick unsaturated zones, California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Izbicki, John A.; Flint, Alan L.; O'Leary, David R.; Nishikawa, Tracy; Martin, Peter; Johnson, Russell D.; Clark, Dennis A.

    2015-05-01

    Mobilization of natural and septic nitrate from the unsaturated zone as a result of managed aquifer recharge has degraded water quality from public-supply wells near Yucca Valley in the western Mojave Desert, California. The effect of nitrate storage and potential for denitrification in the unsaturated zone to mitigate increasing nitrate concentrations were investigated. Storage of water extractable nitrate in unsaturated alluvium up to 160 meters (m) thick, ranged from 420 to 6600 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) as nitrogen (N) beneath undeveloped sites, from 6100 to 9200 kg/ha as N beneath unsewered sites. Nitrate reducing and denitrifying bacteria were less abundant under undeveloped sites and more abundant under unsewered sites; however, δ15N-NO3, and δ18O-NO3 data show only about 5-10% denitrification of septic nitrate in most samples-although as much as 40% denitrification occurred in some parts the unsaturated zone and near the top of the water table. Storage of nitrate in thick unsaturated zones and dilution with low-nitrate groundwater are the primary attenuation mechanisms for nitrate from septic discharges in the study area. Numerical simulations of unsaturated flow, using the computer program TOUGH2, showed septic effluent movement through the unsaturated zone increased as the number and density of the septic tanks increased, and decreased with increased layering, and increased slope of layers, within the unsaturated zone. Managing housing density can delay arrival of septic discharges at the water table, especially in layered unsaturated alluvium, allowing time for development of strategies to address future water-quality issues.

  18. Storage and mobilization of natural and septic nitrate in thick unsaturated zones, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Izbicki, John A.; Flint, Alan L.; O'Leary, David R.; Nishikawa, Tracy; Martin, Peter; Johnson, Russell D.; Clark, Dennis A.

    2015-01-01

    Mobilization of natural and septic nitrate from the unsaturated zone as a result of managed aquifer recharge has degraded water quality from public-supply wells near Yucca Valley in the western Mojave Desert, California. The effect of nitrate storage and potential for denitrification in the unsaturated zone to mitigate increasing nitrate concentrations were investigated. Storage of water extractable nitrate in unsaturated alluvium up to 160 meters (m) thick, ranged from 420 to 6600 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) as nitrogen (N) beneath undeveloped sites, from 6100 to 9200 kg/ha as N beneath unsewered sites. Nitrate reducing and denitrifying bacteria were less abundant under undeveloped sites and more abundant under unsewered sites; however, δ15N–NO3, and δ18O–NO3 data show only about 5–10% denitrification of septic nitrate in most samples—although as much as 40% denitrification occurred in some parts the unsaturated zone and near the top of the water table. Storage of nitrate in thick unsaturated zones and dilution with low-nitrate groundwater are the primary attenuation mechanisms for nitrate from septic discharges in the study area. Numerical simulations of unsaturated flow, using the computer program TOUGH2, showed septic effluent movement through the unsaturated zone increased as the number and density of the septic tanks increased, and decreased with increased layering, and increased slope of layers, within the unsaturated zone. Managing housing density can delay arrival of septic discharges at the water table, especially in layered unsaturated alluvium, allowing time for development of strategies to address future water-quality issues.

  19. Unsaturated zone arsenic distribution and implications for groundwater contamination.

    PubMed

    Reedy, Robert C; Scanlon, Bridget R; Nicot, Jean-Philippe; Tachovsky, J Andrew

    2007-10-15

    Arsenic compounds have been applied at the land surface as pesticides in agricultural areas globally. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the fate of anthropogenic arsenic applications related to agriculture, using arsenic applications on cotton in the southern High Plains (SHP), Texas, as a case study and examining possible linkages with contamination of the underlying Ogallala aquifer in this region, where 36% of wells exceed the new EPA 10 microg/L standard. Unsaturated zone soil samples were collected from boreholes beneath natural ecosystems (grassland/ shrubland) to provide a control (no arsenic application) (5 profiles) and cotton cropland (20 profiles) for analyses of water-extractable arsenic, vanadium, phosphate, chloride, and nitrate. Natural ecosystem profiles have high arsenic concentrations at depth (maximum of 7.2-69.6 microg As/ kg dry soil at 5.9-21.4 m depth) that are attributed to a geologic source. Most profiles beneath cotton cropland have high arsenic concentrations within the upper meter (profile means 1.7 to 31.6 microg/kg) that correlate with phosphate (r = 0.70, p < 0.01) and are attributed to anthropogenic arsenic application associated with phosphate fertilizer application. High arsenic concentrations at >1 m depth (profile means < or =36.3 microg/kg) found in cropland profiles are attributed to a geologic source because of similarity with profiles beneath natural ecosystems, lack of correlation with phosphate, and pore-water ages that predate anthropogenic arsenic application in many profiles. GIS analyses showed poor correlations between groundwater arsenic and percent cultivated land (r = -0.15, p < 0.01), groundwater nitrate (r = 0.30, p < 0.01), and water table depth (r= -0.31, p < 0.01), further supporting the idea that anthropogenic-derived arsenic in the shallow subsurface is not linked to groundwater arsenic contamination in this region. PMID:17993128

  20. Characterization of chloride transport in the unsaturated zone near salted road

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lax, Samanta; Peterson, Eric W.

    2009-09-01

    The application of road salts as deicing agents contributes to the anthropogenic loading of chloride (Cl-) on the environment. Using a 2D solute model, the potential of the unsaturated zone to serve as a reservoir and the mechanisms controlling the movement of Cl- were examined. Physical properties and initial pore-water Cl- concentrations were derived from an array of soil borings. Initial pore-water concentrations show the presence of a Cl- “slug” approximately 0.75 m below the surface. Simulations show that within the unsaturated zone, Cl- transport is predominantly vertical, driven by molecular diffusion. After a 1-year simulation, a Cl- slug similar to the background observation was noted. While Cl- is retained in the unsaturated zone, a net loss of Cl- from the unsaturated zone was simulated for the first 10 years. In year 11, an equilibrium between the Cl- input and output is achieved. The presence of Cl- in the unsaturated zone becomes a long-term source of chloride to the groundwater, which eventually discharges into the surface water. Historically, surface water chemistry data support the continual discharge of chloride to the surface water in the area, further supporting the hypothesis that the unsaturated zone serves as a Cl- reservoir.

  1. Apparent Anisotropic Diffusion of SF6 in a Deep Arid Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Green, C. T.; Walvoord, M. A.; Andraski, B. J.; Striegl, R. G.; Stonestrom, D. A.

    2014-12-01

    Gas transport in the unsaturated zone affects contaminant dispersal, remediation, interpretation of groundwater travel times from atmospheric tracers, and mass-budgets of environmentally important gases. Although deep unsaturated zone transport of gases is commonly treated as dominated by Fickian diffusion, previous observations at the Amargosa Desert Research Site have shown that the transport rates of various gas phase contaminants are faster than expected from standard models of diffusive transport. In this study, we use a multi-model approach to analyze results of a gas-tracer (SF6) test to clarify factors affecting gas transport in a deep unsaturated zone. Thirteen separate models with distinct diffusivity structures were calibrated to the tracer-test data. Models were compared on the basis of Akaike Information Criteria estimates of posterior model probability. The greatest posterior probability occurred for a model with significant anisotropy of diffusivity in addition to varying apparent diffusivity among vertically distributed sampling locations. Some horizontal diffusivities were greater than expected for purely diffusive transport, with values approaching free-air diffusivity (tortuosity ≈ 0.6 to 1). The magnitudes of the high apparent diffusivities were consistent with advective oscillations propagating through unsaturated-zone strata based on an analysis of barometric and unsaturated-zone air pressure time series. These results indicate that point source gases in layered unsaturated zones can spread laterally more quickly, and produce higher peak concentrations, than predicted by isotropic Fickian diffusion models.

  2. Time-series analysis for determining vertical air permeability in unsaturated zones

    SciTech Connect

    Lu, N.

    1999-01-01

    The air pressure in the unsaturated subsurface changes dynamically as the barometric pressure varies with time. Depending on the material properties and boundary conditions, the intensity of the correlation between the atmospheric and subsurface pressures may be evidenced in two persistent patterns: (1) the amplitude attenuation; and (2) the phase lag for the principal modes, such as the diurnal, semidiurnal, and 8-h tides. The amplitude attenuation and the phase lag generally depend on properties that can be classified into two categories: (1) The barometric pressure parameters, such as the apparent pressure amplitudes and frequencies controlled by the atmospheric tides and others; and (2) the material properties of porous media, such as the air viscosity, air-filled porosity, and permeability. Based on the principle of superposition and a Fourier time-series analysis, an analytical solution for predicting the subsurface air pressure variation caused by the atmospheric pressure fluctuation is presented. The air permeability (or pneumatic diffusivity) can be quantitatively determined by using the calculated amplitude attenuations (or phase lags) and the appropriate analytical relations among the parameters of the atmosphere and the porous medium. An analysis using the field data shows that the Fourier time-series analysis may provide a potentially reliable and simple method for predicting the subsurface barometric pressure variation and for determining the air permeability of unsaturated zones.

  3. Vapor-phase interactions and diffusion of organic solvents in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Roy, W.R.; Griffin, R.A.

    1990-01-01

    This article presents an analysis of the interactions and static movement of 37 organic solvents as vapors through the unsaturated soil zone. The physicochemical interactions of the organic vapors with unsaturated soil materials were emphasized with focus on diffusive, and adsorptive interactions. Fick's Law and porous media diffusion coefficients for most of the solvent vapors were either compiled or estimated; coefficients were not available for some of the fluorinated solvents. The adsorption of some of the solvent vapors by silica was concluded to be due to hydrogen bond formation with surface silanol groups. Heats of adsorption data for different adsorbents were also compiled. There were very few data on the adsorption of these solvent vapors by soils, but it appears that the magnitude of adsorption of nonpolar solvents is reduced as the relative humidity of the vapor-solid system is increased. Consequently, the interaction of the vapors may then separated into two processes; (1) gas-water partitioning described by Henry's Law constants, and (2) solid-water adsorption coefficients which may be estimated from liquid-solid partition coefficients (Kd values). ?? 1990 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.

  4. FITTING OF THE DATA FOR DIFFUSION COEFFICIENTS IN UNSATURATED POROUS MEDIA

    SciTech Connect

    B. Bullard

    1999-05-01

    The purpose of this calculation is to evaluate diffusion coefficients in unsaturated porous media for use in the TSPA-VA analyses. Using experimental data, regression techniques were used to curve fit the diffusion coefficient in unsaturated porous media as a function of volumetric water content. This calculation substantiates the model fit used in Total System Performance Assessment-1995 An Evaluation of the Potential Yucca Mountain Repository (TSPA-1995), Section 6.5.4.

  5. Impacts of thickening unsaturated zone on groundwater recharge in the North China Plain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cao, Guoliang; Scanlon, Bridget R.; Han, Dongmei; Zheng, Chunmiao

    2016-06-01

    Unsustainable groundwater development shown by rapid groundwater depletion in the North China Plain (NCP) underscores the need to quantify spatiotemporal variability in groundwater recharge for improved management of the resource. The objective of this study was to assess spatiotemporal variability in recharge in response to thickening of the unsaturated zone in the NCP. Recharge was estimated by linking a soil water balance (SWB) model, on the basis of monthly meteorological data, irrigation applications, and soil moisture monitoring data (1993-2008), to the water table using a deep unsaturated zone flow model. The dynamic bottom boundary (water table) position was provided by the saturated zone flow component, which simulates regional pumping. The model results clearly indicate the effects of unsaturated zone thickening on both temporal distribution and magnitude of recharge: smoothing temporal variability in recharge, and increasing unsaturated storage and lag time between percolation and recharge. The thickening unsaturated zone can result in average recharge reduction of up to ∼70% in loam soils with water table declines ⩾30 m. Declining groundwater levels with irrigation sourced by groundwater converts percolation to unsaturated zone storage, averaging 14 mm equivalent water depth per year in mostly loam soil over the study period, accounting for ∼30% of the saturated groundwater storage depletion. This study demonstrates that, in thickening unsaturated zones, modeling approaches that directly equate deep drainage with recharge will overestimate the amount and underestimate the time lag between percolation and recharge, emphasizing the importance of more realistic simulation of the continuity of unsaturated and saturated storage to provide more reliable estimates of spatiotemporal variability in recharge.

  6. Time-domain reflectometry probing systems for the monitoring of hydrological processes in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kallioras, A.; Khan, A.; Piepenbrink, M.; Pfletschinger, H.; Koniger, F.; Dietrich, P.; Schuth, C.

    2016-08-01

    Precise measurements of the downward movement of precipitation through the unsaturated zone, as well as return flow of moisture to the atmosphere via evaporation, have always been challenging in regard to in-situ monitoring techniques. This study investigates the profile of volumetric water-content fluctuations within the unsaturated zone through a combination of field techniques, including in-situ measurements of the volumetric porewater content at different depths using specially designed time-domain reflectometry (TDR) probes. The probes are installed through direct-push vibro-coring methods, at significant depths within the unsaturated zone, providing continuous readings of the soil-moisture content throughout the unsaturated column. The measured waveform is analyzed by using the inverse modeling approach resulting in an apparent relative dielectric permittivity profile of the surrounding medium along the TDR probe length. The approach sufficiently analyzes the mechanisms of water fluxes through significant depths within the unsaturated zone, which in turn can be used to quantify groundwater recharge at areas where the unsaturated zone hydrology plays a key role in the recharge of the underlying aquifers (such as arid and hydrologically sensitive areas). The approach was applied at an experimental field site in the Upper Rhine Valley, Germany.

  7. Time-domain reflectometry probing systems for the monitoring of hydrological processes in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kallioras, A.; Khan, A.; Piepenbrink, M.; Pfletschinger, H.; Koniger, F.; Dietrich, P.; Schuth, C.

    2016-05-01

    Precise measurements of the downward movement of precipitation through the unsaturated zone, as well as return flow of moisture to the atmosphere via evaporation, have always been challenging in regard to in-situ monitoring techniques. This study investigates the profile of volumetric water-content fluctuations within the unsaturated zone through a combination of field techniques, including in-situ measurements of the volumetric porewater content at different depths using specially designed time-domain reflectometry (TDR) probes. The probes are installed through direct-push vibro-coring methods, at significant depths within the unsaturated zone, providing continuous readings of the soil-moisture content throughout the unsaturated column. The measured waveform is analyzed by using the inverse modeling approach resulting in an apparent relative dielectric permittivity profile of the surrounding medium along the TDR probe length. The approach sufficiently analyzes the mechanisms of water fluxes through significant depths within the unsaturated zone, which in turn can be used to quantify groundwater recharge at areas where the unsaturated zone hydrology plays a key role in the recharge of the underlying aquifers (such as arid and hydrologically sensitive areas). The approach was applied at an experimental field site in the Upper Rhine Valley, Germany.

  8. Modeling transient streaming potentials in coupled saturated-unsaturated zone flow to a pumping well

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Malama, B.

    2012-12-01

    A semi-analytical model for transient response of streaming potentials (SP) to pumping in an unconfined aquifer, taking into account unsaturated zone flow, is presented. Flow in the unsaturated zone is modeled with a linearized Richards' equation with the moisture retention curve and unsaturated hydraulic conduc- tivity assumed to be exponential functions of matric potential. For the case presented here, the same sorption number is assumed for moisture retention and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. The ratio of the unsaturated to satu- rated electrokinetic coupling coefficient is described by Cℓ,r = kr Sw-(d+1), where kr is relative hydraulic conductivity, Sw is saturation, and d is Archie's second exponent. Hence, based on the assumption of an exponential moisture retention curve, Cℓ,r is also an exponential function of matric potential. Model predicted responses in the saturated and unsaturated zones are compared with measured SP responses to pumping in a bench-scale experimental setup that simulates a radially bounded unconfined aquifer. Potential for using SP responses to esti- mate saturated and unsaturated hydraulic parameters is evaluated. Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04- 94AL85000. This research is funded by WIPP programs administered by the Office of Environmental Management (EM) of the U.S Department of Energy.

  9. Nonlinear dynamics in flow through unsaturated fractured-porous media: Status and perspectives

    SciTech Connect

    Faybishenko, Boris

    2002-11-27

    The need has long been recognized to improve predictions of flow and transport in partially saturated heterogeneous soils and fractured rock of the vadose zone for many practical applications, such as remediation of contaminated sites, nuclear waste disposal in geological formations, and climate predictions. Until recently, flow and transport processes in heterogeneous subsurface media with oscillating irregularities were assumed to be random and were not analyzed using methods of nonlinear dynamics. The goals of this paper are to review the theoretical concepts, present the results, and provide perspectives on investigations of flow and transport in unsaturated heterogeneous soils and fractured rock, using the methods of nonlinear dynamics and deterministic chaos. The results of laboratory and field investigations indicate that the nonlinear dynamics of flow and transport processes in unsaturated soils and fractured rocks arise from the dynamic feedback and competition between various nonlinear physical processes along with complex geometry of flow paths. Although direct measurements of variables characterizing the individual flow processes are not technically feasible, their cumulative effect can be characterized by analyzing time series data using the models and methods of nonlinear dynamics and chaos. Identifying flow through soil or rock as a nonlinear dynamical system is important for developing appropriate short- and long-time predictive models, evaluating prediction uncertainty, assessing the spatial distribution of flow characteristics from time series data, and improving chemical transport simulations. Inferring the nature of flow processes through the methods of nonlinear dynamics could become widely used in different areas of the earth sciences.

  10. Quantification of groundwater recharge through application of pilot techniques in the unsaturated zone.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kallioras, Andreas; Piepenbrink, Matthias; Schuth, Christoph; Pfletschinger, Heike; Dietrich, Peter; Koeniger, Franz; Rausch, Randolf

    2010-05-01

    Accurate determination of groundwater recharge is a key issue for the "smart mining" of groundwater resources. Groundwater recharge estimation techniques depend on the investigated hydrologic zone, and therefore main approaches are based on (a) unsaturated zone, (b) saturated zone and (c) surface water studies. This research contributes to the determination of groundwater recharge by investigating the infiltration of groundwater through the unsaturated zone. The investigations are conducted through the application of a combination of different pilot field as well as lab techniques. The field techniques include the installation of specially designed Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) sensors, at different depths within the unsaturated zone for in-situ and continuous measurements of the volumetric pore water content. Additionally, the extraction of pore water -for analysis of its isotopic composition- from multilevel undisturbed soil samples through significant depths within the unsaturated zone column, enables the dating of the groundwater age through the determination of its isotopic composition. The in-situ investigation of the unsaturated zone is complemented by the determination of high resolution temperature profiles. The installation of the pilot TDR sensors is achieved by using direct push methods at significant depths within the unsaturated zone, providing continuous readings of the soil moisture content. The direct push methods are also ideal for multilevel sampling of undisturbed -without using any drilling fluids which affect the isotopic composition of the containing pore water- soil and consequent extraction of the included pore water for further isotopic determination. The pore water is extracted by applying the method of azeotropic distillation; a method which has the least isotopic fractionation effects on groundwater samples. The determination of different isotopic signals such as 18O, 2H, 3H, and 36Cl, aims to the investigation of groundwater transit

  11. Percolation induced heat transfer in deep unsaturated zones

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lu, N.; LeCain, G.D.

    2003-01-01

    Subsurface temperature data from a borehole located in a desert wash were measured and used to delineate the conductive and advective heat transfer regimes, and to estimate the percolation quantity associated with the 1997-1998 El Ni??no precipitation. In an arid environment, conductive heat transfer dominates the variation of shallow subsurface temperature most of the time, except during sporadic precipitation periods. The subsurface time-varying temperature due to conductive heat transfer is highly correlated with the surface atmospheric temperature variation, whereas temperature variation due to advective heat transfer is strongly correlated with precipitation events. The advective heat transfer associated with precipitation and infiltration is the focus of this paper. Disruptions of the subsurface conductive temperature regime, associated with the 1997-1998 El Ni??no precipitation, were detected and used to quantify the percolation quantity. Modeling synthesis using a one-dimensional coupled heat and unsaturated flow model indicated that a percolation per unit area of 0.7 to 1.3 m height of water in two weeks during February 1998 was responsible for the observed temperature deviations down to a depth of 35.2 m. The reported study demonstrated quantitatively, for the first time, that the near surface temperature variation due to advective heat transfer can be significant at a depth greater than 10 m in unsaturated soils and can be used to infer the percolation amount in thick unsaturated soils.

  12. Disposal of high-level radioactive wastes in the unsaturated zone: Technical considerations and response to comments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hackbarth, C. J.; Nicholson, T. J.; Evans, D. D.

    1985-10-01

    On July 22, 1985, the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) promulgated amendments to 10 CFR Part 60 concerning disposal of high level radioactive waste (HLW) in geologic repositories in the unsaturated zone (50 FR 29641). The principal technical issues considered by the NRC staff during the development of these amendments was discussed. Certain technical discussions originally presented in draft NUREG-1046 were revised based on public comment letters and an increasing understanding of the physical, geochemical, and hydrological processes operative in unsaturated geologic media. The following issues related to disposal of HLW within the unsaturated zone were discussed: hydrogeologic properties and conditions, heat dissipation and temperature, geochemistry, retrievability, potential for exhumation of the radioactive waste by natural causes and by human intrusion, the effects of future climatic changes on the level of the regional water table, and transport of radionuclides in the gaseous state. On July 22, 1985, the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) promulgated amendments to 10 CFR meter depth for waste emplacement, limitations on exploratory boreholes, backfill requirements, waste package design criteria, and provisions for ventilation.

  13. Pore-scale mechanisms for the enhancement of mixing in unsaturated porous media and implications for chemical reactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiménez-Martínez, Joaquín.; Anna, Pietro de; Tabuteau, Hervé; Turuban, Régis; Borgne, Tanguy Le; Méheust, Yves

    2015-07-01

    Porous media in which different fluid phases coexist are common in nature (e.g., vadose zone and gas-oil reservoirs). In partially saturated porous media, the intricate spatial distributions of the wetting and nonwetting phases causes their flow to be focused onto preferential paths. Using a novel 2-D experimental setup allowing pore-scale measurement of concentration fields in a controlled unsaturated flow, we highlight mechanisms by which mixing of an invading fluid with the resident fluid is significantly enhanced when decreasing saturation. The mean scalar dissipation rate is observed to decrease slowly in time, while under saturated conditions it decays rapidly. This slow decrease is due to sustained longitudinal solute fingering, which causes concentration gradients to remain predominantly transverse to the average flow. Consequently, the effective reactivity is found to be much larger than under saturated conditions. These results provide new insights into the role that multiphase flows play on mixing/reaction in porous media.

  14. Data from a thick unsaturated zone in Joshua Tree, San Bernardino County, California, 2007--09

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Burgess, Matthew; Izbicki, John; Teague, Nicholas; O'Leary, David R.; Clark, Dennis; Land, Michael

    2012-01-01

    Data were collected on the physical properties of unsaturated alluvial deposits, the chemical composition of leachate extracted from unsaturated alluvial deposits, the chemical and isotopic composition of groundwater and unsaturated-zone water, and the chemical composition of unsaturated-zone gas at four monitoring sites in the southwestern part of the Mojave Desert in the town of Joshua Tree, San Bernardino County, California. The presence of denitrifying and nitrate-reducing bacteria from unsaturated alluvial deposits was evaluated for two of these monitoring sites that underlie unsewered residential development. Four unsaturated-zone monitoring sites were installed in the Joshua Tree area—two in an unsewered residential development and two adjacent to a proposed artificial-recharge site in an undeveloped area. The two boreholes in residential development areas were installed by using the ODEX air-hammer method. One borehole was drilled through the unsaturated zone to a depth of 541 ft (feet) below land surface; a well screened across the water table was installed. Groundwater was sampled from this well. The second borehole was drilled to a depth of 81 ft below land surface. Drilling procedures, lithologic and geophysical data, construction details, and instrumentation placed in these boreholes are described. Core material was analyzed for water content, bulk density, matric potential, particle size, and water retention. The leachate from over 500 subsamples of cores and cuttings was analyzed for soluble anions, including fluoride, sulfate, bromide, chloride, nitrate, nitrite, and orthophosphate. Groundwater was analyzed for major ions, inorganic compounds, select trace elements, and isotopic composition. Unsaturated-zone water from suction-cup lysimeters was analyzed for major ions, inorganic compounds, select trace elements, and isotopic composition. Unsaturated-zone gas samples were analyzed for argon, oxygen, nitrogen, methane, carbon dioxide, ethane

  15. Impact of microbial growth on water flow and solute transport in unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Yarwood, R. R.; Rockhold, M. L.; Niemet, M. R.; Selker, John S.; Bottomley, Peter J.

    2006-10-05

    A novel analytical method was developed that permitted real-time, noninvasive measurements of microbial growth and associated changes in hydrodynamic properties in porous media under unsaturated flowing conditions. Salicylate-induced, lux gene-based bioluminescence was used to quantify the temporal and spatial development of colonization over a seven day time course. Water contents were determined daily by measuring light transmission through the system. Hydraulic flow paths were determined daily by pulsing a bromophenol blue dye solution through the colonized region of the sand. Bacterial growth and accumulation had a significant impact on the hydraulic properties of the porous media. Microbial colonization caused localized drying within the colonized zone, with decreases in saturation approaching 50% of antecedent values, and a 25% lowering of the capillary fringe height. Flow was retarded within the colonized zone and diverted around it. The apparent solute velocity through the colonized region was reduced from 0.41 cm min 1 (R2 = 0.99) to 0.25 cm min 1 (R2 = 0.99) by the sixth day of the experiment, associated with maximum population densities that would occupy about 7% of the available pore space within the colonized region. Changes in the extent of colonization occurred over the course of the experiment, including upward migration against flow. The distribution of cells was not determined by water flow alone, but rather by a dynamic interaction between water flow and microbial growth. This experimental system provides rich data sets for the testing of conceptualizations expressed through numerical modeling.

  16. Review of ground-water flow and transport models in the unsaturated zone

    SciTech Connect

    Oster, C.A.

    1982-11-01

    Models of partially saturated flow and transport in porous media have application in the analysis of existing as well as future low-level radioactive waste facilities located above the water table. An extensive literature search along with telephone and mail correspondence with recognized leading experts in the field, was conducted to identify computer models suitable for studies of low-level radioactive waste facilities located in the unsaturated zone. Fifty-five existing models were identified as potentially useful. Ten of these models were selected for further examination. This report contains a statement of the ground-water flow-contaminant transport problem, a discussion of those methods used to reduce the physical problem to a computer model, a brief discussion about the data requirements of these models. The procedure used to select the ten codes for further discussion is given, along with a list of these models. Finally, the Appendices contain the data about the fifty-five codes examined. Specifically Appendix D contains the detailed discussion of each of the ten selected codes. Included in each discussion are such items which a potential user requires in determining whether the code is suitable for his applications. Appendix E contains brief summary information about each of the fifty-five codes. Included in the summaries are identification data, authors, pertinent references, and model type.

  17. Gas flow to a barometric pumping well in a multilayer unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    You, Kehua; Zhan, Hongbin; Li, Jian

    2011-05-01

    When an open well is installed in an unsaturated zone, gas can flow between the subsurface and the well depending on the gas pressure gradient near the well. This well is called a barometric pumping well (BPW). Quantifying gas flow rate to and from a BPW is indispensable to optimize the passive soil vapor extraction in remediation of volatile organic compounds in the unsaturated zone. This study presents a two-dimensional (2-D) semianalytical solution for a multilayer unsaturated zone (ML solution) to determine gas flow rate to and from a BPW. The gas flow rate is approximated by a decomposing method frequently used in previous studies, that is, first solving the one-dimensional (1-D) vertical flow equation in response to the surface barometric pressure fluctuations and then superimposing this solution on that of the 1-D horizontally radial flow equation. The error induced by this approximation is quantified by a 2-D numerical simulation for the first time in this study. Results show that the maximum error induced is 20% at the peak flow rates. The ML solution is demonstrated to be sufficient for predicting subsurface gas pressure and gas flow rate in a multilayer unsaturated zone by the barometric pumping test at the Hanford site.

  18. Predicting Unsaturated Zone Nitrogen Mass Balances in Agricultural Settings of the United States

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Unsaturated zone N fate and transport were evaluated at four sites to identify the predominant pathways of N cycling: an almond orchard and cornfield in the lower Merced River study basin, California (CA); and corn-soybean rotations in study basins at Maple Creek, Nebraska (NE) and at Morgan Creek, ...

  19. One Century of Unsaturated Zone Hydrology: Then, Now, But What Next?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Buckingham's 1907 paper on the movement of soil moisture is viewed by many as the foundation of unsaturated zone hydrology. Buckingham's work came at a time when most studies in soil physics focused on field soil water status, water retention, evaporation and especially the physical environment of p...

  20. COLLABORATION: INTERFACIAL SOIL CHEMISTRY OF RADIONUCLIDES IN THE UNSATURATED ZONE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Mobility of radionuclides (Cs+, Sr2+) in the vadose zone is controlled by sorptive interactions with natural soil particles. Weathering of silicates and intercalation of clay minerals with hydroxy -aluminum and -aluminosilicate species under the intense geochemical conditions in...

  1. 40 CFR 264.278 - Unsaturated zone monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... background plot having characteristics similar to those of the treatment zone. (2) Background soil-pore liquid values must be based on at least quarterly sampling for one year at a background plot...

  2. An analytical solution for transient radial flow through unsaturated fractured porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Wu, Yu-Shu; Pan, Lehua

    2004-02-13

    This paper presents analytical solutions for one-dimensional radial transient flow through horizontal, unsaturated fractured rock formation. In these solutions, unsaturated flow through fractured media is described by a linearized Richards' equation, while fracture-matrix interaction is handled using the dual-continuum concept. Although linearizing Richards' equation requires a specially correlated relationship between relative permeability and capillary pressure functions for both fractures and matrix, these specially formed relative permeability and capillary pressure functions are still physically meaningful. These analytical solutions can thus be used to describe the transient behavior of unsaturated flow in fractured media under the described model conditions. They can also be useful in verifying numerical simulation results, which, as demonstrated in this paper, are otherwise difficult to validate.

  3. Mineral carbonation in water-unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harrison, A. L.; Dipple, G. M.; Mayer, K. U.; Power, I. M.

    2014-12-01

    Ultramafic mine tailings have an untapped capacity to sequester CO2 directly from air or CO2-rich gas streams via carbonation of tailings minerals [1]. The CO2 sequestration capacity of these sites could be exploited simply by increasing the supply of CO2 into tailings, such as through circulation of air or flue gas from mine site power plants [1,2]. Mine tailings storage facilities typically have heterogeneously distributed pore water [1], affecting both the reactive capacity of the porous medium and the exposure of reactive phases to CO2 [3]. We examine the physical reaction processes that govern carbonation efficiency in variably saturated porous media using meter-scale column experiments containing the tailings mineral, brucite [Mg(OH)2], that were supplied with 10% CO2 gas streams. The experiments were instrumented with water content and gas phase CO2 sensors to track changes in water saturation and CO2concentration with time. The precipitation of hydrated Mg-carbonates as rinds encasing brucite particles resulted in passivation of brucite surfaces and an abrupt shut down of the reaction prior to completion. Moreover, the extent of reaction was further limited at low water saturation due to the lack of water available to form hydrated Mg-carbonates, which incorporate water into their crystal structures. Reactive transport modeling using MIN3P-DUSTY [4] revealed that the instantaneous reaction rate was not strongly affected by water saturation, but the reactive capacity was reduced significantly. Surface passivation and water-limited reaction resulted in a highly non-geometric evolution of reactive surface area. The extent of reaction was also limited at high water content because viscous fingering of the gas streams injected at the base of the columns resulted in narrow zones of highly carbonated material, but left a large proportion of brucite unreacted. The implication is that carbonation efficiency in mine tailings could be maximized by targeting an

  4. Pesticide fate and transport throughout unsaturated zones in five agricultural settings, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hancock, T.C.; Sandstrom, M.W.; Vogel, J.R.; Webb, R.M.T.; Bayless, E.R.; Barbash, J.E.

    2008-01-01

    Pesticide transport through the unsaturated zone is a function of chemical and soil characteristics, application, and water recharge rate. The fate and transport of 82 pesticides and degradates were investigated at five different agricultural sites. Atrazine and metolachlor, as well as several of the degradates of atrazine, metolachlor, acetochlor, and alachlor, were frequently detected in soil water during the 2004 growing season, and degradates were generally more abundant than parent compounds. Metolachlor and atrazine were applied at a Nebraska site the same year as sampling, and focused recharge coupled with the short time since application resulted in their movement in the unsaturated zone 9 m below the surface. At other sites where the herbicides were applied 1 to 2 yr before sampling, only degradates were found in soil water. Transformations of herbicides were evident with depth and during the 4-mo sampling time and reflected the faster degradation of metolachlor oxanilic acid and persistence of metolachor ethanesulfonic acid. The fraction of metolachlor ethanesulfonic acid relative to metolachlor and metolachlor oxanilic acid increased from 0.3 to > 0.9 at a site in Maryland where the unsaturated zone was 5 m deep and from 0.3 to 0.5 at the shallowest depth. The flux of pesticide degradates from the deepest sites to the shallow ground water was greatest (3.0–4.9 μmol m−2 yr−1) where upland recharge or focused flow moved the most water through the unsaturated zone. Flux estimates based on estimated recharge rates and measured concentrations were in agreement with fluxes estimated using an unsaturated-zone computer model (LEACHM).

  5. Pesticide fate and transport throughout unsaturated zones in five agricultural settings, USA.

    PubMed

    Hancock, Tracy C; Sandstrom, Mark W; Vogel, Jason R; Webb, Richard M T; Bayless, E Randall; Barbash, Jack E

    2008-01-01

    Pesticide transport through the unsaturated zone is a function of chemical and soil characteristics, application, and water recharge rate. The fate and transport of 82 pesticides and degradates were investigated at five different agricultural sites. Atrazine and metolachlor, as well as several of the degradates of atrazine, metolachlor, acetochlor, and alachlor, were frequently detected in soil water during the 2004 growing season, and degradates were generally more abundant than parent compounds. Metolachlor and atrazine were applied at a Nebraska site the same year as sampling, and focused recharge coupled with the short time since application resulted in their movement in the unsaturated zone 9 m below the surface. At other sites where the herbicides were applied 1 to 2 yr before sampling, only degradates were found in soil water. Transformations of herbicides were evident with depth and during the 4-mo sampling time and reflected the faster degradation of metolachlor oxanilic acid and persistence of metolachor ethanesulfonic acid. The fraction of metolachlor ethanesulfonic acid relative to metolachlor and metolachlor oxanilic acid increased from 0.3 to >0.9 at a site in Maryland where the unsaturated zone was 5 m deep and from 0.3 to 0.5 at the shallowest depth. The flux of pesticide degradates from the deepest sites to the shallow ground water was greatest (3.0-4.9 micromol m(-2) yr(-1)) where upland recharge or focused flow moved the most water through the unsaturated zone. Flux estimates based on estimated recharge rates and measured concentrations were in agreement with fluxes estimated using an unsaturated-zone computer model (LEACHM). PMID:18453430

  6. Contaminant Transport in the Unsaturated Zone Theory and Modeling

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Mathematical models are increasingly used to better understand and quantify site-specific subsurface water flow and solute transport processes. This chapter reviews mathematical models for solute transport in predominantly variably-saturated media. After a brief description of the physics and mathe...

  7. Hydrochemical investigations in characterizing the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, I.C.; Rattray, G.W.; Ferarese, J.S.; Yu, P.; Ryan, J.N.

    1998-11-01

    Hydrochemical and isotopic investigations of ground water at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, site of a potential permanent national nuclear-waste repository, demonstrate that younger rocks are dominated by calcium-sulfate or calcium-chloride water and that older rocks contain sodium-carbonate or sodium-bicarbonate water. Furthermore, unsaturated-zone pore water has significantly larger concentrations of major ions and dissolved solids than does the saturated-zone water. Recharge of perched or saturated-zone water, therefore, requires rapid flow through fractures or permeable regions in the unsaturated zone to avoid mixing with the chemically concentrated water in the unsaturated zone. This conceptual model is consistent with observations of rapidly moved post-bomb (post-1954) tritium and chlorine-36 in the deep unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Presence of post-bomb tritium in matrix water away from fracture zones further indicates that parts of the fast-flow water that moves through fractures have been diverted laterally into nonwelded units. Experimental data show that different lithologic units require specific water-extraction methods for stable-isotope analyses of hydrogen and oxygen to ensure accurate characterization. Vacuum-distillation and compression-extraction methods both can yield accurate data but must be used with specific lithologies. Column experiments demonstrate that percolating water can exchange with pore water of the core as well as water held in zeolite minerals in the core. Exchange rates range from days to months. Pore-water samples from core, therefore, reflect the most recently infiltrated water but do not reflect percolating water of the distant past.

  8. Desiccation of unsaturated porous media: Intermediate-scale experiments and numerical simulation

    SciTech Connect

    Oostrom, Martinus; Wietsma, Thomas W.; Dane, J. H.; Truex, Michael J.; Ward, Anderson L.

    2009-08-01

    Soil desiccation (drying) is recognized as a potentially robust vadose zone remediation process involving water evaporation induced by air injection and extraction. Desiccation has the potential to immobilize contaminants and could potentially improve access for other gas-phase treatments by reducing water saturation and therefore increasing sediment gas-phase permeability. Before this technology could be deployed in the field, concerns related to energy limitations, osmotic effects, and potential contaminant remobilization after rewetting need to be addressed. A series of detailed wedge-shaped, intermediate-scale laboratory experiments in unsaturated homogeneous and simple heterogeneous systems was conducted to improve the understanding of the impact of energy balance issues on soil desiccation. The experiments were simulated with the multifluid flow simulator STOMP, using independently obtained hydraulic and thermal porous medium properties. In all the experiments, the injection of dry air proved to be an effective means for removing essentially all moisture from the test media. Evaporative cooling was observed which generally decreased with increased distance from the gas inlet chamber. Observations of temperature in fine-grained sands in the heterogeneous systems show two local temperature minima associated with the cooling. The first one occurs because of evaporation in the adjacent medium-grained sand whereas the second minimum is attributed to evaporative cooling in the fine-grained sand itself. Results of the laboratory tests were simulated accurately when thermal properties of the flow cell walls and insulation material were taken into account, indicating that the proper physics were incorporated into the simulator.

  9. Performance assessment model development and analysis of radionuclide transport in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

    PubMed

    Robinson, Bruce A; Li, Chunhong; Ho, Clifford K

    2003-01-01

    This paper describes the development and use of a particle-tracking model to perform radionuclide-transport simulations in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The goal of the effort was to produce a computational model that can be coupled to the project's calibrated 3D site-scale flow model so that the results of that effort could be incorporated directly into the Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) analyses. The transport model simulates multiple species (typically 20 or more) with complex time-varying and spatially varying releases from the potential repository. Water-table rise, climate-change scenarios, and decay chains are additional features of the model. A cell-based particle-tracking method was employed that includes a dual-permeability formulation, advection, longitudinal dispersion, matrix diffusion, and colloid-facilitated transport. This paper examines the transport behavior of several key radionuclides through the unsaturated zone using the calibrated 3D unsaturated flow fields. Computational results illustrate the relative importance of fracture flow, matrix diffusion, and lateral diversion on the distribution of travel times from the simulated repository to the water table for various climatic conditions. Results also indicate rapid transport through fractures for a portion of the released mass. Further refinement of the model will address several issues, including conservatism in the transport model, the assignment of parameters in the flow and transport models, and the underlying assumptions used to support the conceptual models of flow and transport in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. PMID:12714294

  10. Multimodel analysis of anisotropic diffusive tracer-gas transport in a deep arid unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Green, Christopher T.; Walvoord, Michelle A.; Andraski, Brian J.; Striegl, Robert G.; Stonestrom, David A.

    2015-08-01

    Gas transport in the unsaturated zone affects contaminant flux and remediation, interpretation of groundwater travel times from atmospheric tracers, and mass budgets of environmentally important gases. Although unsaturated zone transport of gases is commonly treated as dominated by diffusion, the characteristics of transport in deep layered sediments remain uncertain. In this study, we use a multimodel approach to analyze results of a gas-tracer (SF6) test to clarify characteristics of gas transport in deep unsaturated alluvium. Thirty-five separate models with distinct diffusivity structures were calibrated to the tracer-test data and were compared on the basis of Akaike Information Criteria estimates of posterior model probability. Models included analytical and numerical solutions. Analytical models provided estimates of bulk-scale apparent diffusivities at the scale of tens of meters. Numerical models provided information on local-scale diffusivities and feasible lithological features producing the observed tracer breakthrough curves. The combined approaches indicate significant anisotropy of bulk-scale diffusivity, likely associated with high-diffusivity layers. Both approaches indicated that diffusivities in some intervals were greater than expected from standard models relating porosity to diffusivity. High apparent diffusivities and anisotropic diffusivity structures were consistent with previous observations at the study site of rapid lateral transport and limited vertical spreading of gas-phase contaminants. Additional processes such as advective oscillations may be involved. These results indicate that gases in deep, layered unsaturated zone sediments can spread laterally more quickly, and produce higher peak concentrations, than predicted by homogeneous, isotropic diffusion models.

  11. Multimodel analysis of anisotropic diffusive tracer-gas transport in a deep arid unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Green, Christopher T.; Walvoord, Michelle Ann; Andraski, Brian J.; Striegl, Rob; Stonestrom, David A.

    2015-01-01

    Gas transport in the unsaturated zone affects contaminant flux and remediation, interpretation of groundwater travel times from atmospheric tracers, and mass budgets of environmentally important gases. Although unsaturated zone transport of gases is commonly treated as dominated by diffusion, the characteristics of transport in deep layered sediments remain uncertain. In this study, we use a multimodel approach to analyze results of a gas-tracer (SF6) test to clarify characteristics of gas transport in deep unsaturated alluvium. Thirty-five separate models with distinct diffusivity structures were calibrated to the tracer-test data and were compared on the basis of Akaike Information Criteria estimates of posterior model probability. Models included analytical and numerical solutions. Analytical models provided estimates of bulk-scale apparent diffusivities at the scale of tens of meters. Numerical models provided information on local-scale diffusivities and feasible lithological features producing the observed tracer breakthrough curves. The combined approaches indicate significant anisotropy of bulk-scale diffusivity, likely associated with high-diffusivity layers. Both approaches indicated that diffusivities in some intervals were greater than expected from standard models relating porosity to diffusivity. High apparent diffusivities and anisotropic diffusivity structures were consistent with previous observations at the study site of rapid lateral transport and limited vertical spreading of gas-phase contaminants. Additional processes such as advective oscillations may be involved. These results indicate that gases in deep, layered unsaturated zone sediments can spread laterally more quickly, and produce higher peak concentrations, than predicted by homogeneous, isotropic diffusion models.

  12. Simulated fate and transport of metolachlor in the unsaturated zone, Maryland, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bayless, E.R.; Capel, P.D.; Barbash, J.E.; Webb, R.M.T.; Hancock, T.L.C.; Lampe, D.C.

    2008-01-01

    An unsaturated-zone transport model was used to examine the transport and fate of metolachlor applied to an agricultural site in Maryland, USA. The study site was instrumented to collect data on soil-water content, soil-water potential, ground water levels, major ions, pesticides, and nutrients from the unsaturated zone during 2002-2004. The data set was enhanced with site-specific information describing weather, soils, and agricultural practices. The Root Zone Water Quality Model was used to simulate physical, chemical, and biological processes occurring in the unsaturated zone. Model calibration to bromide tracer concentrations indicated flow occurred through the soil matix. Simulated recharge rates were within the measured range of values. The pesticide transport model was calibrated to the intensive data collection period (2002-2004), and the calibrated model was then used to simulate the period 1984 through 2004 to examine the impact of sustained agricultural management practices on the concentrations of metolachlor and its degradates at the study site. Simulation results indicated that metolachlor degrades rapidly in the root zone but that the degradates are transported to depth in measurable quantities. Simulations indicated that degradate transport is strongly related to the duration of sustained use of metolachlor and the extent of biodegradation. 

  13. Geologic character of tuffs in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, southern Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Scott, R.B.; Spengler, R.W.; Diehl, S.; Lappin, A.R.; Chornack, M.P.

    1982-12-31

    At Yucca Mountain, a potential site for a high-level nuclear waste repository on the Nevada Test Site in southern Nevada, evaluation of the geologic setting and rock physical properties, along with previous regional hydrologic studies, has provided background that can be used for construction of a preliminary conceptual hydrologic model of the unsaturated zone. The 500-m-thick unsaturated portion of Yucca Mountain consists of alternating layers of two contrasting types of tuff. One type consists of highly fractured, densely welded, relatively nonporous but highly transmissive ash-flow tuffs. The other type consists of relatively unfractured, nonwelded, highly porous but relatively nontransmissive, argillic and zeolitic bedded tuffs and ash-flow tuffs. The contrast between these two sets of distinctive physical properties results in a stratified sequence best described as "physical-property stratigraphy" as opposed to traditional petrologic stratigraphy of volcanic rocks. The vast majority of recharge through the unsaturated zone is assumed to be vertical; the dominant migration may occur in fractures of densely welded tuffs and in the matrix of nonwelded tuff, but the mode of fluid flow in these unsaturated systems is undetermined. Limited lateral flow of recharge may occur at horizons where local perched water tables may exist above relatively nontransmissive zeolitized nonwelded tuffs. The pervasive north-northwest-striking fractures may control the direction of lateral flow of recharge, if any, in the unsaturated zone, and certainly that direction coincides closely with the observed southeasterly flow direction in the saturated zone under Yucca Mountain. Empirical evaluation of this conceptual hydrologic model has begun. 41 refs., 18 figs., 2 tabs.

  14. Consequences of varied soil hydraulic and meteorological complexity on unsaturated zone time lag estimates.

    PubMed

    Vero, S E; Ibrahim, T G; Creamer, R E; Grant, J; Healy, M G; Henry, T; Kramers, G; Richards, K G; Fenton, O

    2014-12-01

    The true efficacy of a programme of agricultural mitigation measures within a catchment to improve water quality can be determined only after a certain hydrologic time lag period (subsequent to implementation) has elapsed. As the biophysical response to policy is not synchronous, accurate estimates of total time lag (unsaturated and saturated) become critical to manage the expectations of policy makers. The estimation of the vertical unsaturated zone component of time lag is vital as it indicates early trends (initial breakthrough), bulk (centre of mass) and total (Exit) travel times. Typically, estimation of time lag through the unsaturated zone is poor, due to the lack of site specific soil physical data, or by assuming saturated conditions. Numerical models (e.g. Hydrus 1D) enable estimates of time lag with varied levels of input data. The current study examines the consequences of varied soil hydraulic and meteorological complexity on unsaturated zone time lag estimates using simulated and actual soil profiles. Results indicated that: greater temporal resolution (from daily to hourly) of meteorological data was more critical as the saturated hydraulic conductivity of the soil decreased; high clay content soils failed to converge reflecting prevalence of lateral component as a contaminant pathway; elucidation of soil hydraulic properties was influenced by the complexity of soil physical data employed (textural menu, ROSETTA, full and partial soil water characteristic curves), which consequently affected time lag ranges; as the importance of the unsaturated zone increases with respect to total travel times the requirements for high complexity/resolution input data become greater. The methodology presented herein demonstrates that decisions made regarding input data and landscape position will have consequences for the estimated range of vertical travel times. Insufficiencies or inaccuracies regarding such input data can therefore mislead policy makers regarding

  15. Thermal history of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Whelan, J.F.; Neymark, L.A.; Moscati, R.J.; Marshall, B.D.; Roedder, E.

    2008-01-01

    Secondary calcite, silica and minor amounts of fluorite deposited in fractures and cavities record the chemistry, temperatures, and timing of past fluid movement in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the proposed site of a high-level radioactive waste repository. The distribution and geochemistry of these deposits are consistent with low-temperature precipitation from meteoric waters that infiltrated at the surface and percolated down through the unsaturated zone. However, the discovery of fluid inclusions in calcite with homogenization temperatures (Th) up to ???80 ??C was construed by some scientists as strong evidence for hydrothermal deposition. This paper reports the results of investigations to test the hypothesis of hydrothermal deposition and to determine the temperature and timing of secondary mineral deposition. Mineral precipitation temperatures in the unsaturated zone are estimated from calcite- and fluorite-hosted fluid inclusions and calcite ??18O values, and depositional timing is constrained by the 207Pb/235U ages of chalcedony or opal in the deposits. Fluid inclusion Th from 50 samples of calcite and four samples of fluorite range from ???35 to ???90 ??C. Calcite ??18O values range from ???0 to ???22??? (SMOW) but most fall between 12 and 20???. The highest Th and the lowest ??18O values are found in the older calcite. Calcite Th and ??18O values indicate that most calcite precipitated from water with ??18O values between -13 and -7???, similar to modern meteoric waters. Twenty-two 207Pb/235U ages of chalcedony or opal that generally postdate elevated depositional temperatures range from ???9.5 to 1.9 Ma. New and published 207Pb/235U and 230Th/Uages coupled with the Th values and estimates of temperature from calcite ??18O values indicate that maximum unsaturated zone temperatures probably predate ???10 Ma and that the unsaturated zone had cooled to near-present-day temperatures (24-26 ??C at a depth of 250 m) by 2-4 Ma. The evidence

  16. Nitrogen transport and transformation in the saturated-unsaturated zone under recharge, runoff, and discharge conditions.

    PubMed

    Ma, Zhifei; Lian, Xinying; Jiang, Yonghai; Meng, Fanhua; Xi, Beidou; Yang, Yu; Yuan, Zhiye; Xu, Xiangjian

    2016-05-01

    Water level (WL) changes are an important factor in the fate and transport of nitrogen in the saturated-unsaturated zone. In this study, the fate of nitrogen was investigated under simulated conditions of replenishment, runoff, and discharge. Three patterns of water level changes of ascent, stability, and descent were simulated under laboratory conditions to study nitrogen transport and transformation. Three columns (I, II, and III) were used to simulate the conditions of replenishment, steady water level, and discharge, respectively. The nitrate-nitrogen (NO3 (-)-N), nitrite-nitrogen (NO2 (-)-N), and ammonia-nitrogen (NH4 (+)-N) concentrations observed at different depths were compared among the three columns at 46.5 and 251.5 h. The results indicated that the NO3 (-)-N concentration decreased with time in both the saturated and unsaturated zones of the three columns (columns I, II, and III). The maximum decreasing concentrations of NO3 (-)-N in the three columns were 14.3, 37.97, and 38.17 mg/L, respectively. However, NH4 (+)-N in the saturated zone increased with time, whereas the NH4 (+)-N concentration decreased in both the saturated and unsaturated zones of other columns. No significant change in NO2 (-)-N concentration was observed in the experiment. These results suggest that water level changes must be considered in the remediation of groundwater nitrate pollution in the field. PMID:26805922

  17. Infiltration and drainage in the unsaturated zone: comparison of numerical simulations to a monitored field experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Papafotiou, Alexandros; Ganz, Christina; Altfelder, Sven; Noell, Ursula; Neuweiler, Insa

    2010-05-01

    The unsaturated zone has a prominent role for groundwater resources, as it controls through flow and transport any mass exchange between atmosphere and groundwater. However, providing reliable predictions for the unsaturated zone is very demanding, as it is dominated by complex two-phase flow processes that produce high uncertainty with respect to the hydraulic properties. When modeling unsaturated flow, the typically unknown spatial distribution of hydraulic properties in the soil constitutes a primary source of uncertainty. Even if information on the exact distribution is known, additional uncertainty may stem from the non-uniqueness of the hydraulic properties, most profoundly expressed through hysteresis in the capillary pressure-saturation relationship, also known as water retention curve. In this work, we present modeling considerations for predicting an infiltration and drainage event in the unsaturated zone during a field experiment. The experiment was performed by infiltrating brilliant-blue solution while monitoring the plume movement with ERT. After the completion of infiltration (and the consequent drainage), the upper 1 meter of the soil was excavated in slices to obtain the 3D distribution of water saturation and pressure. Numerical simulations are carried out with a two-phase flow model. The results illustrate possibilities and limitations of predicting such flow processes based on the experimental information available. We demonstrate the influence and significance of hysteresis by comparing experimental findings with model runs that explicitly consider wetting and drying conditions in the experiment. Our approach allows us to identify key processes that have to be accounted for. In a feedback loop with the design of future experiments we aim at improving input specifications necessary for reliable predictive modeling of unsaturated flow.

  18. CO2 dynamics in the Amargosa Desert: Fluxes and isotopic speciation in a deep unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walvoord, M.A.; Striegl, R.G.; Prudic, D.E.; Stonestrom, D.A.

    2005-01-01

    Natural unsaturated-zone gas profiles at the U.S. Geological Survey's Amargosa Desert Research Site, near Beatty, Nevada, reveal the presence of two physically and isotopically distinct CO2 sources, one shallow and one deep. The shallow source derives from seasonally variable autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration in the root zone. Scanning electron micrograph results indicate that at least part of the deep CO2 source is associated with calcite precipitation at the 110-m-deep water table. We use a geochemical gas-diffusion model to explore processes of CO2 production and behavior in the unsaturated zone. The individual isotopic species 12CO2, 13CO2, and 14CO2 are treated as separate chemical components that diffuse and react independently. Steady state model solutions, constrained by the measured PCO2 ??13C (in CO2), and ??14C (in CO2) profiles, indicate that the shallow CO2 source from root and microbial respiration composes ???97% of the annual average total CO2 production at this arid site. Despite the small contribution from deep CO2 production amounting to ???0.1 mol m-2 yr-1, upward diffusion from depth strongly influences the distribution of CO2 and carbon isotopes in the deep unsaturated zone. In addition to diffusion from deep CO2 production, 14C exchange with a sorbed CO2 phase is indicated by the modeled ??14C profiles, confirming previous work. The new model of carbon-isotopic profiles provides a quantitative approach for evaluating fluxes of carbon under natural conditions in deep unsaturated zones.

  19. Moisture Content and Migration Dynamics in Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Homsy, G. M.

    1993-01-01

    Fundamental studies of fluid mechanics and transport in partially saturated soils are presented. Solution of transient diffusion problems in support of the development of probes for the in-situ measurement of moisture content is given. Numerical and analytical methods are used to study the fundamental problem of meniscus and saturation front propagation in geometric models of porous media.

  20. Ground water age and nitrate distribution within a glacial aquifer beneath a thick unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnston, C.T.; Cook, P.G.; Frape, S.K.; Plummer, L.N.; Busenberg, E.; Blackport, R.J.

    1998-01-01

    The impact on ground water quality from increasing fertilizer application rates over the past 40 years is evaluated within a glacial aquifer system beneath a thick unsaturated zone. Ground water ages within the aquifer could not be accurately determined from the measured distribution of 3H and as a result, chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and 3H/3He dating techniques were applied. Beneath a 25 m thick unsaturated zone, ground water ages based on CFC-11 concentrations were greater than 3H/3He ground water ages by 6 to 10 years, due to the time lag associated with the diffusion of CFCs through the unsaturated zone. Using the corrected CFC-11 and 3H/3He ground water ages and the estimated travel time of 3H within the unsaturated zone, the approximate position of ground water recharged since the mid-1960s was determined. Nitrate concentrations within post mid-1960s recharge were generally elevated and near or above the drinking water limit of 10 mg-N/L. In comparison, pre mid-1960s recharge had nitrate concentrations <2.5 mg-N/L. The elevated NO3- concentrations in post mid-1960s recharge are attributed mainly to increasing fertilizer application rates between 1970 and the mid- to late 1980s. Anaerobic conditions suitable for denitrification are present within pre mid-1960s recharge indicating that removal of DO is a slow process taking tens of years. Over the next 10 to 20 years, nitrate concentrations at municipal well fields that are currently capturing aerobic ground water recharged near the mid-1960s are expected to increase because of the higher fertilizer application rates beginning in the 1970s and 1980s.The impact on ground water quality from increasing fertilizer application rates over the past 40 years is evaluated within a glacial aquifer system beneath a thick unsaturated zone. Beneath a 25 m thick unsaturated zone, ground water ages based on CFC-11 concentrations were greater than 3H/3He ground water ages by 6 to 10 years, due to the time lag associated with the

  1. A numerical approach for groundwater flow in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quintana, F.; Guarracino, L.; Saliba, R.

    2006-07-01

    In this article, a computational tool to simulate groundwater flow in variably saturated non-deformable fractured porous media is presented, which includes a conceptual model to obtain analytical expressions of water retention and hydraulic conductivity curves for fractured hard rocks and a numerical algorithm to solve the Richards equation. To calculate effective saturation and relative hydraulic conductivity curves we adopt the Brooks-Corey model assuming fractal laws for both aperture and number of fractures. A standard Galerkin formulation was employed to solve the Richards' equation together with a Crank-Nicholson scheme with Richardson extrapolation for the time discretization.The main contribution of this paper is to group an analytical model of the authors with a robust numerical algorithm designed to solve adequately the highly non-linear Richards' equation generating a tool for porous media engineering.

  2. Effect of grain-coating mineralogy on nitrate and sulfate storage in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reilly, T.J.; Fishman, N.S.; Baehr, A.L.

    2009-01-01

    Unsaturated-zone sediments and the chemistry of shallow groundwater underlying a small (???8-km2) watershed were studied to identify the mechanisms responsible for anion storage within the Miocene Bridgeton Formation and weathered Coastal Plain deposits in southern New Jersey. Lower unsaturated-zone sediments and shallow groundwater samples were collected and concentrations of selected ions (including NO3- and SO42-) from 11 locations were determined. Grain size, sorting, and color of the lower unsaturated-zone sediments were determined and the mineralogy of these grains and the composition of coatings were analyzed by petrographic examination, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive analysis of x-rays, and quantitative whole-rock x-ray diffraction. The sediment grains, largely quartz and chert (80-94% w/w), are coated with a very fine-grained (<20 ??m), complex mixture of kaolinite, halloysite, goethite, and possibly gibbsite and lepidocrocite. The mineral coatings are present as an open fabric, resulting in a large surface area in contact with pore water. Significant correlations between the amount of goethite in the grain coatings and the concentration of sediment-bound SO42- were observed, indicative of anion sorption. Other mineral-chemical relations indicate that negatively charged surfaces and competition with SO 42- results in exclusion of NO3- from inner sphere exchange sites. The observed NO3- storage may be a result of matrix forces within the grain coatings and outer sphere complexation. The results of this study indicate that the mineralogy of grain coatings can have demonstrable effects on the storage of NO 3- and SO42- in the unsaturated zone. ?? Soil Science Society of America. All rights reserved.

  3. Porosity and permeability of tuffs from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Soeder, D.J.; Dishart, J.E. )

    1992-01-01

    An investigation of the intrinsic flow properties of the rock matrix in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was carried out by performing single-phase water or air permeability measurements on about 150 selected samples representing all of the different rock units in the unsaturated zone. Pores were studied by examining thin sections of samples impregnated with fluorescent-dyed epoxy. Yucca Mountain is made up of volcanic tuff, which occurs in three distinct textures: welded, nonwelded, and bedded. Welded tuffs occur in two thick, rhyolitic, pyroclastic flow units. In thin sections, the typical welded-tuff pore structure appears to consist of isolated voids interconnected by microfractures. Porosities average about 10 percent, and matrix permeabilities are generally 1 microdarcy or less. The nonwelded tuffs occur in several thin pyroclastic flows between and below the two main welded units. Porosities average about 20 to 30%, and permeabilities are in the microdarcy to millidarcy range. The nonwelded tuffs appear in thin sections to have an open, well-interconnected pore system with significant intragranular porosity in pumice and lithic grains. These tuffs often contain various amounts of secondary clay and zeolite minerals in the pores, which may account for the wide range in permeabilities. The bedded tuffs consist of friable, low-density volcanic ash with porosities of 50% or more and permeabilities often above 1 darcy. These tuffs are the most porous and permeable rock units in the unsaturated zone, and contain large intergranular pores and significant intragranular porosity in frothy pumice clasts. Results of this investigation will help improve the understanding of groundwater movement through the unsaturated zone.

  4. Collboration: Interfacial Soil Chemistry of Radionuclides in the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Karl T. Mueller; Don Chorover; Peggy O'Day; R. Jeff Serne; Garry Crosson; Geoffrey Bowers; Nelson Rivera

    2006-12-11

    The principal goal of this project was to assess the molecular nature and stability of radionuclide immoblization during weathering reactions in bulk Hanford sediments and their high surface area clay mineral constituents. We focused on the unique aqueous geochemical conditions that are representative of waste-impacted locations in the Hanford site vadose zone; high ionic strength, high pH and high Al concentrations. The specific objectives of the work were to measure the coupling of clay mineral weathering and contaminant uptake kinetics of Cs, Sr and I; determine the molecular structure of contaminant binding sites and their change with weathering time during and after exposure to synthetic tank waste leachate; establish the stability of neoformed weathering products and their sequestered contaminbants upon exposure of the solids to more natural soil solutaions afer remofal of the caustic waste source; and integrate macroscopic, microscopic and spectroscopic data to distinguish labile from non-labile contaminant binding environments, including their dependence on system composition and weathering time.

  5. Nitrogen fluxes through unsaturated zones in five agricultural settings across the USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Green, C. T.; Fisher, L. H.; Bekins, B. A.

    2006-12-01

    The main controls on nitrogen (N) fluxes between the root zone and the water table were determined for agricultural sites in California, Washington, Nebraska, Indiana, and Maryland in 2004 and 2005. Sites included irrigated and non-irrigated fields; soil textures ranging from clay to sand; crops including corn, soybeans, almonds, and pasture; and unsaturated zone thicknesses ranging from 0.5 to 20 m. Chemical analyses of water from lysimeters, shallow wells, and sediment cores indicate that advective transport of nitrate is the dominant process affecting the rate of N transport below the root zone. Vertical profiles of (1) N species, (2) stable N and O isotopes, and (3) oxygen gas in unsaturated zone air and shallow ground water, and correlations between N and other agricultural chemicals indicate that reactions do not greatly affect N concentrations between the root zone and the capillary fringe. Relatively stable concentrations at depths greater than a few meters allow calculation of nitrogen fluxes to the saturated zone. These fluxes are equivalent to 14 - 64% of the N application rates. At the same locations, median vertical fluxes of N in ground water are generally lower, ranging from 4 - 37% of N application rates. The lower nitrate fluxes in ground water reflect processes including lateral flow to tile drains and denitrification in the capillary fringe, as well as historical changes in N inputs.

  6. Vertical series hydraulic conductance classes to characterize the unsaturated zone in North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eimers, Jo Leslie; Terziotti, Silvia; Ferrell, Gloria M.

    2001-01-01

    This web site contains the Federal Geographic Data Committee-compliant metadata (documentation) for digital data produced for the North Carolina, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Public Water Supply Section, Source Water Assessment Program. The metadata are for 11 individual Geographic Information System data sets. An overlay and indexing method was used with the data to derive a rating for unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics for use by the State of North Carolina in assessing more than 11,000 public water-supply wells and approximately 245 public surface-water intakes for susceptibility to contamination. For ground-water supplies, the digital data sets used in the assessment included unsaturated zone rating, vertical series hydraulic conductance, land-surface slope, and land cover. For assessment of public surface-water intakes, the data sets included watershed characteristics rating, average annual precipitation, land-surface slope, land cover, and ground-water contribution. Documentation for the land-use data set applies to both the unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics ratings. Documentation for the estimated depth-to-water map used in the calculation of the vertical series hydraulic conductance also is included.

  7. Land-use classes to characterize watersheds and unsaturated zones in North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Terziotti, Silvia; Eimers, Jo Leslie

    2001-01-01

    This web site contains the Federal Geographic Data Committee-compliant metadata (documentation) for digital data produced for the North Carolina, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Public Water Supply Section, Source Water Assessment Program. The metadata are for 11 individual Geographic Information System data sets. An overlay and indexing method was used with the data to derive a rating for unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics for use by the State of North Carolina in assessing more than 11,000 public water-supply wells and approximately 245 public surface-water intakes for susceptibility to contamination. For ground-water supplies, the digital data sets used in the assessment included unsaturated zone rating, vertical series hydraulic conductance, land-surface slope, and land cover. For assessment of public surface-water intakes, the data sets included watershed characteristics rating, average annual precipitation, land-surface slope, land cover, and ground-water contribution. Documentation for the land-use data set applies to both the unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics ratings. Documentation for the estimated depth-to-water map used in the calculation of the vertical series hydraulic conductance also is included.

  8. Percent-slope classes to characterize the unsaturated zone in North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Terziotti, Silvia; Eimers, Jo Leslie

    2001-01-01

    This web site contains the Federal Geographic Data Committee-compliant metadata (documentation) for digital data produced for the North Carolina, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Public Water Supply Section, Source Water Assessment Program. The metadata are for 11 individual Geographic Information System data sets. An overlay and indexing method was used with the data to derive a rating for unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics for use by the State of North Carolina in assessing more than 11,000 public water-supply wells and approximately 245 public surface-water intakes for susceptibility to contamination. For ground-water supplies, the digital data sets used in the assessment included unsaturated zone rating, vertical series hydraulic conductance, land-surface slope, and land cover. For assessment of public surface-water intakes, the data sets included watershed characteristics rating, average annual precipitation, land-surface slope, land cover, and ground-water contribution. Documentation for the land-use data set applies to both the unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics ratings. Documentation for the estimated depth-to-water map used in the calculation of the vertical series hydraulic conductance also is included.

  9. Land-cover classes to characterize the unsaturated zone in North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Terziotti, Silvia; Eimers, Jo Leslie

    2001-01-01

    This web site contains the Federal Geographic Data Committee-compliant metadata (documentation) for digital data produced for the North Carolina, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Public Water Supply Section, Source Water Assessment Program. The metadata are for 11 individual Geographic Information System data sets. An overlay and indexing method was used with the data to derive a rating for unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics for use by the State of North Carolina in assessing more than 11,000 public water-supply wells and approximately 245 public surface-water intakes for susceptibility to contamination. For ground-water supplies, the digital data sets used in the assessment included unsaturated zone rating, vertical series hydraulic conductance, land-surface slope, and land cover. For assessment of public surface-water intakes, the data sets included watershed characteristics rating, average annual precipitation, land-surface slope, land cover, and ground-water contribution. Documentation for the land-use data set applies to both the unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics ratings. Documentation for the estimated depth-to-water map used in the calculation of the vertical series hydraulic conductance also is included.

  10. Limited denitrification in glacial deposit aquifers having thick unsaturated zones (Long Island, USA)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Young, Caitlin; Kroeger, Kevin D.; Hanson, Gilbert

    2013-01-01

    The goal of this study was to demonstrate how the extent of denitrification, which is indirectly related to dissolved organ carbon and directly related to oxygen concentrations, can also be linked to unsaturated-zone thickness, a mappable aquifer property. Groundwater from public supply and monitoring wells in Northport on Long Island, New York state (USA), were analyzed for denitrification reaction progress using dissolved N2/Ar concentrations by membrane inlet mass spectrometry. This technique allows for discernment of small amounts of excess N2, attributable to denitrification. Results show an average 15 % of total nitrogen in the system was denitrified, significantly lower than model predictions of 35 % denitrification. The minimal denitrification is due to low dissolved organic carbon (29.3–41.1 μmol L−1) and high dissolved oxygen concentrations (58–100 % oxygen saturation) in glacial sediments with minimal solid-phase electron donors to drive denitrification. A mechanism is proposed that combines two known processes for aquifer re-aeration in unconsolidated sands with thick (>10 m) unsaturated zones. First, advective flux provides 50 % freshening of pore space oxygen in the upper 2 m due to barometric pressure changes. Then, oxygen diffusion across the water-table boundary occurs due to high volumetric air content in the unsaturated-zone catchment area.

  11. Limited denitrification in glacial deposit aquifers having thick unsaturated zones (Long Island, USA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, Caitlin; Kroeger, Kevin D.; Hanson, Gilbert

    2013-12-01

    The goal of this study was to demonstrate how the extent of denitrification, which is indirectly related to dissolved organ carbon and directly related to oxygen concentrations, can also be linked to unsaturated-zone thickness, a mappable aquifer property. Groundwater from public supply and monitoring wells in Northport on Long Island, New York state (USA), were analyzed for denitrification reaction progress using dissolved N2/Ar concentrations by membrane inlet mass spectrometry. This technique allows for discernment of small amounts of excess N2, attributable to denitrification. Results show an average 15 % of total nitrogen in the system was denitrified, significantly lower than model predictions of 35 % denitrification. The minimal denitrification is due to low dissolved organic carbon (29.3-41.1 μmol L-1) and high dissolved oxygen concentrations (58-100 % oxygen saturation) in glacial sediments with minimal solid-phase electron donors to drive denitrification. A mechanism is proposed that combines two known processes for aquifer re-aeration in unconsolidated sands with thick (>10 m) unsaturated zones. First, advective flux provides 50 % freshening of pore space oxygen in the upper 2 m due to barometric pressure changes. Then, oxygen diffusion across the water-table boundary occurs due to high volumetric air content in the unsaturated-zone catchment area.

  12. Hydrogeology of the unsaturated zone, North Ramp area of the Exploratory Studies Facility, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Rousseau, J.P.; Kwicklis, E.M.; Gillies, D.C.

    1999-03-01

    Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada, is being investigated by the US Department of Energy as a potential site for a repository for high-level radioactive waste. This report documents the results of surface-based geologic, pneumatic, hydrologic, and geochemical studies conducted during 1992 to 1996 by the US Geological Survey in the vicinity of the North Ramp of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) that are pertinent to understanding multiphase fluid flow within the deep unsaturated zone. Detailed stratigraphic and structural characteristics of the study area provided the hydrogeologic framework for these investigations. Shallow infiltration is not discussed in detail in this report because the focus in on three major aspects of the deep unsaturated-zone system: geologic framework, the gaseous-phase system, and the aqueous-phase system. However, because the relation between shallow infiltration and deep percolation is important to an overall understanding of the unsaturated-zone flow system, a summary of infiltration studies conducted to date at Yucca Mountain is provided in the section titled Shallow Infiltration. This report describes results of several Site Characterization Plan studies that were ongoing at the time excavation of the ESF North Ramp began and that continued as excavation proceeded.

  13. Preferential dealkylation reactions of s-triazine herbicides in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mills, M.S.; Michael, Thurman E.

    1994-01-01

    The preferential dealkylation pathways of the s-triazine herbicides, atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine), propazine [2-chloro-4,6-bis(isopropylamino)-s-triazine], and simazine [2-chloro-4,6-bis(ethylamino)-s-triazine], and two monodealkylated triazine metabolites, deisopropylatrazine (DIA: 2-amino-4-chloro-6-ethylamino-s-triazine) and deethylatrazine (DEA: 2-amino-4-chloro-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine) were investigated on two adjacent Eudora silt-loam plots growing corn (Zea mays L.). Results from the shallow unsaturated zone and surface-water runoff showed preferential removal of an ethyl side chain from atrazine, simazine, and DIA relative to an isopropyl side chain from atrazine, propazine, and DEA. It is hypothesized that deethylation reactions may proceed at 2-3 times the rate of deisopropylation reactions. It is concluded that small concentrations of DIA reportedly associated with the degradation of atrazine may be due to a rapid turnover rate of the metabolite in the unsaturated zone, not to small production levels. Because of continued dealkylation of both monodealkylated metabolites, a strong argument is advanced for the presence of a didealkylated metabolite in the unsaturated zone.

  14. Interfacial Soil Chemistry of Radionuclides in the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Chorover, Jon; Mueller, Karl T.; Karthikeyan, K. G.; Vairavamurthy, A.; Serne, R. Jeff

    2003-06-01

    This is the final year (in a one-year extension) of a project with the principal goal of investigating the impact of clay surface alteration, resulting from hydroxy-aluminum (HyA) and hydroxyaluminosilicate (HAS) species intercalation on reactivity of soils towards Cs and Sr. Special emphasis has been accorded to the unique geochemical conditions that are representative of the Hanford site vadose zone (high ionic strength, high pH, high Al concentrations). Specific objectives of the research include: (1) Quantify the rate and extent of contaminant sorption to prevalent soil minerals as a function of system composition and contaminant concentration. (2) Determine the effects of intercalation of clays by HyA and HAS on the sorption/ion exchange process. (3) Determine the role of NOM (dissolved and mineral bound) on the particle retention of Cs and Sr. (4) Investigate the nature of mineral transformations induced by high pH and ionic strength conditions characteristic of waste impacted environments as it affects concurrent/subsequent retention of Cs and Sr. (5) Determine the coordination chemistry of contaminants bound into clay surfaces [as measured in objectives (1)-(4)] using NMR and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). Significant progress has been made in achieving these objectives. We have conducted long-term kinetic studies--reaction times ranging from 1 d to 2 yr--to examine relationships between aluminosilicate weathering in the presence of synthetic tank waste leachate (STWL) and Cs/Sr uptake and release. Our experiments employ a sequence of specimen clay minerals including illite, vermiculite, smectite and kaolinite, which are also important reactive solids in the Hanford sediments (Serne et al., 2001).

  15. Interfacial Soil Chemistry of Radionuclides in the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Chorover, Jon; Mueller, Karl T.; Karthikeyan, K. G.; Vairavamurthy, A.; Serne, R. Jeff

    2002-06-01

    We are in the final year (in a one-year extension) of a project with the principal goal of investigating the impact of clay surface alteration, resulting from hydroxy-aluminum (HyA) and hydroxyaluminosilicate (HAS) species intercalation on reactivity of soils towards Cs and Sr. Special emphasis has been accorded to the unique geochemical conditions that are representative of the Hanford site vadose zone (high ionic strength, high pH, high Al concentrations). Specific objectives of the research include: (1) Quantify the rate and extent of contaminant sorption to prevalent soil minerals as a function of system composition and contaminant concentration. (2) Determine the effects of intercalation of clays by HyA and HAS on the sorption/ion exchange process. (3) Determine the role of NOM (dissolved and mineral bound) on the particle retention of Cs and Sr. (4) Investigate the nature of mineral transformations induced by high pH and ionic strength conditions characteristic of waste impacted environments as it affects concurrent/subsequent retention of Cs and Sr. (5) Determine the coordination chemistry of contaminants bound into clay surfaces [as measured in objectives (1)-(4)] using NMR and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). Significant progress has been made in achieving these objectives. We have conducted long-term kinetic studies--reaction times ranging from 1 to 370 d--to examine relationships between aluminosilicate weathering in the presence of synthetic tank waste leachate (STWL) and Cs/Sr uptake and release. Our experiments employ a sequence of specimen clay minerals including illite, vermiculite, smectite and kaolinite, which are also important reactive solids in the Hanford sediments (Serne et al., 2001). Parallel studies have been conducted with three representative Hanford sediment samples.

  16. Field testing plan for unsaturated zone monitoring and field studies

    SciTech Connect

    Young, M.H.; Wierenga, P.J.; Warrick, A.W.

    1996-10-01

    The University of Arizona, in cooperation with the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin, and Stephens and Associates in Albuquerque, New Mexico has developed a field testing plan for evaluating subsurface monitoring systems. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has requested development of these testing plans for low-level radioactive waste disposal sites (LLW) and for monitoring at decommissioned facilities designated under the {open_quotes}Site Decommissioning Management Plan{close_quotes} (SDMP). The tests are conducted on a 50 m by 50 m plot on the University of Arizona`s Maricopa Agricultural Center. Within the 50 m by 50 m plot one finds: (1) an instrumented buried trench, (2) monitoring islands similar to those proposed for the Ward Valley, California LLW Facility, (3) deep borehole monitoring sites, (4) gaseous transport monitoring, and (5) locations for testing non-invasive geophysical measurement techniques. The various subplot areas are instrumented with commercially available instruments such as neutron probes, time domain reflectometry probes, tensiometers, psychrometers, heat dissipation sensors, thermocouples, solution samplers, and cross-hole geophysics electrodes. Measurement depths vary from ground surface to 15 m. The data from the controlled flow and transport experiments, conducted over the plot, will be used to develop an integrated approach to long-term monitoring of the vadose zone at waste disposal sites. The data will also be used to test field-scale flow and transport models. This report describes in detail the design of the experiment and the methodology proposed for evaluating the data.

  17. SIMULATING RADIONUCLIDE FATE AND TRANSPORT IN THE UNSATURATED ZONE: EVALUATION AND SENSITIVITY ANALYSES OF SELECT COMPUTER MODELS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Numerical, mathematical models of water and chemical movement in soils are used as decision aids for determining soil screening levels (SSLs) of radionuclides in the unsaturated zone. Many models require extensive input parameters which include uncertainty due to soil variabil...

  18. A model for oxygen transport and consumption in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Refsgaard, J. C.; Christensen, T. H.; Ammentorp, H. C.

    1991-12-01

    An oxygen transport and consumption model has been developed as a submodel to a general numerical model for solute transport in the unsaturated zone. The model comprises diffusive and convective transport of oxygen in soil air, convective transport and oxygen consumption in free water, and diffusive transport and a constant-rate oxygen consumption in the water-saturated soil crumbs. The model also estimates the anaerobic fraction of the water-saturated crumbs where no oxygen consumption takes place. The model dynamics and applicability are illustrated using the examples of the operation of a waste water infiltration plant and of anaerobic zones in the soil of importance for modelling denitrification.

  19. Microbial growth and transport in saturated and unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hron, Pavel; Jost, Daniel; Bastian, Peter; Ippisch, Olaf

    2014-05-01

    There is a considerable ongoing effort aimed at understanding the behavior of microorganisms in porous media. Microbial activity is of significant interest in various environmental applications such as in situ bioremediation, protection of drinking water supplies and for subsurface geochemistry in general. The main limiting factors for bacterial growth are the availability of electron acceptors, nutrients and bio-available water. The capillary fringe, defined - in a wider sense than usual - as the region of the subsurface above the groundwater table, but still dominated by capillary rise, is a region where all these factors are abundantly available. It is thus a region where high microbial activity is to be expected. In a research unit 'Dynamic Capillary Fringes - A Multidisciplinary Approach (DyCap)' founded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the growth of microorganisms in the capillary fringe was studied experimentally and with numerical simulations. Processes like component transport and diffusion, exchange between the liquid phase and the gas phase, microbial growth and cell attachment and detachment were incorporated into a numerical simulator. The growth of the facultative anaerobic Escherichia coli as a function of nutrient availability and oxygen concentration in the liquid phase is modeled with modified Monod-type models and modifications for the switch between aerobic and anaerobic growth. Laboratory batch experiments with aqueous solutions of bacteria have been carried out under various combinations of oxygen concentrations in the gas phase and added amounts of dissolved organic carbon to determine the growth model parameters by solution of a parameter estimation problem. For the transport of bacteria the adhesion to phase boundaries is also very important. As microorganisms are transported through porous media, they are removed from the pore fluid by physicochemical filtration (attachment to sediment grain surfaces) or are adhering to gas

  20. Modeling water infiltration in unsaturated porous media by interacting lattice gas-cellular automata

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    di Pietro, L. B.; Melayah, A.; Zaleski, S.

    1994-10-01

    A two-dimensional lattice gas-cellular automaton fluid model with long-range interactions (Appert and Zaleski, 1990) is used to simulate saturated and unsaturated water infiltration in porous media. Water and gas within the porous medium are simulated by applying the dense and the light phase, respectively, of the cellular automaton fluid. Various wetting properties can be modeled when adjusting the corresponding solid-liquid interactions. The lattice gas rules include a gravity force step to allow buoyancy-driven flow. The model handles with ease complex geometries of the solid, and an algorithm for generating random porous media is presented. The results of four types of simulation experiments are presented: (1) We verified Poiseuille's law for steady and saturated flow between two parallel plates. (2) We analyzed transient water infiltration between two parallel plates of varying degrees of saturation and various apertures. (3) Philip's infiltration equation was adequately simulated in an unsaturated porous medium. (4) Infiltration into an aggregated medium containing one vertical parallel crack was simulated. Further applications of this lattice gas method for studying unsaturated flow in porous media are discussed.

  1. Estimation of unsaturated zone traveltimes for Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, using a source-responsive preferential-flow model

    SciTech Connect

    Brian A. Ebel; John R. Nimmo

    2009-09-11

    zone takes place as preferential flow, faster than would be predicted by the coupled Richards' and advection-dispersion equations with hydraulic properties estimated by traditional means. At present the hydrologic community has not achieved consensus as to whether a modification of Richards' equation, or a fundamentally different formulation, would best quantify preferential flow. Where the fastest contaminant transport speed is what needs to be estimated, there is the possibility of simplification of the evaluation process. One way of doing so is by a two-step process in which the first step is to evaluate whether significant preferential flow and solute transport is possible for the media and conditions of concern. The second step is to carry out (a) a basic Richards' and advection-dispersion equation analysis if it is concluded that preferential flow is not possible or (b) an analysis that considers only the fastest possible preferential-flow processes, if preferential flow is possible. For the preferential-flow situation, a recently published model describable as a Source-Responsive Preferential-Flow (SRPF) model is an easily applied option. This report documents the application of this two-step process to flow through the thick unsaturated zones of Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain in the Nevada Test Site. Application of the SRPF model involves distinguishing between continuous and intermittent water supply to preferential flow paths. At Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain this issue is complicated by the fact that contaminant travel begins at a location deep in the subsurface, where there may be perched water that may or may not act like a continuous supply, depending on such features as the connectedness of fractures and the nature of impeding layers. We have treated this situation by hypothesizing both continuous and intermittent scenarios for contaminant transport to the carbonate aquifer and reporting estimation of the fastest speed for both of these end

  2. Estimation of Unsaturated Zone Traveltimes for Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, Using a Source-Responsive Preferential-Flow Model

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ebel, Brian A.; Nimmo, John R.

    2009-01-01

    zone takes place as preferential flow, faster than would be predicted by the coupled Richards' and advection-dispersion equations with hydraulic properties estimated by traditional means. At present the hydrologic community has not achieved consensus as to whether a modification of Richards' equation, or a fundamentally different formulation, would best quantify preferential flow. Where the fastest contaminant transport speed is what needs to be estimated, there is the possibility of simplification of the evaluation process. One way of doing so is by a two-step process in which the first step is to evaluate whether significant preferential flow and solute transport is possible for the media and conditions of concern. The second step is to carry out (a) a basic Richards' and advection-dispersion equation analysis if it is concluded that preferential flow is not possible or (b) an analysis that considers only the fastest possible preferential-flow processes, if preferential flow is possible. For the preferential-flow situation, a recently published model describable as a Source-Responsive Preferential-Flow (SRPF) model is an easily applied option. This report documents the application of this two-step process to flow through the thick unsaturated zones of Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain in the Nevada Test Site. Application of the SRPF model involves distinguishing between continuous and intermittent water supply to preferential flow paths. At Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain this issue is complicated by the fact that contaminant travel begins at a location deep in the subsurface, where there may be perched water that may or may not act like a continuous supply, depending on such features as the connectedness of fractures and the nature of impeding layers. We have treated this situation by hypothesizing both continuous and intermittent scenarios for contaminant transport to the carbonate aquifer and reporting estimation of the fastest speed for both of th

  3. Characterization of Water and Solute Transport in the Unsaturated Zone of a Hypersaline Environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ronen, Daniel; Yechieli, Yoseph; Shatkay, Michal

    1996-11-01

    We present a methodology for the analysis of chemical profiles from the unsaturated zone where ions from the sediment are extracted by two methods:centrifugation and water addition. The methodology enables one to (1) assess the ion amounts present in two different phases, pore water and minerals; (2) determine the depth in the unsaturated profile where the degree of saturation of each mineral is reached; (3) establish the principal direction of water flow; and (4) differentiate between upward transport of water either as vapor or as a saline solution. The methodology was applied to the unsaturated zone of the Dead Sea coastal area where the original salinity of interstitial water in these sediments was >300 g/L. Our analysis of the field data suggests that reduction of interstitial water salinity is the result of vertical upward transport of fresh water from a confined aquifer at a depth of 7 m. Flushing, up to the potentiometric surface (depth of 3.5 m), is due to the positive pressure head of the aquifer. Above the potentiometric surface, upward water transport is due to capillary forces, and flow is maintained by evaporation at the soil surface. Evaporation leads to an increase in the salinity of the rising interstitial solution and to the sequential deposition of salts such as NaCl and KMgCl3 · 6H2O.

  4. Hydrologic inferences from strontium isotopes in pore water from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Marshall, B.D.; Futa, K.; Peterman, Z.E.

    1997-12-31

    Calcite is ubiquitous at Yucca Mountain, occurring in the soils and as fracture and cavity coatings within the volcanic tuff section. Strontium is a trace element in calcite, generally at the tens to hundreds of ppm level. Because calcite contains very little rubidium and the half-life of the {sup 87}Rb parent is billions of years, the {sup 87}Sr/{sup 86}Sr ratios of the calcite record the ratio in the water from which the calcite precipitated. Dissolution and reprecipitation does not alter these compositions so that, in the absence of other sources of strontium, one would expect the strontium ratios along a flow path to preserve variations inherited from strontium in the soil zone. Strontium isotope compositions of calcites from various settings in the Yucca Mountain region have contributed to the understanding of the unsaturated zone (UZ), especially in distinguishing unsaturated zone calcite from saturated zone calcite. Different populations of calcite have been compared, either to group them together or distinguish them from each other in terms of their strontium isotope compositions. Ground water and perched water have also been analyzed; this paper presents strontium isotope data obtained on pore water.

  5. Interpretation of chemical and isotopic data from boreholes in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, I.C.; Rattray, G.W.; Yu, P.

    1996-12-31

    Analyses of pore water from boreholes at Yucca Mountain indicate that unsaturated-zone pore water has significantly larger concentrations of chloride and dissolved solids than the saturated-zone water or perched-water bodies. Chemical compositions are of the calcium sulfate or calcium chloride types in the Paintbrush Group (Tiva Canyon, Yucca Mountain, Pah Canyon, and bedded tuffs), and sodium carbonate or bicarbonate type water in the Calico Hills Formation. Tritium profiles from boreholes at Yucca Mountain indicate tritium-concentration inversions (larger tritium concentrations are located below the smaller tritium concentration in a vertical profile) occur in many places. These inversions indicate preferential flow through fractures. Rock-gas compositions are similar to that of atmospheric air except that carbon dioxide concentrations are generally larger than those in the air. The delta carbon-13 values of gas are fairly constant from surface to 365.8 meters, indicating little interaction between the gas CO{sub 2} and caliche in the soil. Model calculations indicate that the gas transport in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain agrees well with the gas-diffusion process. Tritium-modeling results indicate that the high tritium value of about 100 tritium units in the Calico Hills Formation of UZ-16 is within limits of a piston-flow model with a water residence time of 32 to 35 years. The large variations in tritium concentrations with narrow peaks imply piston flow or preferential fracture flow rather than matrix flow. In reality, the aqueous-phase flow in the unsaturated zone is between piston and well-mixed flows but is closer to a piston flow.

  6. Full-field dye concentration measurement within saturated/unsaturated thin slabs of porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Norton, D.L.; Glass, R.J.

    1992-12-31

    This paper presents a full-field dye concentration measurement technique that extends our experimental capabilities to the measurement of transient dye concentration fields within steady state flow fields under unsaturated or saturated conditions. Simple light absorption theory provides a basis for translating images into high resolution dye concentration fields. A series of dye pulse experiments that demonstrate the combined use of the full-field saturation and dye concentration techniques was conducted at four different degrees of saturation. Each of these experimental sequences was evaluated with respect to mass balance, the results being within 5% of the known dye mass input. An image windowing technique allowed us to see increased dispersion due to decreasing moisture content, tailing of concentration at the rear of the dye pulse and slight velocity changes of the dispersive front due to changes in moisture content. The exceptional resolution of dye concentration in space and time provided by this laboratory technique allows systematic experimentation for examining basic processes affecting solute transport within saturated/unsaturated porous media. Future challenges for this work will be to use these techniques to analyze more complex systems involving heterogeneities, scaling laws, and detailed investigations of the relationship between transverse and longitudinal dispersion in unsaturated media.

  7. Conservation Laws for Coupled Hydro-mechanical Processes in Unsaturated Porous Media: Theory and Implementation

    SciTech Connect

    Borja, R I; White, J A

    2010-02-19

    We develop conservation laws for coupled hydro-mechanical processes in unsaturated porous media using three-phase continuum mixture theory. From the first law of thermodynamics, we identify energy-conjugate variables for constitutive modeling at macroscopic scale. Energy conjugate expressions identified relate a certain measure of effective stress to the deformation of the solid matrix, the degree of saturation to the matrix suction, the pressure in each constituent phase to the corresponding intrinsic volume change of this phase, and the seepage forces to the corresponding pressure gradients. We then develop strong and weak forms of boundary-value problems relevant for 3D finite element modeling of coupled hydro-mechanical processes in unsaturated porous media. The paper highlights a 3D numerical example illustrating the advances in the solution of large-scale coupled finite element systems, as well as the challenges in developing more predictive tools satisfying the basic conservation laws and the observed constitutive responses for unsaturated porous materials.

  8. Use of a reactive gas transport model to determine rates of hydrocarbon biodegradation in unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Baehr, A.L.; Baker, R.J.

    1995-11-01

    A mathematical model is presented that simulates the transport and reaction of any number of gaseous phase constituents (e.g. CO{sub 2}, O{sub 2}, N{sub 2}, and hydrocarbons) in unsaturated porous media. The model was developed as part of a method to determine rates of hydrocarbon biodegradation associated with natural cleansing at petroleum product spill sites. The one-dimensional model can be applied to analyze data from column experiments or from field sites where gas transport in the unsaturated zone is approximately vertical. A coupled, non-Fickian constitutive relation between fluxes and concentration gradients, together with the capability of incorporating heterogeneity with respect to model parameters, results in model applicability over a wide range of experimental and field conditions. When applied in a calibration mode, the model allows for the determination of constituent production/consumption rates as a function of the spatial coordinate. Alternatively, the model can be applied in a predictive mode to obtain the distribution of constituent concentrations and fluxes on the the basis of assumed values of model parameters and a biodegradation hypothesis. Data requirements for the model are illustrated by analyzing data from a column experiment designed to determine the aerobic degradation rate of toluene in sediments collected from a gasoline spill site in Galloway Township, New Jersey. 15 refs., 4 figs., 4 tabs.

  9. Predicting unsaturated zone nitrogen mass balances in agricultural settings of the United States.

    PubMed

    Nolan, Bernard T; Puckett, Larry J; Ma, Liwang; Green, Christopher T; Bayless, E Randall; Malone, Robert W

    2010-01-01

    Unsaturated zone N fate and transport were evaluated at four sites to identify the predominant pathways of N cycling: an almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb] orchard and cornfield (Zea mays L.) in the lower Merced River study basin, California; and corn-soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] rotations in study basins at Maple Creek, Nebraska, and at Morgan Creek, Maryland. We used inverse modeling with a new version of the Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM2) to estimate soil hydraulic and nitrogen transformation parameters throughout the unsaturated zone; previous versions were limited to 3-m depth and relied on manual calibration. The overall goal of the modeling was to derive unsaturated zone N mass balances for the four sites. RZWQM2 showed promise for deeper simulation profiles. Relative root mean square error (RRMSE) values for predicted and observed nitrate concentrations in lysimeters were 0.40 and 0.52 for California (6.5 m depth) and Nebraska (10 m), respectively, and index of agreement (d) values were 0.60 and 0.71 (d varies between 0 and 1, with higher values indicating better agreement). For the shallow simulation profile (1 m) in Maryland, RRMSE and d for nitrate were 0.22 and 0.86, respectively. Except for Nebraska, predictions of average nitrate concentration at the bottom of the simulation profile agreed reasonably well with measured concentrations in monitoring wells. The largest additions of N were predicted to come from inorganic fertilizer (153-195 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1) in California) and N fixation (99 and 131 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1) in Maryland and Nebraska, respectively). Predicted N losses occurred primarily through plant uptake (144-237 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1)) and deep seepage out of the profile (56-102 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1)). Large reservoirs of organic N (up to 17,500 kg N ha(-1) m(-1) at Nebraska) were predicted to reside in the unsaturated zone, which has implications for potential future transfer of nitrate to groundwater. PMID:20400601

  10. Evolution of the conceptual model of unsaturated zone hydrology at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flint, Alan L.; Flint, Lorraine E.; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.; Kwicklis, Edward M.; Fabryka-Martin, June

    2001-06-01

    Yucca Mountain is an arid site proposed for consideration as the United States' first underground high-level radioactive waste repository. Low rainfall (approximately 170 mm/yr) and a thick unsaturated zone (500-1000 m) are important physical attributes of the site because the quantity of water likely to reach the waste and the paths and rates of movement of the water to the saturated zone under future climates would be major factors in controlling the concentrations and times of arrival of radionuclides at the surrounding accessible environment. The framework for understanding the hydrologic processes that occur at this site and that control how quickly water will penetrate through the unsaturated zone to the water table has evolved during the past 15 yr. Early conceptual models assumed that very small volumes of water infiltrated into the bedrock (0.5-4.5 mm/yr, or 2-3 percent of rainfall), that much of the infiltrated water flowed laterally within the upper nonwelded units because of capillary barrier effects, and that the remaining water flowed down faults with a small amount flowing through the matrix of the lower welded, fractured rocks. It was believed that the matrix had to be saturated for fractures to flow. However, accumulating evidence indicated that infiltration rates were higher than initially estimated, such as infiltration modeling based on neutron borehole data, bomb-pulse isotopes deep in the mountain, perched water analyses and thermal analyses. Mechanisms supporting lateral diversion did not apply at these higher fluxes, and the flux calculated in the lower welded unit exceeded the conductivity of the matrix, implying vertical flow of water in the high permeability fractures of the potential repository host rock, and disequilibrium between matrix and fracture water potentials. The development of numerical modeling methods and parameter values evolved concurrently with the conceptual model in order to account for the observed field data

  11. Evolution of the conceptual model of unsaturated zone hydrology at yucca mountain, nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Flint, A. L.; Flint, L. E.; Bodvarsson, G. S.; Kwicklis, E. M.; Fabryka-Martin, J.

    2001-02-01

    Yucca Mountain is an arid site proposed for consideration as the United States' first underground high-level radioactive waste repository. Low rainfall (approximately 170 mm/yr) and a thick unsaturated zone (500-1000 m) are important physical attributes of the site because the quantity of water likely to reach the waste and the paths and rates of movement of the water to the saturated zone under future climates would be major factors in controlling the concentrations and times of arrival of radionuclides at the surrounding accessible environment. The framework for understanding the hydrologic processes that occur at this site and that control how quickly water will penetrate through the unsaturated zone to the water table has evolved during the past 15 yr. Early conceptual models assumed that very small volumes of water infiltrated into the bedrock (0.5-4.5 mm/yr, or 2-3 percent of rainfall), that much of the infiltrated water flowed laterally within the upper nonwelded units because o f capillary barrier effects, and that the remaining water flowed down faults with a small amount flowing through the matrix of the lower welded, fractured rocks. It was believed that the matrix had to be saturated for fractures to show. However, accumulating evidence indicated that infiltration rates were higher than initially estimated, such as infiltration modeling based on neutron borehole data, bomb-pulse isotopes deep in the mountain, perched water analyses and thermal analyses. Mechanisms supporting lateral diversion did not apply at these higher fluxes, and the flux calculated in the lower welded unit exceeded the conductivity of the matrix, implying vertical flow of water into the high permeability fractures of the potential repository host rock, and disequilibrium between matrix and fracture water potentials. The development of numerical modeling methods and parameter values evolved concurrently with the conceptual model in order to account for the observed field data

  12. Evolution of the conceptual model of unsaturated zone hydrology at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flint, Alan L.; Flint, Lorraine E.; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.; Kwicklis, Edward M.; Fabryka-Martin, June

    2001-01-01

    Yucca Mountain is an arid site proposed for consideration as the United States’ first underground high-level radioactive waste repository. Low rainfall (approximately 170 mm/yr) and a thick unsaturated zone (500–1000 m) are important physical attributes of the site because the quantity of water likely to reach the waste and the paths and rates of movement of the water to the saturated zone under future climates would be major factors in controlling the concentrations and times of arrival of radionuclides at the surrounding accessible environment. The framework for understanding the hydrologic processes that occur at this site and that control how quickly water will penetrate through the unsaturated zone to the water table has evolved during the past 15 yr. Early conceptual models assumed that very small volumes of water infiltrated into the bedrock (0.5–4.5 mm/yr, or 2–3 percent of rainfall), that much of the infiltrated water flowed laterally within the upper nonwelded units because of capillary barrier effects, and that the remaining water flowed down faults with a small amount flowing through the matrix of the lower welded, fractured rocks. It was believed that the matrix had to be saturated for fractures to flow. However, accumulating evidence indicated that infiltration rates were higher than initially estimated, such as infiltration modeling based on neutron borehole data, bomb-pulse isotopes deep in the mountain, perched water analyses and thermal analyses. Mechanisms supporting lateral diversion did not apply at these higher fluxes, and the flux calculated in the lower welded unit exceeded the conductivity of the matrix, implying vertical flow of water in the high permeability fractures of the potential repository host rock, and disequilibrium between matrix and fracture water potentials. The development of numerical modeling methods and parameter values evolved concurrently with the conceptual model in order to account for the observed field data

  13. Approaches to large scale unsaturated flow in heterogeneous, stratified, and fractured geologic media

    SciTech Connect

    Ababou, R.

    1991-08-01

    This report develops a broad review and assessment of quantitative modeling approaches and data requirements for large-scale subsurface flow in radioactive waste geologic repository. The data review includes discussions of controlled field experiments, existing contamination sites, and site-specific hydrogeologic conditions at Yucca Mountain. Local-scale constitutive models for the unsaturated hydrodynamic properties of geologic media are analyzed, with particular emphasis on the effect of structural characteristics of the medium. The report further reviews and analyzes large-scale hydrogeologic spatial variability from aquifer data, unsaturated soil data, and fracture network data gathered from the literature. Finally, various modeling strategies toward large-scale flow simulations are assessed, including direct high-resolution simulation, and coarse-scale simulation based on auxiliary hydrodynamic models such as single equivalent continuum and dual-porosity continuum. The roles of anisotropy, fracturing, and broad-band spatial variability are emphasized. 252 refs.

  14. Unsaturated zone hydrology and cave drip discharge water response: Implications for speleothem paleoclimate record variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Markowska, Monika; Baker, Andy; Treble, Pauline C.; Andersen, Martin S.; Hankin, Stuart; Jex, Catherine N.; Tadros, Carol V.; Roach, Regina

    2015-10-01

    High-frequency, spatially-dense discharge monitoring was conducted over fifteen months to characterise unsaturated zone flow at Harrie Wood Cave (HWC), in the Snowy Mountains, Yarrangobilly (SE Australia). The cave was formed in the Late Silurian Yarrangobilly Limestone, a fractured rock associated with very low primary porosity due to past diagenesis. Over our monitoring period we simultaneously measured rainfall, soil moisture saturation and drip discharge rate at fourteen sites to characterise infiltration-discharge relationships. All drip discharge sites exhibited non-Gaussian distributions, indicating long periods where low discharge predominates, punctuated by short infrequent periods of high discharge. However, there was significant variability in discharge between sites and consequently no spatial correlation in the cave. We investigated the depth-discharge relationship at HWC and found a moderate relationship between depth and drip discharge lag (response) times to soil moisture content, but only weak relationships between depth and mean and maximum discharge. This highlights that the karst architecture plays an important role in controlling drip discharge dynamics. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Agglomerative Hierarchal Clustering (AHC) were used to classify similar drip types, revealing five unique drip regimes. Two-phase flow and non-linear response to recharge behaviour were observed, suggesting secondary porosity is controlling unsaturated zone flow in mature limestone environments with low primary porosity. Using the data presented here, the first coupled conceptual and box hydrological flow model was developed. This study highlights the heterogeneous nature of hydrological flow in karst and the need to understand unsaturated zone hydrology at the individual drip discharge level, to inform speleothem studies for high-resolution paleoclimate reconstruction.

  15. Nuclear-waste isolation in the unsaturated zone of arid regions

    SciTech Connect

    Wollenberg, H.A.; Wang, J.S.Y.; Korbin, G.

    1982-05-01

    The vadose zone in arid regions is considered as a possible environment for geologic isolation of nuclear waste. There are several topographic and lithologic combinations in the vadose zone of arid regions that may lend themselves to waste isolation considerations. In some cases, topographic highs such as mesas and interbasin ranges - comprised of several rock types, may contain essentially dry or partially saturated conditions favorable for isolation. The adjacent basins, especially in the far western and southwestern US, may have no surface or subsurface hydrologic connections with systems ultimately leading to the ocean. Some rock types may have the favorable characteristics of very low permeability and contain appropriate minerals for the strong chemical retardation of radionuclides. Environments exhibiting these hydrologic and geochemical attributes are the areas underlain by tuffaceous rocks, relatively common in the Basin and Range geomorphic province. Adjacent valley areas, where tuffaceous debris makes up a significant component of valley fill alluvium, may also contain thick zones of unsaturated material, and as such also lend themselves to strong consideration as respository environments. This paper summarizes the aspects of nuclear waste isolation in unsaturated regimes in alluvial-filled valleys and tuffaceous rocks of the Basin and Range province.

  16. Documentation of the Unsaturated-Zone Flow (UZF1) Package for modeling Unsaturated Flow Between the Land Surface and the Water Table with MODFLOW-2005

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Niswonger, Richard G.; Prudic, David E.; Regan, R. Steven

    2006-01-01

    Percolation of precipitation through unsaturated zones is important for recharge of ground water. Rain and snowmelt at land surface are partitioned into different pathways including runoff, infiltration, evapotranspiration, unsaturated-zone storage, and recharge. A new package for MODFLOW-2005 called the Unsaturated-Zone Flow (UZF1) Package was developed to simulate water flow and storage in the unsaturated zone and to partition flow into evapotranspiration and recharge. The package also accounts for land surface runoff to streams and lakes. A kinematic wave approximation to Richards? equation is solved by the method of characteristics to simulate vertical unsaturated flow. The approach assumes that unsaturated flow occurs in response to gravity potential gradients only and ignores negative potential gradients; the approach further assumes uniform hydraulic properties in the unsaturated zone for each vertical column of model cells. The Brooks-Corey function is used to define the relation between unsaturated hydraulic conductivity and water content. Variables used by the UZF1 Package include initial and saturated water contents, saturated vertical hydraulic conductivity, and an exponent in the Brooks-Corey function. Residual water content is calculated internally by the UZF1 Package on the basis of the difference between saturated water content and specific yield. The UZF1 Package is a substitution for the Recharge and Evapotranspiration Packages of MODFLOW-2005. The UZF1 Package differs from the Recharge Package in that an infiltration rate is applied at land surface instead of a specified recharge rate directly to ground water. The applied infiltration rate is further limited by the saturated vertical hydraulic conductivity. The UZF1 Package differs from the Evapotranspiration Package in that evapotranspiration losses are first removed from the unsaturated zone above the evapotranspiration extinction depth, and if the demand is not met, water can be removed

  17. Hydrologic characterization of faults and other potentially conductive geologic features in the unsaturated zone

    SciTech Connect

    Javandel, I.; Shan, C.

    1990-01-01

    The capability of characterizing near-vertical faults and other potentially highly conductive geologic features in the vicinity of a high-level-waste repository is of great importance in site characterization of underground waste-isolation projects. The possibility of using transient air pressure data at depth for characterizing these features in the unsaturated zone are investigated. Analytical solutions for calculating the pressure response of such systems are presented. Solutions are given for two types of barometric pressure fluctuations, step function and sinusoidal. 3 refs., 9 figs.

  18. Assessing aquifer contamination risk using immunoassay: trace analysis of atrazine in unsaturated zone sediments

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Juracek, K.E.; Thurman, E.M.

    1997-01-01

    The vulnerability of a shallow aquifer in south-central Kansas to contamination by atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamines-triazine) was assessed by analyzing unsaturated zone soil and sediment samples from about 60 dryland and irrigated sites using an ultrasensitive immunoassay (detection level of 0.02 µg/kg) with verification by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Samples were collected at depths of 0 to 1.2 m (i.e., the root zone), 1.2 to 1.8 m, and 1.8 to 3.0 m during two time periods-prior to planting and after harvest of crops. About 75% of the samples contained detectable concentrations of parent atrazine. At the shallow sampling depth, atrazine concentrations ranged from 0.5 to approximately 12 µg/kg. Atrazine concentrations at the intermediate (1.2-1.8 m) depth generally were <1.0 µg/kg, with most of the concentrations <0.10 µg/kg, which suggests substantial degradation of parent atrazine in the root zone. Likewise, atrazine concentrations front the deepest (1.8-3.0 m) depth ranged from <0.02 to 0.33 µg/kg. The metabolite deethylatrazine (2-amino-4-chloro-6- isopropylamine-s-triazine) was detected by GC/MS only in 2 of 60 samples with concentrations of 1.4 and 1.5 µg/kg. The reconnaissance survey shows that, in spite of atrazine use ranging from 1 to 5 or more years, there does not appear to he a significant buildup of parent compound below the root zone. Therefore, the unsaturated zone does not appear to be a major storage compartment of atrazine contamination for the underlying shallow aquifer.

  19. Investigation of Episodic Flow from Unsaturated Porous Media into a Macropore

    SciTech Connect

    R. K. Podgorney; J. P. Fairley

    2008-02-01

    Th e recent literature contains numerous observations of episodic or intermittent fl ow in unsaturated flow systems under both constant fl ux and ponded boundary conditions. Flow systems composed of a heterogeneous porous media, as well as discrete fracture networks, have been cited as examples of systems that can exhibit episodic fl ow. Episodic outfl ow events are significant because relatively large volumes of water can move rapidly through an unsaturated system, carrying water and contaminants to depth greatly ahead of a wetting front predicted by a one-dimensional, gravity-driven diff usive infiltration model. In this study, we model the behavior of water flow through a sand column underlain by an impermeable-walled macropore. Relative permeability and capillary pressure relationships were developed that capture the complex interrelationships between the macropore and the overlying porous media that control fl ow out of the system. The potential for episodic flow is assessed and compared to results of conventional modeling approaches and experimental data from the literature. Model results using coupled matrix–macropore relative permeability and capillary pressure relationships capture the behavior observed in laboratory experiments remarkably well, while simulations using conventional relative permeability and capillary pressure functions fail to capture some of the observed fl ow dynamics. Capturing the rapid downward movement of water suggests that the matrix-macropore capillary pressure and relative permeability functions developed have the potential to improve descriptions of fl ow and transport processes in heterogeneous, variably saturated media.

  20. Transport and retention of fullerene (nC60) nanoparticles in unsaturated porous media: effects of solution chemistry and solid phase coating.

    PubMed

    Chen, Lixia; Sabatini, David A; Kibbey, Tohren C G

    2012-09-01

    The retention and release of aqueous aggregates of fullerene nanoparticles (nC(60)) were studied under dynamic unsaturated conditions. Porous media containing nC(60) were taken through multiple drainage/imbibition (drying/wetting) cycles to explore the effects of solution conditions and solid surface modification on transport and ultimate fate in unsaturated porous media. In experiments conducted with NaCl as the background electrolyte, the retention of nC(60) during drainage was found to be negligibly small over a wide range of ionic strengths (I=0.2 to I=6 mM), significantly lower than the retention of titanium dioxide nanoparticles studied previously under similar conditions. In contrast, experiments conducted with CaCl(2) as the background electrolyte found that retention of nC(60) during drainage was significant at higher ionic strengths, particularly at the highest ionic strength studied (I=6 mM). Experiments examining the influence of dissolved natural organic matter on nC(60) retention in unsaturated media found no measurable impact on the transport. The effects of solid surface modification were examined by creating coatings that modified surface hydrophobicity and charge. Experiments found that a hydrophobic coating had no measurable impact on nC(60) retention, when compared with retention by unmodified media. In contrast, a porous medium with surfaces that were both hydrophobic and positively-charged retained 5-10 times more nC(60) during drainage than an unmodified porous medium. This result suggests that electrostatic interactions play a more important role than hydrophobic interactions in the transport and fate of nC(60) in the unsaturated zone. For all conditions where retention was observed, experiments found very little release or retained nC(60) after subsequent flushing with water, suggesting that once retained, the environmental mobility of nC(60) may be extremely limited. PMID:22858671

  1. Coupled Hydromechanical and Electromagnetic Responses in Unsaturated Porous Media: Theory, Observation, and Numerical Simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahardika, Harry

    Hydromechanical energy can be partially converted into electromagnetic energy due to electrokinetic effect, where mechanical energy causes the relative displacement of the charged pore water with respect to the solid skeleton of the porous material and generated electrical current density. An application of this phenomenon is seismoelectric method, a geophysical method in which electromagnetic signals are recorded and associated with the propagation of seismic waves. Due to its coupling nature, seismoelectric method promises advantages in characterizing the subsurface properties and geometry compared to independent employments of seismic or electromagnetic acquisition alone. Since the recorded seismoelectric signal are sensitive to water content changes this method have been applied for groundwater studies to delineates vadoze zone-aquifer boundary since the last twenty years. The problem, however, the existing governing equations of coupled seismic and electromagnetic are not accounted for unsaturated conditions and its petrophysical sensitivity to water content. In this thesis we extend the applications of seismoelectric method for unsaturated porous medium for several geophysical problems. (1) We begin our study with numerical study to localize and characterize a seismic event induced by hydraulic fracturing operation sedimentary rocks. In this problem, we use the fully-saturated case of seismoelectric method and we propose a new joint inversion scheme (seismic and seismoelectric) to determine the position and moment tensor that event. (2) We expand the seismoelectric theory for unsaturated condition and show that the generation of electrical current density are depend on several important petrophysical properties that are sensitive to water content. This new expansion of governing equation provide us theory for developing a new approach for seismoelectric method to image the oil water encroachment front during water flooding of an oil reservoir or an aquifer

  2. Transport of solutes through unsaturated fractured media: Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project

    SciTech Connect

    Dykhuizen, R.C.

    1988-03-01

    A numerical model is presented to represent the transport of solutes through a highly fractured unsaturated, porous medium. To accomplish this, the solute is tracked separately in two flow systems a matrix pore flow system and a fracture network, with interaction terms. Compatible hydraulic equations for such a dual system are also presented to enable solution of the solute trasport. The hydraulic equations chosen use the equivlaent porous media concept. These equations can also be applied to a saturated medium without modification. However, many of the transport terms will be negligible for such an application. A brief sample calculation illustates the method. 11 refs., 4 figs.

  3. Comparison of strongly heat-driven flow codes for unsaturated media

    SciTech Connect

    Updegraff, C.D.

    1989-08-01

    Under the sponsorship of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) is developing a performance assessment methodology for the analysis of long-term disposal of high-level radioactive waste (HLW) in unsaturated welded tuff. As part of this effort, SNL evaluated existing strongly heat-driven flow computer codes for simulating ground-water flow in unsaturated media. The three codes tested, NORIA, PETROS, and TOUGH, were compared against a suite of problems for which analytical and numerical solutions or experimental results exist. The problems were selected to test the abilities of the codes to simulate situations ranging from simple, uncoupled processes, such as two-phase flow or heat transfer, to fully coupled processes, such as vaporization caused by high temperatures. In general, all three codes were found to be difficult to use because of (1) built-in time stepping criteria, (2) the treatment of boundary conditions, and (3) handling of evaporation/condensation problems. A drawback of the study was that adequate problems related to expected repository conditions were not available in the literature. Nevertheless, the results of this study suggest the need for thorough investigations of the impact of heat on the flow field in the vicinity of an unsaturated HLW repository. Recommendations are to develop a new flow code combining the best features of these three codes and eliminating the worst ones. 19 refs., 49 figs.

  4. Does Water Content or Flow Rate Control Colloid Transport in Unsaturated Porous Media?

    SciTech Connect

    Thorsten Knappenberger; Markus Flury; Earl D. Mattson; James B. Harsh

    2014-03-01

    Mobile colloids can play an important role in contaminant transport in soils: many contaminants exist in colloidal form, and colloids can facilitate transport of otherwise immobile contaminants. In unsaturated soils, colloid transport is, among other factors, affected by water content and flow rate. Our objective was to determine whether water content or flow rate is more important for colloid transport. We passed negatively charged polystyrene colloids (220 nm diameter) through unsaturated sand-filled columns under steady-state flow at different water contents (effective water saturations Se ranging from 0.1 to 1.0, with Se = (? – ?r)/(?s – ?r)) and flow rates (pore water velocities v of 5 and 10 cm/min). Water content was the dominant factor in our experiments. Colloid transport decreased with decreasing water content, and below a critical water content (Se < 0.1), colloid transport was inhibited, and colloids were strained in water films. Pendular ring and water film thickness calculations indicated that colloids can move only when pendular rings are interconnected. The flow rate affected retention of colloids in the secondary energy minimum, with less colloids being trapped when the flow rate increased. These results confirm the importance of both water content and flow rate for colloid transport in unsaturated porous media and highlight the dominant role of water content.

  5. Estimation of rates of aerobic hydrocarbon biodegradation by simulation of gas transport in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lahvis, M.A.; Baehr, A.L.

    1996-01-01

    The distribution of oxygen and carbon dioxide gases in the unsaturated zone provides a geochemical signature of aerobic hydrocarbon degradation at petroleum product spill sites. The fluxes of these gases are proportional to the rate of aerobic biodegradation and are quantified by calibrating a mathematical transport model to the oxygen and carbon dioxide gas concentration data. Reaction stoichiometry is assumed to convert the gas fluxes to a corresponding rate of hydrocarbon degradation. The method is applied at a gasoline spill site in Galloway Township, New Jersey, to determine the rate of aerobic degradation of hydrocarbons associated with passive and bioventing remediation field experiments. At the site, microbial degradation of hydrocarbons near the water table limits the migration of hydrocarbon solutes in groundwater and prevents hydrocarbon volatilization into the unsaturated zone. In the passive remediation experiment a site-wide degradation rate estimate of 34,400 g yr-1 (11.7 gal. yr-1) of hydrocarbon was obtained by model calibration to carbon dioxide gas concentration data collected in December 1989. In the bioventing experiment, degradation rate estimates of 46.0 and 47.9 g m-2 yr-1 (1.45 x 10-3 and 1.51 x 10-3 gal. ft.-2 yr-1) of hydrocarbon were obtained by model calibration to oxygen and carbon dioxide gas concentration data, respectively. Method application was successful in quantifying the significance of a naturally occurring process that can effectively contribute to plume stabilization.

  6. Conceptual hydrologic model of flow in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Montazer, P.M.; Wilson, W.E.

    1984-01-01

    The unsaturated volcanic tuffs beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are being evaluated as a host rock for a potential repository for high-level radioactive waste. A conceptual hydrologic model is proposed to describe the flow of fluids through these rocks. Thickness of the unsaturated zone is about 500 to 750 meters and consists of three welded units interlayered with two nonwelded units. Compared to nonwelded units, welded units have low matrix porosities and permeabilities, high fracture densities, and high bulk hydraulic conductivities. The principal repository area is bounded by normal fault zones. Of the average annual precipitation of 150 millimeters per year, 0.5 to 4.5 millimeters per year becomes net infiltration. Percolation through the matrix of the welded units is principally vertical and is less than 1 millimeter per year. Percolation through nonwelded units occurs both vertically and laterally and has variable rates (0.1 to 100 millimeters per year). Fracture flow is predominant in the uppermost welded unit during intense pulses of infiltration, but is insignificant in the welded unit that forms the potential host rock. Lateral flow in the upper nonwelded unit, enhanced by existence of a capillary barrier, probably is the factor controlling the low fluxes in the host rock and relatively high fluxes in the structural features. (USGS)

  7. Isotopic data of pore water extracted from unsaturated-zone cores at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, I.C.

    1997-12-01

    Isotopic compositions of unsaturated-zone (UZ) ground water ({delta}{sup 18}O, {delta}D, {delta}{sup 13}C and {sup 14}C) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the site of a potential permanent national nuclear waste repository, can be used to infer the origins of water, residence times of the water, water flux, climatic and evaporative history of water, flow paths and velocities. These data can also be used as indicators of transport properties or water-rock interaction. The lack of long-term direct measurements of infiltration requires proxy indicators of water movement through the unsaturated zone to extend the record into the past. This report will discuss {delta}D and {delta}{sup 18}O data obtained from pore water, along with the {delta}{sup 13}C and {sup 14}C data of gas and water obtained from four boreholes dry-drilled through all UZ lithologic units to infer the existence of nonvertical flowpaths through the mountain and residence times of pore water.

  8. Field determination of vertical permeability to air in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Weeks, Edwin P.

    1978-01-01

    The vertical permeability to air of layered materials in the unsaturated zone may be determined from air pressure data obtained at depth during a period when air pressure is changing at land surface. Such data may be obtained by monitoring barometric pressure with a microbarograph or surveying altimeter and simultaneously measuring down-hole pneumatic head differences in specially constructed piezometers. These data, coupled with air-filled porosity data from other sources, may be compared with the results of electric-analog or numerical solution of the one-dimensional diffusion equation to make a trial-and-error determination of the air permeability for each layer. The permeabilities to air may in turn be converted to equivalent hydraulic conductivity values if the materials are well drained, are permeable enough that the Klinkenberg effect is small, and are structurally unaffected by wetting. The method offers potential advantages over present methods to evaluate sites for artificial recharge by spreading; to evaluate ground-water pollution hazards from feedlots, sanitary landfills , and land irrigated with sewage effluent; and to evaluate sites for temporary storage of gas in the unsaturated zone. (Woodard-USGS)

  9. A borehole instrumentation program for characterization of unsaturated-zone percolation

    SciTech Connect

    Kume, J.; Rousseau, J.P.

    1994-12-31

    A borehole instrumentation and monitoring program has been designed by the US Geological Survey to support site characterization of unsaturated-zone percolation at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada. This program provides a means of defining the unsaturated-zone fluid flow (liquid and gas) potential field in a setting that incorporates large-scale stratigraphic and structural features, and the influences of geothermal heat flow and atmospheric pressure changes. Data derived from this program will be used to evaluate the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a mined geologic-repository for the storage of high-level, radioactive waste. These data include in-situ temperature, pneumatic pressure, and water potential. In addition, the instrumentation program provides facilities for gas-sampling, gas-tracer diffusion testing, water-injection testing, water-level monitoring, neutron moisture-meter monitoring, temperature profiling, and in-situ recalibration of the downhole sensors. The program included testing and development of: (1) precision sensors for measurement; (2) a downhole instrumentation-station-apparatus to house the sensors, recalibrate sensors in-situ, and allow access to instrument stations for other testing purposes; and (3) surface-based support and instrumentation facilities.

  10. SESOIL. Code System Calculate One-Dimensional Vertical Transport Unsaturated Soil Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Scott, S.J.; Hetrick, D.M.

    1994-08-01

    SESOIL, as an integrated screening-level soil compartment model, is designed to simultaneously model water transport, sediment transport, and pollutant fate. SESOIL is a one-dimensional vertical transport model for the unsaturated soil zone. Only one compound at a time can be considered. The model is based on mass balance and equilibrium partitioning of the chemical between different phases (dissolved, sorbed, vapor, and pure). The SESOIL model was designed to perform long-term simulations of chemical transport and transformations in the soil and uses theoretically derived equations to represent water transport, sediment transport on the land surface, pollutant transformation, and migration of the pollutant to the atmosphere and groundwater. Climatic data, compartment geometry, and soil and chemical property data are the major components used in the equations. SESOIL was developed as a screening-level model, utilizing less soil, chemical, and meteorological values as input than most other similar models. Output of SESOIL includes time-varying pollutant concentrations at various soil depths and pollutant loss from the unsaturated zone in terms of surface runoff, percolation to the groundwater, volatilization, and degradation. The February 1995 release corrects an error that caused the code to fail when average monthly air temperature was -10C and includes an improved iteration procedure for the mass balance equations in the model.

  11. Flow-path textures and mineralogy in tuffs of the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Levy, Schön; Chipera, Steve; WoldeGabriel, Giday; Fabryka-Martin, June; Roach, Jeffrey; Sweetkind, Donald S.

    1999-01-01

    The high concentration of chlorine-36 (36Cl) produced by above-ground nuclear tests (bomb-pulse) provides a fortuitous tracer for infiltration during the last 50 years, and is used to detect fast flow in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a thick deposit of welded and nonwelded tuffs. Evidence of fast flow as much as 300 m into the mountain has been found in several zones in a 7.7-km tunnel. Many zones are associated with faults that provide continuous fracture flow paths from the surface. In the Sundance fault zone, water with the bomb-pulse signature has moved into subsidiary fractures and breccia zones. We found no highly distinctive mineralogic associations of fault and fracture samples containing bomb-pulse 36Cl. Bomb-pulse sites are slightly more likely to have calcite deposits than are non-bomb-pulse sites. Most other mineralogic and textural associations of fast-flow paths reflect the structural processes leading to locally enhanced permeability rather than the effects of ground-water percolation. Water movement through the rock was investigated by isotopic analysis of paired samples representing breccia zones and fractured wall rock bounding the breccia zones. Where bomb-pulse 36Cl is present, the waters in bounding fractures and intergranular pores of the fast pathways are not in equilibrium with respect to the isotopic signal. In structural domains that have experienced extensional deformation, fluid flow within a breccia is equivalent to matrix flow in a particulate rock, whereas true fracture flow occurs along the boundaries of a breccia zone. Where shearing predominated over extension, the boundary between wall rock and breccia is rough and irregular with a tight wallrock/breccia contact. The absence of a gap between the breccia and the wall rock helps maintain fluid flow within the breccia instead of along the wallrock/breccia boundary, leading to higher 36Cl/Cl values in the breccia than in the wall rock.

  12. Plant Production Systems for Microgravity: Critical Issues in Water, Air, and Solute Transport Through Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steinberg, Susan L. (Editor); Ming, Doug W. (Editor); Henninger, Don (Editor)

    2002-01-01

    This NASA Technical Memorandum is a compilation of presentations and discussions in the form of minutes from a workshop entitled 'Plant Production Systems for Microgravity: Critical Issues in Water, Air, and Solute Transport Through Unsaturated Porous Media' held at NASA's Johnson Space Center, July 24-25, 2000. This workshop arose from the growing belief within NASA's Advanced Life Support Program that further advances and improvements in plant production systems for microgravity would benefit from additional knowledge of fundamental processes occurring in the root zone. The objective of the workshop was to bring together individuals who had expertise in various areas of fluid physics, soil physics, plant physiology, hardware development, and flight tests to identify, discuss, and prioritize critical issues of water and air flow through porous media in microgravity. Participants of the workshop included representatives from private companies involved in flight hardware development and scientists from universities and NASA Centers with expertise in plant flight tests, plant physiology, fluid physics, and soil physics.

  13. Novel methods for measuring air-water interfacial area in unsaturated porous media.

    PubMed

    Brusseau, Mark L; El Ouni, Asma; Araujo, Juliana B; Zhong, Hua

    2015-05-01

    Interfacial partitioning tracer tests (IPTT) are used to measure air-water interfacial area for unsaturated porous media. The standard IPTT method involves conducting tests wherein an aqueous surfactant solution is introduced into a packed column under unsaturated flow conditions. Surfactant-induced drainage has been observed to occur for this method in some cases, which can complicate data analysis and impart uncertainty to the measured values. Two novel alternative approaches for conducting IPTTs are presented herein that are designed in part to prevent surfactant-induced drainage. The two methods are termed the dual-surfactant IPTT (IPTT-DS) and the residual-air IPTT (IPTT-RA). The two methods were used to measure air-water interfacial areas for two natural porous media. System monitoring during the tests revealed no measurable surfactant-induced drainage. The measured interfacial areas compared well to those obtained with the standard IPTT method conducted in such a manner that surfactant-induced drainage was prevented. PMID:25732632

  14. NOVEL METHODS FOR MEASURING AIR-WATER INTERFACIAL AREA IN UNSATURATED POROUS MEDIA

    PubMed Central

    Brusseau, Mark L.; Ouni, Asma El; Araujo, Juliana B.; Zhong, Hua

    2015-01-01

    Interfacial partitioning tracer tests (IPTT) are used to measure air-water interfacial area for unsaturated porous media. The standard IPTT method involves conducting tests wherein an aqueous surfactant solution is introduced into a packed column under unsaturated flow conditions. Surfactant-induced drainage has been observed to occur for this method in some cases, which can complicate data analysis and impart uncertainty to the measured values. Two novel alternative approaches for conducting IPTTs are presented herein that are designed in part to prevent surfactant-induced drainage. The two methods are termed the dual-surfactant IPTT (IPTT-DS) and the residual-air IPTT (IPTT-RA). The two methods were used to measure air-water interfacial areas for two natural porous media. System monitoring during the tests revealed no measurable surfactant-induced drainage. The measured interfacial areas compared well to those obtained with the standard IPTT method conducted in such a manner that surfactant-induced drainage was prevented. PMID:25732632

  15. Analytical and numerical analyses of an unconfined aquifer test considering unsaturated zone characteristics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moench, Allen F.

    2008-06-01

    A 7-d, constant rate aquifer test conducted by University of Waterloo researchers at Canadian Forces Base Borden in Ontario, Canada, is useful for advancing understanding of fluid flow processes in response to pumping from an unconfined aquifer. Measured data include not only drawdown in the saturated zone but also volumetric soil moisture measured at various times and distances from the pumped well. Analytical analyses were conducted with the model published in 2001 by Moench and colleagues, which allows for gradual drainage but does not include unsaturated zone characteristics, and the model published in 2006 by Mathias and Butler, which assumes that moisture retention and relative hydraulic conductivity (RHC) in the unsaturated zone are exponential functions of pressure head. Parameters estimated with either model yield good matches between measured and simulated drawdowns in piezometers. Numerical analyses were conducted with two versions of VS2DT: one that uses traditional Brooks and Corey functional relations and one that uses a RHC function introduced in 2001 by Assouline that includes an additional parameter that accounts for soil structure and texture. The analytical model of Mathias and Butler and numerical model of VS2DT with the Assouline model both show that the RHC function must contain a fitting parameter that is different from that used in the moisture retention function. Results show the influence of field-scale heterogeneity and suggest that the RHC at the Borden site declines more rapidly with elevation above the top of the capillary fringe than would be expected if the parameters were to reflect local- or core-scale soil structure and texture.

  16. Analytical and numerical analyses of an unconfined aquifer test considering unsaturated zone characteristics

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moench, A.F.

    2008-01-01

    A 7-d, constant rate aquifer test conducted by University of Waterloo researchers at Canadian Forces Base Borden in Ontario, Canada, is useful for advancing understanding of fluid flow processes in response to pumping from an unconfined aquifer. Measured data include not only drawdown in the saturated zone but also volumetric soil moisture measured at various times and distances from the pumped well. Analytical analyses were conducted with the model published in 2001 by Moench and colleagues, which allows for gradual drainage but does not include unsaturated zone characteristics, and the model published in 2006 by Mathias and Butler, which assumes that moisture retention and relative hydraulic conductivity (RHC) in the unsaturated zone are exponential functions of pressure head. Parameters estimated with either model yield good matches between measured and simulated drawdowns in piezometers. Numerical analyses were conducted with two versions of VS2DT: one that uses traditional Brooks and Corey functional relations and one that uses a RHC function introduced in 2001 by Assouline that includes an additional parameter that accounts for soil structure and texture. The analytical model of Mathias and Butler and numerical model of VS2DT with the Assouline model both show that the RHC function must contain a fitting parameter that is different from that used in the moisture retention function. Results show the influence of field-scale heterogeneity and suggest that the RHC at the Borden site declines more rapidly with elevation above the top of the capillary fringe than would be expected if the parameters were to reflect local- or core-scale soil structure and texture.

  17. Biodegradation of vapor-phase toluene in unsaturated porous media: Column experiments.

    PubMed

    Khan, Ali M; Wick, Lukas Y; Harms, Hauke; Thullner, Martin

    2016-04-01

    Biodegradation of organic chemicals in the vapor phase of soils and vertical flow filters has gained attention as promising approach to clean up volatile organic compounds (VOC). The drivers of VOC biodegradation in unsaturated systems however still remain poorly understood. Here, we analyzed the processes controlling aerobic VOC biodegradation in a laboratory setup mimicking the unsaturated zone above a shallow aquifer. The setup allowed for diffusive vapor-phase transport and biodegradation of three VOC: non-deuterated and deuterated toluene as two compounds of highly differing biodegradability but (nearly) identical physical and chemical properties, and MTBE as (at the applied experimental conditions) non-biodegradable tracer and internal control. Our results showed for toluene an effective microbial degradation within centimeter VOC transport distances despite high gas-phase diffusivity. Degradation rates were controlled by the reactivity of the compounds while oxic conditions were found everywhere in the system. This confirms hypotheses that vadose zone biodegradation rates can be extremely high and are able to prevent the outgassing of VOC to the atmosphere within a centimeter range if compound properties and site conditions allow for sufficiently high degradation rates. PMID:26774779

  18. Comparison of three techniques to measure unsaturated-zone air permeability at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olson, Mira Stone; Tillman, Fred D.; Choi, Jee-Won; Smith, James A.

    2001-12-01

    The purpose of this study is to compare three techniques to measure the air permeability of the unsaturated zone at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ and to examine the effects of moisture content and soil heterogeneity on air permeability. Air permeability was measured in three ways: laboratory experiments on intact soil cores, field-scale air pump tests and calibration of air permeability to air pressures measured in the field under natural air pressure conditions using a numerical airflow model. The results obtained from these three methods were compared and found to be similar. Laboratory experiments performed on intact cores measured air permeability values on the order of 10 -14 to 10 -9 m 2. Low-permeability cores were found between land surface and a depth of 0.6 m. The soil core data were divided into two layers with composite vertical permeability values of 1.3×10 -13 m 2 from land surface to a 0.6-m depth and 3.8×10 -10 m 2 for the lower layer. Analyses of the field-scale pump tests were performed for two scenarios: one in which the entire unsaturated zone was open to the atmosphere and one assuming a cap of low permeability extending 0.6 m below land surface. The vertical air permeability values obtained for the open scenario ranged from 1.2×10 -9 to 1.5×10 -9 m 2, and ranged from 3.6×10 -9 to 6.8×10 -9 m 2 in the lower layer, assuming an upper cap permeability of 6.0×10 -14 m 2. The results from the open scenario are much higher than expected and the possible reasons for this ambiguity are discussed. The results from the capped scenario matched closely with those from the other methods and indicated that it is important to have background information on the study site to correctly analyze the pump test data. The optimized fit of the natural subsurface air pressure was achieved with an intrinsic permeability value of 3.3×10 -14 m 2. When the data were refitted to the model assuming two distinct layers of the unsaturated zone, the optimized fit was achieved

  19. Nitrate behaviors in unsaturated zone under farmlands with different fertilization log at Kumamoto region, Japan.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Okumura, Azusa; Hosono, Takahiro; Shimada, Jun

    2016-04-01

    Excessive application of fertilizer and manure in agricultural activities often caused an increase of nitrate concentration in groundwater. The study area, Kumamoto is also facing this type of problem. Previous studies using nitrogen-oxygen isotope ratios in nitrate, it was shown that accumulation of chemical fertilizer is the major factor of nitrate contamination in the Kumamoto region. However, once it loaded nitrogen component may change its form and isotopic composition during downwards transportation into the aquifer. Especially, in the study area where the groundwater is recharged through a thick unsaturated zone, and therefore, it is important to elucidate the phenomenon happened in the soil zone of this area. However, it has not been. To clarify the behavior of nitrogen and the change of nitrate concentration in the unsaturated zone, we analyzed the nitrogen-oxygen isotope ratios of the extracted soil water of the unsaturated zone soils, sampled in the farmland having different fertilization logs. In addition, we attempted to verify the origin of groundwater contamination by comparing with previous results. The plateaus-like topography of the study area is consists of the pyroclastic flow deposits. Land use is mainly farmland and this area is a major source of nitrogen load and transport route into the aquifer. Nitrate concentration in groundwater at terraces recharge area has been reported about 40 mg/L. Drilling survey carried out in the unsaturated zone soil on 4 farmlands with the different land use logs in such terraces. Drilling point KO and KTO were treated by both slurry and chemical fertilizers, on the other hand, point M1 and M2 were fertilized by only chemical fertilizers. The drilling depth was up to 14-15 m, and soil samples were kept on evacuated condition after sectioning into 10 cm interval. The soil water was extracted using a centrifuge machine. The extracted soil water was measured for the nitrogen-oxygen isotope ratios in nitrate and

  20. Parallel computing simulation of fluid flow in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Keni; Wu, Yu-Shu; Bodvarsson, G S

    2003-01-01

    This paper presents the application of parallel computing techniques to large-scale modeling of fluid flow in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In this study, parallel computing techniques, as implemented into the TOUGH2 code, are applied in large-scale numerical simulations on a distributed-memory parallel computer. The modeling study has been conducted using an over-1-million-cell three-dimensional numerical model, which incorporates a wide variety of field data for the highly heterogeneous fractured formation at Yucca Mountain. The objective of this study is to analyze the impact of various surface infiltration scenarios (under current and possible future climates) on flow through the UZ system, using various hydrogeological conceptual models with refined grids. The results indicate that the 1-million-cell models produce better resolution results and reveal some flow patterns that cannot be obtained using coarse-grid modeling models. PMID:12714301

  1. Simulating the Thermal History of the Unsaturated Zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    B.D. Marshal; J.F. Whelan

    2001-07-23

    Heat transfer within Earth's upper crust is primarily by conduction, and conductive thermal models adequately explain the cooling history of deep, batholith-scale intrusions and surrounding wall rocks, as confirmed by numerous thermochronometric studies. However, caldera magmatic systems require consideration of the small and localized component of hydrothermal convection and numerical models to simulate additional boundary conditions, irregular magma chamber shapes, and complex intrusive histories. At Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the site of a potential high-level nuclear waste repository, simulating the detailed thermal history at any location in the unsaturated zone requires knowledge of the shape of the magma chamber and its proximity to Yucca Mountain (the southern margin of the Timber Mountain caldera complex is approximately 8 km north of the potential repository site), the temporal and spatial extent of hydrothermal convection, the erosional history of the area, and past levels of the water table.

  2. Massively parallel computing simulation of fluid flow in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, Keni; Wu, Yu-Shu; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    2001-08-31

    This paper presents the application of parallel computing techniques to large-scale modeling of fluid flow in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In this study, parallel computing techniques, as implemented into the TOUGH2 code, are applied in large-scale numerical simulations on a distributed-memory parallel computer. The modeling study has been conducted using an over-one-million-cell three-dimensional numerical model, which incorporates a wide variety of field data for the highly heterogeneous fractured formation at Yucca Mountain. The objective of this study is to analyze the impact of various surface infiltration scenarios (under current and possible future climates) on flow through the UZ system, using various hydrogeological conceptual models with refined grids. The results indicate that the one-million-cell models produce better resolution results and reveal some flow patterns that cannot be obtained using coarse-grid modeling models.

  3. Observations on preferential flow and horizontal transport of nitrogen fertilizer in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilkison, D.H.; Blevins, D.W.

    1999-01-01

    A study site underlain by a claypan soil was instrumented to examine the transport of fertilizer nitrogen (N) under corn (Zea mays L.) cultivation. The study was designed to examine N transport within the unsaturated zone and in interflow (the saturated flow of water on top of the claypan). A 15N- labeled fertilizer (labeled N), bromide (Br), and chloride (Cl) were used as field tracers. Rapid or prolonged infiltration events allowed water and dissolved solutes to perch on the claypan for brief periods. However, a well- developed network of preferential flow paths quickly diverted water and solutes through the claypan and into the underlying glacial till aquifer. Excess fertilizer N in the unsaturated zone supplied a continuous, but declining input of N to ground water for a period of 15 mo after a single fertilizer application. Calculated solute velocities through the claypan matrix (6.4 x 10-6 cm s-1) were similar to horizontal transport rates along the claypan (3.5 to 7.3 x 10-6 cm s-1) but much slower than infiltration rates determined for preferential flow paths (1.67 x 10-3 cm s-1). These flow paths accounted for 35% of the transport. A seasonally variable, dual mode of transport (matrix and preferential flow) prevented the claypan from being an effective barrier to vertical transport. Simulations of selected field observations, conducted using the variably saturated two- dimensional flow and transport model, VS2DT, confirmed the presence of a dual flow regime in the claypan.

  4. Variations in pesticide leaching related to land use, pesticide properties, and unsaturated zone thickness

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Webb, R.M.T.; Wieczorek, M.E.; Nolan, B.T.; Hancock, T.C.; Sandstrom, M.W.; Barbash, J.E.; Bayless, E.R.; Healy, R.W.; Linard, J.

    2008-01-01

    Pesticide leaching through variably thick soils beneath agricultural fields in Morgan Creek, Maryland was simulated for water years 1995 to 2004 using LEACHM (Leaching Estimation and Chemistry Model). Fifteen individual models were constructed to simulate five depths and three crop rotations with associated pesticide applications. Unsaturated zone thickness averaged 4.7 m but reached a maximum of 18.7 m. Average annual recharge to ground water decreased from 15.9 to 11.1 cm as the unsaturated zone increased in thickness from 1 to 10 m. These point estimates of recharge are at the lower end of previously published values, which used methods that integrate over larger areas capturing focused recharge in the numerous detention ponds in the watershed. The total amount of applied and leached masses for five parent pesticide compounds and seven metabolites were estimated for the 32-km2 Morgan Creek watershed by associating each hectare to the closest one-dimensional model analog of model depth and crop rotation scenario as determined from land-use surveys. LEACHM parameters were set such that branched, serial, first-order decay of pesticides and metabolites was realistically simulated. Leaching is predicted to be greatest for shallow soils and for persistent compounds with low sorptivity. Based on simulation results, percent parent compounds leached within the watershed can be described by a regression model of the form e−depth (a ln t½−b ln KOC) where t 1/2 is the degradation half-life in aerobic soils, K OC is the organic carbon normalized sorption coefficient, and a and b are fitted coefficients (R 2 = 0.86, p value = 7 × 10−9).

  5. Code System Calculate One-Dimensional Vertical Transport Unsaturated Soil Zone

    Energy Science and Technology Software Center (ESTSC)

    1989-03-01

    SESOIL, as an integrated screening-level soil compartment model, is designed to simultaneously model water transport, sediment transport, and pollutant fate. SESOIL is a one-dimensional vertical transport model for the unsaturated soil zone. Only one compound at a time can be considered. The model is based on mass balance and equilibrium partitioning of the chemical between different phases (dissolved, sorbed, vapor, and pure). The SESOIL model was designed to perform long-term simulations of chemical transport andmore » transformations in the soil and uses theoretically derived equations to represent water transport, sediment transport on the land surface, pollutant transformation, and migration of the pollutant to the atmosphere and groundwater. Climatic data, compartment geometry, and soil and chemical property data are the major components used in the equations. SESOIL was developed as a screening-level model, utilizing less soil, chemical, and meteorological values as input than most other similar models. Output of SESOIL includes time-varying pollutant concentrations at various soil depths and pollutant loss from the unsaturated zone in terms of surface runoff, percolation to the groundwater, volatilization, and degradation. The February 1995 release corrects an error that caused the code to fail when average monthly air temperature was -10C and includes an improved iteration procedure for the mass balance equations in the model. PLEASE NOTE: The RISKPRO information management software (see OTHER PROG/OPER SYS INFO) was used by the developers of the New SESOIL User''s Guide in their study and revisions of SESOIL. Using RISKPRO in conjunction with SESOIL is an option, and it may provide the easiest way to use SESOIL. The other option, use of SESOIL in stand-alone mode, has been tested and used. The stand-alone option is covered in ''Instructions for Running Stand-Alone SESOIL Code'', and in ''A Seasonal Soil Compartment Model''.« less

  6. SESOIL. Code System Calculate One-Dimensional Vertical Transport Unsaturated Soil Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Hetrick, D.M.; Scott, D.J.

    1994-08-01

    SESOIL, as an integrated screening-level soil compartment model, is designed to simultaneously model water transport, sediment transport, and pollutant fate. SESOIL is a one-dimensional vertical transport model for the unsaturated soil zone. Only one compound at a time can be considered. The model is based on mass balance and equilibrium partitioning of the chemical between different phases (dissolved, sorbed, vapor, and pure). The SESOIL model was designed to perform long-term simulations of chemical transport and transformations in the soil and uses theoretically derived equations to represent water transport, sediment transport on the land surface, pollutant transformation, and migration of the pollutant to the atmosphere and groundwater. Climatic data, compartment geometry, and soil and chemical property data are the major components used in the equations. SESOIL was developed as a screening-level model, utilizing less soil, chemical, and meteorological values as input than most other similar models. Output of SESOIL includes time-varying pollutant concentrations at various soil depths and pollutant loss from the unsaturated zone in terms of surface runoff, percolation to the groundwater, volatilization, and degradation. The February 1995 release corrects an error that caused the code to fail when average monthly air temperature was -10C and includes an improved iteration procedure for the mass balance equations in the model. PLEASE NOTE: The RISKPRO information management software (see OTHER PROG/OPER SYS INFO) was used by the developers of the New SESOIL User`s Guide in their study and revisions of SESOIL. Using RISKPRO in conjunction with SESOIL is an option, and it may provide the easiest way to use SESOIL. The other option, use of SESOIL in stand-alone mode, has been tested and used. The stand-alone option is covered in `Instructions for Running Stand-Alone SESOIL Code`, and in `A Seasonal Soil Compartment Model`.

  7. Code System Calculate One-Dimensional Vertical Transport Unsaturated Soil Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Bonazountas, Marcos; Wagner, Janet

    1989-03-01

    SESOIL, as an integrated screening-level soil compartment model, is designed to simultaneously model water transport, sediment transport, and pollutant fate. SESOIL is a one-dimensional vertical transport model for the unsaturated soil zone. Only one compound at a time can be considered. The model is based on mass balance and equilibrium partitioning of the chemical between different phases (dissolved, sorbed, vapor, and pure). The SESOIL model was designed to perform long-term simulations of chemical transport and transformations in the soil and uses theoretically derived equations to represent water transport, sediment transport on the land surface, pollutant transformation, and migration of the pollutant to the atmosphere and groundwater. Climatic data, compartment geometry, and soil and chemical property data are the major components used in the equations. SESOIL was developed as a screening-level model, utilizing less soil, chemical, and meteorological values as input than most other similar models. Output of SESOIL includes time-varying pollutant concentrations at various soil depths and pollutant loss from the unsaturated zone in terms of surface runoff, percolation to the groundwater, volatilization, and degradation. The February 1995 release corrects an error that caused the code to fail when average monthly air temperature was -10C and includes an improved iteration procedure for the mass balance equations in the model. PLEASE NOTE: The RISKPRO information management software (see OTHER PROG/OPER SYS INFO) was used by the developers of the New SESOIL User''s Guide in their study and revisions of SESOIL. Using RISKPRO in conjunction with SESOIL is an option, and it may provide the easiest way to use SESOIL. The other option, use of SESOIL in stand-alone mode, has been tested and used. The stand-alone option is covered in ''Instructions for Running Stand-Alone SESOIL Code'', and in ''A Seasonal Soil Compartment Model''.

  8. Learning from models: Insights into the behavior of water in unsaturated fractured-porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ireson, A. M.; Butler, A. P.

    2014-12-01

    The way that water is stored within and transmitted through structured porous media can be challenging to infer from available observation techniques, in particular at field scales. Fractured porous media are an example of such structured media, comprising a fracture domain and a matrix domain. Flow processes depend on how water is both stored and transmitted within each domain, and how water exchanges between the domains. In unsaturated conditions the problem is confounded as hydraulic properties (e.g. hydraulic conductivity) in each domain become dynamic, as a function of saturation. One domain may not contribute significantly to the flow, or may not provide significant amounts of storage, depending of the properties of both domains. The two domains may or may not respond in equilibrium with one another, depending on both the properties and on driving boundary conditions (i.e. infiltration intensity). Physically based models can in theory be used to falsify hypotheses about the role of the fractures versus the matrix in transmitting flow, within an inverse modelling framework. However, there are two problems: firstly, even the most detailed and complex physically based model will still be a simplification of reality, unable to resolve heterogeneities that exist; and secondly the observations available may not contain sufficient information to constrain the model. In this study we explore how models and observations have been applied to understand the flow processes in the unsaturated Chalk in field sites in south east England. We look at what can and cannot be inferred from various observations, including the water table response, soil moisture and matric potential, and the power of these observations to constrain models. We look at how models provide a framework through which to interpret the observations, and provide insights into the dominant controls on behavior. In the case of the unsaturated Chalk, we have demonstrated that groundwater recharge is

  9. Effect of the unsaturated zone thickness on the distribution of water mean transit times in a porous aquifer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwientek, M.; Maloszewski, P.; Einsiedl, F.

    2009-07-01

    SummaryThe mean transit time of groundwater is commonly expected to increase gradually with increasing depth below water table. The present study provides evidence that the theoretical distribution of transit times may be significantly altered depending on the thickness of the unsaturated zone. An unconfined porous groundwater system formed by Tertiary sediments (Test Field Scheyern close to Munich in southern Germany) is overlain by an unsaturated zone with variable thickness between 4 and 60 m. Between 1992 and 2007 the groundwater system has been repeatedly sampled for tritium contents at different depths using two high-resolved wells. Modelled tritium concentrations by using a lumped parameter approach yielded depth profiles of mean transit times of tracer. In one well the profile was characterized by two local transit time maxima, each of approximately 100 years. A moving particle approach (MPA) developed in this study was used on the streamlines between the recharge zones linked to different sampling depths in the well. This suggested that the observed transit time in the profile was mainly governed by variable travel distances of the tracer through the unsaturated zone at the points of recharge. This finding was confirmed at a second multi-level well of the test site. The lumped parameter modelling of chlorofluorocarbon data yielded lower transit times as compared to those obtained from tritium data. This effect was explained by the different behaviour of tritium and chlorofluorocarbons in the unsaturated zone. The study clearly shows that the impact of a variable thickness of the unsaturated zone may overweigh the effect of local heterogeneities. Such transit time distributions of water in porous aquifers as observed in the present study can only be achieved with the help of environmental tracer data.

  10. Assessment of groundwater quality by unsaturated zone study due to migration of leachate from Abloradjei waste disposal site, Ghana

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Egbi, Courage Davidson; Akiti, Tetteh Thomas; Osae, Shiloh; Dampare, Samuel Boakye; Abass, Gibrilla; Adomako, Dickson

    2015-06-01

    Leachate generated by open solid waste disposal sites contains substances likely to contaminate groundwater. The impact of potential contaminants migrating from leachate on groundwater can be quantified by monitoring their concentration and soil properties at specific points in the unsaturated zone. In this study, physical and chemical analyses were carried out on leachate, soil and water samples within the vicinity of the municipal solid waste disposal site at Abloradjei, a suburb of Accra, Ghana. The area has seen a massive increase in population and the residents depend on groundwater as the main source of water supply. Results obtained indicate alkaline pH for leachate and acidic conditions for unsaturated zone water. High EC values were recorded for leachate and unsaturated zone water. Major ions (Ca2+, Na+, Mg2+, K+, NO3 -, SO4 2-, Cl-, PO4 3- were analysed in leachate, unsaturated zone water, soil solution and groundwater while trace metals (Al, Fe, Cu, Zn, Pb) were analysed in both soil and extracted soil solution. Concentrations of major ions were high in all samples indicating possible anthropogenic origin. Mean % gravel, % sand, % clay, bulk density, volumetric water content and porosity were 28.8, 63.93, 6.6, 1 g cm-3, 35 and 62.7 %, respectively. Distribution of trace elements showed Kd variation of Al > Cu > Fe > Pb > Zn in the order of sequential increasing solubility. It was observed that the quality of groundwater is not suitable for drinking.

  11. The fate and transport of nitroglycerin in the unsaturated zone at active and legacy anti-tank firing positions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bordeleau, Geneviève; Martel, Richard; Ampleman, Guy; Thiboutot, Sonia; Poulin, Isabelle

    2012-11-01

    The environmental fate of nitroglycerin (NG) in the unsaturated zone was evaluated in the context of double-base propellant residue deposition at anti-tank training ranges. Fresh propellant residues were collected during live anti-tank training. Surface soils, sub-surface soils and water samples from the unsaturated zone were collected at an active anti-tank range, and at a legacy site where NG-based propellants have been used. Results show that the residues are composed of intact propellant particles, as well as small quantities of NG, dinitroglycerin (DNG) and nitrate which are rapidly dissolved by precipitation, resulting in sporadic pulses of those compounds in water from the unsaturated zone after rain/snow melt events. The dissolved NG and DNG can be progressively degraded in the unsaturated zone, releasing nitrate as an end-product. Over a period of several years, small propellant particles located at the soil surface can be carried downward through the soil pore system by infiltration water, which explains the presence of NG in sub-surface soils at the legacy site, more than 35 years after site closure. NG is no longer leached from these old particles, therefore the detection of NG in sub-surface soils does not signify that groundwater is at risk of contamination by NG.

  12. A facility designed to monitor the unsaturated zone during infiltration of tertiary-treated sewage, Long Island, New York

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Prill, Robert C.; Oaksford, Edward T.; Potorti, James E.

    1979-01-01

    A facility consisting of a circular recharge basin 6.10 meters in diameter with a central observation manhole was developed on Long Island, N.Y., to study the role of the unsaturated zone during aquifer recharge with tertiary-treated sewage. The manhole extends through most of the 7.5-meter-thick unsaturated zone, which is composed of glacial outwash sand and gravel, and enables collection of water samples and monitoring of dynamic characteristics of the unsaturated zone during recharge experiments. The system contains instrumentation for monitoring infiltration rate, pressure-head distribution, soil-moisture content, ground-water levels, and soil gases. The 24.55-square-meter recharge basin has operated in all seasons intermittently since April 1975 and, as of April 1978, has transmitted 62 million liters of tertiary-treated effluent to the water-table aquifer. Overall performance of the facility indicates that it is suitably designed for monitoring the unsaturated zone during artificial-recharge experiments. (Kosco-USGS)

  13. Tracking sources of unsaturated zone and groundwater nitrate contamination using nitrogen and oxygen stable isotopes at the Hanford Site, WA.

    SciTech Connect

    Singleton, Michael J.; Woods, Katharine N.; Conrad, Mark E.; DePaolo, Donald J.; Dresel, P Evan

    2005-04-15

    The nitrogen and oxygen isotopic compositions of nitrate in pore water extracts from unsaturated zone core samples and groundwater samples indicate at least four potential sources of nitrate plumes in groundwaters at the USDOE Hanford Site in south-central Washington.

  14. The fate and transport of nitroglycerin in the unsaturated zone at active and legacy anti-tank firing positions.

    PubMed

    Bordeleau, Geneviève; Martel, Richard; Ampleman, Guy; Thiboutot, Sonia; Poulin, Isabelle

    2012-11-01

    The environmental fate of nitroglycerin (NG) in the unsaturated zone was evaluated in the context of double-base propellant residue deposition at anti-tank training ranges. Fresh propellant residues were collected during live anti-tank training. Surface soils, sub-surface soils and water samples from the unsaturated zone were collected at an active anti-tank range, and at a legacy site where NG-based propellants have been used. Results show that the residues are composed of intact propellant particles, as well as small quantities of NG, dinitroglycerin (DNG) and nitrate which are rapidly dissolved by precipitation, resulting in sporadic pulses of those compounds in water from the unsaturated zone after rain/snow melt events. The dissolved NG and DNG can be progressively degraded in the unsaturated zone, releasing nitrate as an end-product. Over a period of several years, small propellant particles located at the soil surface can be carried downward through the soil pore system by infiltration water, which explains the presence of NG in sub-surface soils at the legacy site, more than 35 years after site closure. NG is no longer leached from these old particles, therefore the detection of NG in sub-surface soils does not signify that groundwater is at risk of contamination by NG. PMID:23047138

  15. Distribution of Minor Elements in Calcite From the Unsaturated Zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marshall, B. D.; Whelan, J. F.

    2001-12-01

    Calcite is sporadically distributed in fractures and cavities in the volcanic rocks that form the 500- to 700-m-thick unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Previous work has shown that the calcite precipitated from water moving downward through the unsaturated zone since the volcanic rocks were emplaced approximately 13 Ma. Calcite thus serves as a proxy for the chemistry and amounts of past percolation, two parameters that are important in predictions of the future behavior of the potential radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Latest calcite, which began forming between approximately 5 and 2 Ma, typically displays fine-scale growth zoning defined by distributions of Mn (inferred from cathodoluminescence), Mg, and Sr. Electron microprobe (EPMA) mapping of outermost calcite reveals Mg growth zoning1 and higher overall concentrations of Mg in late calcite than in older calcite. Micro X-ray fluorescence (micro-XRF) maps were obtained by slow rastering of the samples over a 100-watt X-ray source collimated through a final aperture of 100 μ m. Although the spatial resolution of the micro-XRF mapping is much less than that of EPMA, this technique reveals distributions of some elements to which EPMA is less sensitive. Micro-XRF maps show that Sr is spatially correlated with Mg; Sr concentrations range to 500 μ g/g at the resolution of the 100-μ m collimator. Because both Mg and Sr have similar calcite-water distribution coefficients much less than one, the Mg/Sr in calcite reflects the Mg/Sr of the water that precipitated the calcite. The distribution coefficient for Mn is greater than one and variations in Mn are not correlated with Mg and Sr. Covariation of Mg and Sr in the percolating water may be explained by reactions that affect the rate of uptake of chemical constituents from the overlying rock and soil, and/or evaporation. Late calcite has lower δ 13C values, probably due to a regional change from wetter to drier climate conditions. The higher Mg and

  16. Distribution of nitrate in the unsaturated zone, Highland-East Highlands area, San Bernardino County, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Klein, John M.; Bradford, Wesley L.

    1980-01-01

    Nitrogen in the unsaturated soil zone in the Highland-East Highlands area of San Bernardino County, Calif., has been suspected as the source of nitrate in water from wells. Plans to recharge the local aquifers with imported surface water would raise the water table and intercept that nitrogen. This study was made to describe the distribution of inorganic nitrogen and other chemical constituents and nitrogen-using bacteria in the unsaturated zone, to relate nitrogen occurrences, in a general way, to present and historical land use, and to attempt to predict nitrogen concentrations in ground water after recharge. Some generalized correlations between nitrogen occurrence and land use were observed. In 11 of 13 test holes, the maximum nitrate-nitrogen (NO3--N) concentrations occurred within 10 feet of the surface, suggesting that the major source of nitrogen is from the surface at these sites. Test holes were ranked according to maximum NO3--N in the top 10 feet, total NO3--N in the top 10 feet, and total NO3--N in the top 40 feet. In all three rankings, the top seven test holes were the same--five in or near present or historical agricultural areas (primarily citrus groves), one in a feedlot, and one adjacent to an abandoned sewage-treatment plant. Two test holes in historically uninhabited areas ranked lowest. The control test hole in an uninhabited area ranked high in geometric mean of ammonium-nitrogen concentration (NH4+-N), suggesting that present in freshly weathered granite. The geometric means of NH4+-N concentrations in six of eight citrus-related test holes were significantly lower than in the control hole, suggesting that irrigation in citrus groves may have created conditions favoring nitrification of the primary NH4+-N. Rank correlation analyses between various measurements in test holes showed that high NO3--N concentrations tend to occur with high specific conductance and chloride concentrations in soil extracts. If recharge is carried out as planned

  17. Modeling in nuclear waste isolation: Approximate solutions for flow in unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Martinez, M.J.; McTigue, D.F.

    1996-12-31

    Mathematical modeling plays a key role in the design and licensing of repositories for radioactive waste. Because safe isolation of nuclear waste involves extremely long time scales, and there exists very little engineering experience upon which to draw, modeling takes on a particularly crucial role. An example of a model problem motivated by hydrological issues in high-level waste isolation is presented. A repository concept involving storage in rock above the water table requires models for the flow of groundwater in unsaturated, porous media. Such flow is governed by an extremely nonlinear diffusion equation, and poses some difficult numerical challenges. A special form of the hydraulic conductivity function however, results in a linear field equation for steady-state problems, for which a boundary integral method yields very fast solutions.

  18. Lattice Boltzmann Modeling of Gaseous Diffusion in Unsaturated Porous Media under Variable Gravity Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chau, J. F.; Or, D.; Jones, S.; Sukop, M.

    2004-05-01

    Liquid distribution in unsaturated porous media under different gravitational forces and resulting gaseous diffusion coefficients were investigated to enhance understanding of plant growth conditions in microgravity. Different fluid behavior in plant growth media under microgravity conditions as compared to earth presents a challenge to plant growth in long duration space exploration missions. Our primary objective was to provide qualitative description and quantitative measures of the role of reduced gravity on hydraulic and gaseous transport properties in simulated porous media. We implemented a multi-phase lattice Boltzmann code for equilibrium distribution of liquid in an idealized two-dimensional porous medium under microgravity and "normal" gravity conditions. The information was then used to provide boundary conditions for simulation of gaseous diffusion through the equilibrium domains (considering diffusion through liquid phase negligibly small). The models were tested by comparison with several analytical solutions to the diffusion equation, with excellent results. The relative diffusion coefficient for both series of simulations (with and without gravity) as functions of air-filled porosity was in good agreement with established models of Millington-Quirk. Liquid distribution under earth's gravity featured increased water content at the lower part of the medium relative to the distribution in reduced gravity, which resulted in decreased gas diffusion through a vertically oriented column of a porous medium. Simulation results for larger domains under various orientations will be presented.

  19. Salt Precipitation and Dissolution in an Unsaturated Porous Media Under Non-Isothermal Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burns, E. R.; Dragila, M. I.; Weisbrod, N.; Guenther, R. B.; Selker, J. S.

    2003-12-01

    Salt precipitation and dissolution in unsaturated porous media is an important process to understand, both for agricultural soils (fertilizer movement) and for its effects in controlling water flux and potential contaminant transport in arid regions (migration of fluids and solutes to fractures and the land surface). Since evaporation is a key process to consider in both scenarios, it is necessary to consider heat and energy flow. A brief discussion/history of the salt precipitation/dissolution problem is given, then using the principles of continuum mechanics and mixture theory, a set of governing equations for salt precipitation and dissolution is developed. The equations are general in the sense that the following are considered: 1) non-isothermal conditions; 2) porosity is a function of solid phase salt concentration; 3) all parameters are functions of the appropriate thermodynamic variables. The equations are limited in that only near-ground surface conditions are considered. This is generally not a serious limitation since this location is likely the most seriously affected by rapid temporal changes in temperature and other boundary conditions. Further simplification of the problem is achieved by considering only "simple" salts (defined here as non-pH buffered salts that dissolve/precipitate only as a function of liquid phase ionic concentration) and flow regimes that do not result in finger flow of liquids. Initial and boundary conditions are developed for the following physically relevant conditions: 1) fertilizer salts introduced to an initially wet (but unsaturated) soil; 2) salt formation on free surfaces in arid climates; 3) water imbibition of fresh water into saline porous media. Work to date on solution of the initial boundary value problems is presented.

  20. Cotransport of viruses and clay particles in water saturated and unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chrysikopoulos, C. V.; Syngouna, V. I.

    2014-12-01

    This experimental study examines the effects of clay colloids on the transport of viruses in variably saturated porous media. All cotransport experiments were conducted in both saturated and partially saturated columns packed with glass beads, using bacteriophages MS2 and ΦΧ174 as model viruses, and kaolinite (KGa-1b) and montmorillonite (STx-1b) as model clay colloids. The various experimental collision efficiencies were determined using the classical colloid filtration theory. The experimental data indicated that the mass recovery of viruses and clay colloids decreased as the water saturation decreased. Temporal moments of the various breakthrough concentrations collected, suggested that the presence of clays significantly influenced virus transport and irreversible deposition onto glass beads. The mass recovery of both viruses, based on total effluent virus concentrations, was shown to reduce in the presence of suspended clay particles. Furthermore, the transport of suspended virus and clay-virus particles was retarded, compared to the conservative tracer. Under unsaturated conditions both clay particles hindered the transport of the two viruses considered in this work. Moreover, the surface properties of viruses, clays and glass beads were employed for the construction of classical DLVO and capillary potential energy profiles, and the results suggested that capillary forces play a significant role on colloid retention. It was estimated that the capillary potential energy of MS2 is lower than that of ΦΧ174, and the capillary potential energy ofKGa-1b is lower than that of STx-1b, assuming that the protrusion distance through the water filmis the same for each pair of particles. Moreover, the capillary potential energy is several orders of magnitude greater than the DLVO energy potential. Figure 1Schematic illustration of the various concentrations involved in the cotransport experiments for: (a) saturated and (b) unsaturated porous media.

  1. Distribution of nitrate and related nitrogen species in the unsaturated zone, Redlands and vicinity, San Bernardino County, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Klein, John M.; Bradford, Wesley L.

    1979-01-01

    Nitrogen in the unsaturated soil zone in the vicinity of Redlands in San Bernardino County, Calif., has been suspected as the source of nitrate in water from wells. Plans have been made to recharge the aquifer with imported surface water. If this occurs, the rising water table will intercept soluble nitrate in the unsaturated zone. This study was made to quantify and delineate the distribution of the nitrate in the unsaturated zone. Thirteen test holes were drilled in areas of various land uses, and samples of the unsaturated-zone materials were obtained with depth. In 10 of the test holes, the maximum nitrate-nitrogen (N03--N) concentrations occurred within 10 feet of land surface suggesting N03--N sources at the surface. Ranking the test holes according to near-surface N03--N concentrations showed that, of the top six, only two are in irrigated citrus areas. One is in an abandoned feedlot. Of the lowest six, four are in irrigated citrus areas and one is in the Santa Ana River channel. The control test hole ranked fourth suggesting that relatively high N03--N concentrations can occur in near-surface soils even in the absence of human habitation. Analysis according to one conceptual model suggests that raising the water-table altitude by aquifer recharge will intercept N03--N now in the unsaturated zone causing increases in N03--N concentrations in water from wells of up to 48 milligrams per liter. The largest increases will occur in the vicinity of irrigated citrus areas. (Woodard-USGS).

  2. Using chloride to trace water movement in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Fabryka-Martin, J.T.; Winters, S.T.; Wolfsberg, A.V.; Wolfsberg, L.E.; Roach, J.L.

    1998-12-31

    The nonwelded Paintbrush Tuff (PTn) hydrogeologic unit is postulated as playing a critical role in the redistribution of moisture in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Fracture-dominated flow in the overlying low-permeability, highly fractured Tiva Canyon welded (TCw) unit is expected to transition to matrix-dominated flow in the high-permeability, comparatively unfractured PTn. The transition process from fracture to matrix flow in the PTn, as well as the transition from low to high matrix storage capacity, is expected to damp out most of the seasonal, decadal, and secular variability in surface infiltration. This process should also result in the homogenization of the variable geochemical and isotopic characteristics of pore water entering the top of the PTn. In contrast, fault zones that provide continuous fracture pathways through the PTn may damp climatic and geochemical variability only slightly and may provide fast paths from the surface to the sampled depths, whether within the PTn or in underlying welded tuffs. Chloride (Cl) content and other geochemical data obtained from PTn pore-water samples can be used to independently derive infiltration rates for comparison with surface infiltration estimates, to evaluate the role of structural features as fast paths, and to assess the prevalence and extent to which water may be laterally diverted in the PTn due to contrasting hydrologic properties of its subunits.

  3. Unsaturated zone carbon dioxide flux, mixing, and isotopic composition at the USGS Amargosa Desert Research Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Conaway, C. H.; Thordsen, J. J.; Thomas, B.; Haase, K.; Moreo, M. T.; Walvoord, M. A.; Andraski, B. J.; Stonestrom, D. A.

    2015-12-01

    Elevated concentrations of tritium, radiocarbon, and volatile organic compounds at the USGS Amargosa Desert Research Site, adjacent to a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility, have stimulated research on factors affecting transport of these contaminants. This research includes an examination of unsaturated zone carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes, mixing, and isotopic composition, which can help in understanding these factors. In late April 2015 we collected 76 soil-gas samples in multi-layer foil bags from existing 1.5-m deep tubes, both inside and outside the low-level waste area, as well as from two 110-m-deep multilevel gas-sampling boreholes and a distant background site. These samples were analyzed for carbon dioxide concentration and isotopic composition by direct injection into a cavity ring-down spectrometer. Graphical analysis of results indicates mixing of CO2 characteristic of the root zone (δ13C -18 ‰ VPDB), deep soil gas of the capillary fringe (-20‰), and CO2 produced by microbial respiration of organic matter disposed in the waste area trenches (-28‰). Land-surface boundary conditions are being constrained by the application of a novel non-dispersive infrared sensor and traditional concentration and flux measurements, including discrete CO2 flux data using a gas chamber method to complement continuous data from surface- and tower-based CO2 sensors. These results shed light on radionuclide and VOC mobilization and transport mechanisms from this and similar waste disposal facilities.

  4. USING CHLORIDE TO TRACE WATER MOVEMENT IN THE UNSATURATED ZONE AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN

    SciTech Connect

    Fabryka-Martin, J. T.; Flint, L. E.; Wolfsberg, A. V.; Sweetking, D. S.; Hudson, D.; Roach, J. L.; Winters, S. T.; Wolfsberg, L. E.

    1998-01-08

    The nonwelded Paintbrush Tuff (PTn) hydrogeologic unit is postulated as playing a critical role in the redistribution of moisture in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Fracture-dominated flow in the overlying low-permeability, highly fractured Tiva Canyon welded (TCw) unit is expected to transition to matrix-dominated flow in the high-permeability, comparatively unfractured PTn. The transition process from fracture to matrix flow in the PTn, as well as the transition from low to high matrix storage capacity, is expected to damp out most of the seasonal, decadal, and secular variability in surface infiltration. This process should also result in the homogenization of the variable geochemical and isotopic characteristics of pore water entering the top of the PTn. In contrast, fault zones that provide continuous fracture pathways through the PTn may damp climatic and geochemical variability only slightly and may provide fast paths from the surface to the sampled depths, whether within the PTn or in underlying welded tuffs. Chloride (Cl) content and other geochemical data obtained from PTn pore water samples can be used to independently derive infiltration rates for comparison with surface infiltration estimates, to evaluate the role of structural features as fast paths, and to assess the prevalence and extent to which water may be laterally diverted in the PTn due to contrasting hydrologic properties of its subunits.

  5. Stratigraphy of the unsaturated zone at the radioactive waste management complex, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anderson, S.R.; Lewis, B.D.

    1989-01-01

    A complex sequence of layered basalt flows, cinders, and sediment underlies the Radioactive Waste Management Complex at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory in southeastern Idaho. Wells drilled to 700 ft penetrate a sequence of 10 basalt-flow groups and 7 major sedimentary interbeds that range in age from about 100,000 to 600,000 years old. The 10 flow groups consist of 22 separate lava flows and flow-units. Each flow group is made up of from one to five petrographically similar flows that erupted from common source areas during periods of less than 200 years. Sedimentary interbeds consist of fluvial, lacustrine, and wind-blown deposits of clay, silt, sand, and gravel that accumulated during periods of volcanic inactivity ranging from thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. Flows and sediment are unsaturated to a depth of about 600 ft. Flows and sediment below a depth of 600 ft are saturated and make up the uppermost part of the Snake River Plain aquifer. The areal extent of flow groups and interbeds was determined from well cuttings, cores, geophysical logs, potassium-argon ages, and geomagnetic properties. Stratigraphical control was provided by four sequential basalt flows near the base of the unsaturated zone that have reversed geomagnetic polarity and high emission of natural gamma radiation compared to other flows. Natural gamma logs were used as a primary correlation tool. Natural-gamma emissions, which are generally uniform in related, petrographically similar flows, increase or decrease between petrographically dissimilar flows of different age and source. (USGS)

  6. Chlorine-36 data at Yucca Mountain: statistical tests of conceptual models for unsaturated-zone flow.

    PubMed

    Campbell, Katherine; Wolfsberg, Andrew; Fabryka-Martin, June; Sweetkind, Donald

    2003-01-01

    An extensive set of chlorine-36 (36Cl) data has been collected in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), an 8-km-long tunnel at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the purpose of developing and testing conceptual models of flow and transport in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at this site. At several locations, the measured values of 36Cl/Cl ratios for salts leached from rock samples are high enough to provide strong evidence that at least a small component of bomb-pulse 36Cl, fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear devices in the 1950s and 1960s, was measured, implying that some fraction of the water traveled from the ground surface through 200-300 m of unsaturated rock to the level of the ESF during the last 50 years. These data are analyzed here using a formal statistical approach based on log-linear models to evaluate alternative conceptual models for the distribution of such fast flow paths. The most significant determinant of the presence of bomb-pulse 36Cl in a sample from the welded Topopah Spring unit (TSw) is the structural setting from which the sample was collected. Our analysis generally supports the conceptual model that a fault that cuts through the nonwelded Paintbrush tuff unit (PTn) that overlies the TSw is required in order for bomb-pulse 36Cl to be transmitted to the sample depth in less than 50 years. Away from PTn-cutting faults, the ages of water samples at the ESF appear to be a strong function of the thickness of the nonwelded tuff between the ground surface and the ESF, due to slow matrix flow in that unit. PMID:12714284

  7. Chlorine-36 data at Yucca Mountain: Statistical tests of conceptual models for unsaturated-zone flow

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Campbell, K.; Wolfsberg, A.; Fabryka-Martin, J.; Sweetkind, D.

    2003-01-01

    An extensive set of chlorine-36 (36Cl) data has been collected in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), an 8-km-long tunnel at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the purpose of developing and testing conceptual models of flow and transport in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at this site. At several locations, the measured values of 36Cl/Cl ratios for salts leached from rock samples are high enough to provide strong evidence that at least a small component of bomb-pulse 36Cl, fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear devices in the 1950s and 1960s, was measured, implying that some fraction of the water traveled from the ground surface through 200-300 m of unsaturated rock to the level of the ESF during the last 50 years. These data are analyzed here using a formal statistical approach based on log-linear models to evaluate alternative conceptual models for the distribution of such fast flow paths. The most significant determinant of the presence of bomb-pulse 36Cl in a sample from the welded Topopah Spring unit (TSw) is the structural setting from which the sample was collected. Our analysis generally supports the conceptual model that a fault that cuts through the nonwelded Paintbrush tuff unit (PTn) that overlies the TSw is required in order for bomb-pulse 36Cl to be transmitted to the sample depth in less than 50 years. Away from PTn-cutting faults, the ages of water samples at the ESF appear to be a strong function of the thickness of the nonwelded tuff between the ground surface and the ESF, due to slow matrix flow in that unit. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. Characterization of liquid-water percolation in tuffs in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Kume, J.; Rousseau, J.P.

    1989-12-31

    A surface-based borehole investigation currently (1989) is being done to characterize liquid-water percolation in tuffs of Miocene age in the unsaturated zone beneath Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada Active in-situ testing and passive in-situ monitoring will be used in this investigation to estimate the present-day liquid-water percolation (flux). The unsaturated zone consists of a gently dipping sequence of fine-grained, densely fractured, and mostly welded ash-flow tuffs that are interbedded with fine-grained, slightly fractured, non-welded ash-flow and ash-fall tuffs that are partly vitric and zeolitized near the water table. Primary study objectives are to define the water potential field within the unsaturated zone and to determine the in-situ bulk permeability and bulk hydrologic properties of the unsaturated tuffs. Borehole testing will be done to determine the magnitude and spatial distribution of physical and hydrologic properties of the geohydrologic units, and of their water potential fields. The study area of this investigation is restricted to that part of Yucca Mountain that immediately overlies and is within the boundaries of the perimeter drift of a US Department of Energy proposed mined, geologic, high-level radioactive-waste repository. Vertically, the study area extends from near the surface of Yucca Mountain to the underlying water table, about 500 to 750 meters below the ground surface. The average distance between the proposed repository and the underlying water table is about 205 meters.

  9. Diffusion and consumption of methane in an unsaturated zone in north-central Illinois, U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Striegl, R.G.; Ishii, A.L.

    1989-01-01

    The distribution of CH4 in unsaturated glacial and eolian deposits adjacent to buried low-level radioactive waste was measured, and movement of the gas from the waste source was simulated using a two-dimensional finite-difference model for gas diffusion in the unsaturated zone. Mean PCH4 was greatest (1.56 Pa) in a pebbly-sand deposit 11.6 m below the land surface and 12 m from the waste, and generally decreased with increased horizontal distance from the waste. Mean PCH4 was least (0.07 Pa) at depth of 1.8 m below land surface, regardless of distance from the waste. PCH4 at the land surface averaged 0.17 Pa. Depth versus PCH4 profiles suggest consumption of both waste-produced and atmospheric CH4 in the upper unsaturated zone, presumably by methanotrophic microorganisms. Numerical simulations of methane movement support the consumption observation; inclusion of a term in the model for consumption of CH4 in the upper 2 m of the unsaturated zone resulted in simulated PCH4 within 30% of mean PCH4 at eleven of thirteen sampling locations. A similar fit of the data was obtained for only four locations when consumption was not considered. ?? 1989.

  10. Methodology, results, and significance of an unsaturated-zone tracer test at an artificial-recharge facility, Tucson, Arizona

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Graham, D.D.

    1989-01-01

    A tracer test conducted in 1987 at an artificial-recharge facility in Tucson, Arizona, indicates that solute movement through the poorly sorted stratified alluvial sediments in the unsaturated zone beneath a recharge basin takes place along preferential-flow paths. Movement of a tracer-laced pulse of reclaimed wastewater was monitored using pressure-vacuum lysimeters installed at depths that range from 11 to 45 ft below the bottom of the recharge basin. Tracer-breakthrough curves do not indicate a consistent relation between maximum tracer concentration and depth or between time of tracer breakthrough and depth. Apparent dispersion, as indicated by the slope of the rising leg of the tracer-breakthrough curve, shows no apparent relation with depth. In some cases, the tracer arrived earlier at deep sampling locations than at shallow ones. Velocity of solute flow ranged from 1.9 to 9.0 ft/day. Less interaction between recharge water and solid-phase materials in the unsaturated zone occurs under preferential-flow conditions than if flow occurred as a uniform wetting front. Flow of water through the unsaturated zone is concentrated into fingers or channels under preferential-flow conditions, and the renovating capability of soil is reduced because of the reduced surface area and reduced contact time in the biologically active part of the unsaturated profile. Chemical substances that normally would be decomposed by microbial activity or sorbed by sediment particles can move through the unsaturated zone and cause groundwater contamination under preferential-flow conditions. (USGS)

  11. Evaluating Ecosystem Services for Reducing Groundwater Nitrate Contamination: Nitrate Attenuation in the Unsaturated and Saturated Zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, J.

    2013-12-01

    Nitrates are the most common type of groundwater contamination in agricultural regions. Environmental policies targeting nitrates have focused on input control (e.g., restricted fertilizer application), intermediate loads control (e.g., reduce nitrate leached from crop fields), and final loads control (e.g., reduce catchment nitrate loads). Nitrate loads can be affected by hydrological processes in both unsaturated and saturated zones. Although many of these processes have been extensively investigated in literature, they are commonly modeled as exogenous to farm management. A couple of recent studies by scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory show that in some situations nitrate attenuation processes in the unsaturated/saturated zone, particularly denitrification, can be intensified by certain management practices to mitigate nitrate loads. Therefore, these nitrate attenuation processes can be regarded as a set of ecosystem services that farmers can take advantage of to reduce their cost of complying with environmental policies. In this paper, a representative California dairy farm is used as a case study to show how such ecosystem attenuation services can be framed within the farm owner's decision-making framework as an option for reducing groundwater nitrate contamination. I develop an integrated dynamic model, where the farmer maximizes discounted net farm profit over multiple periods subject to environmental regulations. The model consists of three submodels: animal-waste-crop, hydrologic, and economic model. In addition to common choice variables such as irrigation, fertilization, and waste disposal options, the farmer can also endogenously choose from three water sources: surface water, deep groundwater (old groundwater in the deep aquifer that is not affected by farm effluent in the short term), and shallow groundwater (drainage water that can be recycled via capture wells at the downstream end of the farm). The capture wells not only

  12. Seismoelectric coupling in unsaturated porous media: theory, petrophysics, and saturation front localization using an electroacoustic approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Revil, A.; Barnier, G.; Karaoulis, M.; Sava, P.; Jardani, A.; Kulessa, B.

    2014-02-01

    The seismoelectric method is based on the interpretation of the electrical field associated with the conversion of mechanical to electromagnetic energy during the propagation of seismic waves in heterogeneous porous media. We propose an extension of a poroacoustic model that takes into account fluid flow and the effect of saturation. This model is coupled with an electrokinetic model accounting for the effect of saturation and in agreement with available experimental data in sands and carbonate rocks. We also developed new scaling laws for the permeability, the streaming potential coupling coefficient and the capillary entry pressure of porous media. The theory is developed for frequencies much below the critical frequency at which inertial effects starts to dominate in the Navier-Stokes equation (>10 kHz). The equations used to compute the propagation of the P waves and the seismoelectric effect in unsaturated condition are solved with finite elements using triangular meshing. We demonstrate the usefulness of a recently developed technique, seismoelectric beamforming, to localize saturation fronts by focusing seismic waves and looking at the resulting seismoelectric conversions. This method is applied to a cross-hole problem showing how a saturation front characterized by a drop in the electrical conductivity and compressibility is responsible for seismoelectric conversions. These conversions can be used, in turn, to determine the position of the front over time.

  13. Influence of the Gas-Water Interface on Transport of Microorganisms through Unsaturated Porous Media

    PubMed Central

    Wan, Jiamin; Wilson, John L.; Kieft, Thomas L.

    1994-01-01

    In this article, a new mechanism influencing the transport of microorganisms through unsaturated porous media is examined, and a new method for directly visualizing bacterial behavior within a porous medium under controlled chemical and flow conditions is introduced. Resting cells of hydrophilic and relatively hydrophobic bacterial strains isolated from groundwater were used as model microorganisms. The degree of hydrophobicity was determined by contact-angle measurements. Glass micromodels allowed the direct observation of bacterial behavior on a pore scale, and three types of sand columns with different gas saturations provided quantitative measurements of the observed phenomena on a porous medium scale. The reproducibility of each break-through curve was established in three to five repeated experiments. The data collected from the column experiments can be explained by phenomena directly observed in the micromodel experiments. The retention rate of bacteria is proportional to the gas saturation in porous media because of the preferential sorption of bacteria onto the gas-water interface over the solid-water interface. The degree of sorption is controlled mainly by cell surface hydrophobicity under the simulated groundwater conditions because of hydrophobic forces between the organisms and the interfaces. The sorption onto the gas-water interface is essentially irreversible because of capillary forces. This preferential and irreversible sorption at the gas-water interface strongly influences the movement and spatial distribution of microorganisms. Images PMID:16349180

  14. Density-Driven Migration of Heavy NAPL Vapor in the Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kleinknecht, S. M.; Class, H.; Braun, J.

    2014-12-01

    Contamination of the subsoil is a major concern in industrially developed as well as developing countries. Liquids introduced into the unsaturated zone will migrate as a liquid phase, however, they will also vaporize and migrate in a gaseous state. In particular, vapor (gas) plumes migrate easily in the unsaturated zone. Heavy vapors migrate, preferentially downward, due to their greater density and thus pose a potential threat to aquifers. Large scale column experiments and numerical simulations were conducted to investigate migration of carbon disulfide vapor. Carbon disulfide (CS2), amongst others used for the manufacture of viscous rayon, is an industrial, non-polar solvent. It is highly volatile and characterized by a higher density than water (ρ = 1.263 g/cm3) and, above all, denser than air when in a gaseous state (1.6 compared to air). The goals of these investigations were to quantitatively describe density-driven vapor migration in the subsurface at a large scale with clearly defined and controlled boundary conditions. The experiments were conducted in vertical, large columns (ID = 0.109 m) of 4 m length packed with dry porous medium in which the migration behavior of CS2vapor was characterized. Different types of glass beads were used to investigate the influence of permeability. The porous medium was kept dry to avoid partitioning effects due to pore water. The upper and lower boundaries were open to the atmosphere and hence constant pressure boundaries which allowed for an unhindered migration of the heavy vapor injected in the middle section of the column. Gas samples were taken along the column throughout the experiment and analyzed using a GC (HP 6890 Series) to quantify time and space dependent migration. The set-up of the experiment was numerically reproduced employing a 1-D, two-phase, two-component, isothermal model. Simulation results were compared with data from vapor migration experiments to verify the model. Variations were performed to

  15. Design of a three-dimensional site-scale model for the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Wittwer, C.S.; Bodvarsson, G.S.; Chornack, M.P.; Flint, A.L.; Lewis, B.D.; Spengler, R.W.; Flint, L.E.; Rautman, C.A.

    1992-01-01

    A three-dimensional model of moisture flow within the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain is being developed. This site-scale model covers an area of about 30 km{sup 2} and is bounded by major faults to the east and west. A detailed numerical grid has been developed based on location of boreholes, different infiltration zones, hydrogeological units and their outcrops, major faults, and water level data. Different maps, such as contour maps and isopachs maps, are presented for the different infiltration zones, and for the base of the Tiva Canyon, the Paintbrush, and the Topopah Spring hydrogeological units.

  16. Design of a three-dimensional site scale model for the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Wittwer, C.S.; Bodvarsson, G.S.; Chornack, M.P.; Flint, A.L.; Lewis, B.D.; Spengler, R.W.; Flint, L.E.; Rautman, C.A.

    1992-10-01

    This paper discusses a three-dimensional model of moisture flow within the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain which is being developed. The site-scale model covers an area of about 30 km{sup 2} and is bounded by major faults to the east and west. A detailed numerical grid has been developed based on locations of boreholes, different infiltration zones, hydrogeological units and their outcrops, major faults, and water level data. Different maps, such as contour maps and isopachs maps, are presented for the different infiltration zones, and for the base of the Tiva Canyon, the Paintbrush, and the Topopah Spring hydrogeological units.

  17. Geostatistical and Stochastic Study of Flow and Transport in the Unsaturated Zone at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Ye, Ming; Pan, Feng; Hu, Xiaolong; Zhu, Jianting

    2007-08-14

    Yucca Mountain has been proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy as the nation’s long-term, permanent geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste. The potential repository would be located in Yucca Mountain’s unsaturated zone (UZ), which acts as a critical natural barrier delaying arrival of radionuclides to the water table. Since radionuclide transport in groundwater can pose serious threats to human health and the environment, it is important to understand how much and how fast water and radionuclides travel through the UZ to groundwater. The UZ system consists of multiple hydrogeologic units whose hydraulic and geochemical properties exhibit systematic and random spatial variation, or heterogeneity, at multiple scales. Predictions of radionuclide transport under such complicated conditions are uncertain, and the uncertainty complicates decision making and risk analysis. This project aims at using geostatistical and stochastic methods to assess uncertainty of unsaturated flow and radionuclide transport in the UZ at Yucca Mountain. Focus of this study is parameter uncertainty of hydraulic and transport properties of the UZ. The parametric uncertainty arises since limited parameter measurements are unable to deterministically describe spatial variability of the parameters. In this project, matrix porosity, permeability and sorption coefficient of the reactive tracer (neptunium) of the UZ are treated as random variables. Corresponding propagation of parametric uncertainty is quantitatively measured using mean, variance, 5th and 95th percentiles of simulated state variables (e.g., saturation, capillary pressure, percolation flux, and travel time). These statistics are evaluated using a Monte Carlo method, in which a three-dimensional flow and transport model implemented using the TOUGH2 code is executed with multiple parameter realizations of the random model parameters. The project specifically studies uncertainty of unsaturated

  18. Physicochemical controls on absorbed water film thickness in unsaturated geological media

    SciTech Connect

    Tokunaga, T.

    2011-06-14

    Adsorbed water films commonly coat mineral surfaces in unsaturated soils and rocks, reducing flow and transport rates. Therefore, it is important to understand how adsorbed film thickness depends on matric potential, surface chemistry, and solution chemistry. Here, the problem of adsorbed water film thickness is examined through combining capillary scaling with the Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) theory. Novel aspects of this analysis include determining capillary influences on film thicknesses, and incorporating solution chemistry-dependent electrostatic potential at air-water interfaces. Capillary analysis of monodisperse packings of spherical grains provided estimated ranges of matric potentials where adsorbed films are stable, and showed that pendular rings within drained porous media retain most of the 'residual' water except under very low matric potentials. Within drained pores, capillary contributions to thinning of adsorbed films on spherical grains are shown to be small, such that DLVO calculations for flat surfaces are suitable approximations. Hamaker constants of common soil minerals were obtained to determine ranges of the dispersion component to matric potential-dependent film thickness. The pressure component associated with electrical double layer forces was estimated using the compression and linear superposition approximations. The pH-dependent electrical double layer pressure component is the dominant contribution to film thicknesses at intermediate values of matric potential, especially in lower ionic strength solutions (< 10 mol m{sup -3}) on surfaces with higher magnitude electrostatic potentials (more negative than - 50 mV). Adsorbed water films are predicted to usually range in thickness from 1 to 20 nm in drained pores and fractures of unsaturated environments.

  19. Surfactant-Induced Flow in Unsaturated Porous Media: Implications for Air-Water Interfacial Area Determination

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Costanza-Robinson, M. S.; Zheng, Z.; Estabrook, B.; Henry, E. J.; Littlefield, M. H.

    2011-12-01

    Air-water interfacial area (AI) in porous media is an important factor governing equilibrium contaminant retention, as well as the kinetics of interphase mass transfer. Interfacial-partitioning tracer (IPT) tests are a common technique for measuring AI at a given moisture saturation (SW), where AI is calculated based on the ratio of arrival times of a surfactant and a non-reactive tracer. At surfactant concentrations often used, the aqueous surface tension of the interfacial tracer solution is ~30% lower than that of the resident porewater in the system, creating transient surface tension gradients during the IPT measurement. Because surface tension gradients create capillary pressure gradients, surfactant-induced unsaturated flow may occur during IPT tests, a process that would violate fundamental assumptions of constant SW, of steady-state flow, and of nonreactive and surfactant tracers experiencing the same transport conditions. To examine the occurrence and magnitude of surfactant-induced flow, we conducted IPT tests for unsaturated systems at ~84% initial SW using surfactant input concentrations that bracket concentrations commonly used. Despite constant boundary conditions (constant inlet flux and outlet pressure), the introduction of the surfactant solution induced considerable transience in column effluent flowrate and SW. Real-time system mass measurements revealed drainage of 20-40% SW, with the amount of drainage and the maximum rate of drainage proportional to the influent surfactant concentration, as would be expected. Because AI is inversely related to SW, the use of higher surfactant concentrations should yield larger AI estimates. Measured AI values, however, showed no clear relationship to surfactant concentration or the time-averaged SW of the system. These findings cast doubt on the reliability of IPT for AI determination.

  20. Influence of soil structure and root water uptake strategy on unsaturated flow in heterogeneous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuhlmann, A.; Neuweiler, I.; van der Zee, S. E. A. T. M.; Helmig, R.

    2012-02-01

    We analyze the combined effects of the spatial variability of soil hydraulic properties and the water uptake by plant roots on unsaturated water flow. For this analysis, we use a simplified macroscopic root water uptake model which is usually applied only for homogeneous or layered soil and therefore we also determine whether it is applicable for multidimensional heterogeneous media. Analytical solutions for mean and variance of pressure head (first-order second-moment approximations) in layered media and numerical solutions of two-dimensional (2-D) autocorrelated multi-Gaussian and non multi-Gaussian parameter fields are analyzed for steady state and transient flow conditions. For non-Gaussian topological features, that have little influence on the mean and the variance of the pressure field if root water uptake is ignored, we test whether the influence is significant if root water uptake is accounted for. The results reveal that, in field structures with large patches of coarse material, local regions with pressure head values at the wilting point develop; these are surrounded by wet material. Without a compensation mechanism for local stress, the global transpiration demand is not met if local wilting occurs. Various compensation mechanisms are tested that depend, respectively, on the saturation, the relative conductivity or a strategy where the deficit in the global uptake rate is equally distributed to unstressed locations. The strategies lead to a global actual transpiration rate at the potential value and attenuate the formation of locally wilted areas. Wilted regions can, however, still occur, and may be an artifact of the simplified model concept as root-soil interactions are neglected. Therefore simplified macroscopic models for root water uptake should be used with caution in heterogeneous media.

  1. Calibration of Yucca Mountain unsaturated zone flow and transport model using porewater chloride data.

    PubMed

    Liu, Jianchun; Sonnenthal, Eric L; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S

    2003-01-01

    In this study, porewater chloride data from Yucca Mountain, NV are analyzed and modeled by three-dimensional chemical transport simulation and analytical methods. The simulation modeling approach is based on a continuum formulation of coupled multiphase fluid flow and tracer transport processes through fractured porous rock using a dual-continuum concept. Infiltration rate calibrations were performed using the porewater chloride data. Model results of chloride distributions were improved in matching the observed data with the calibrated infiltration rates. Statistical analyses of the frequency distribution for overall percolation fluxes and chloride concentration in the unsaturated zone system demonstrate that the use of the calibrated infiltration rates had an insignificant effect on the distribution of simulated percolation fluxes but significantly changed the predicted distribution of simulated chloride concentrations. An analytical method was also applied to model transient chloride transport. The method was verified by three-dimensional simulation results to be capable of capturing major chemical transient behavior and trends. Effects of lateral flow in the Paintbrush nonwelded unit on percolation fluxes and chloride distribution were studied by three-dimensional simulations with increased horizontal permeability. The combined results from these model calibrations furnish important information for the UZ model studies, contributing to performance assessment of the potential repository. PMID:12714292

  2. PORE-WATER ISOTOPIC COMPOSITION AND UNSATURATED-ZONE FLOW, YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    SciTech Connect

    C. Yang

    2000-10-23

    Site characterization at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the site of a potential high-level radioactive waste repository, has included studies of recharge, flow paths, percolation flux, perched water bodies, and chemical compositions of the water in the thick unsaturated zone (UZ). Samples of pore water from cores of two recently drilled boreholes, USW SD-6 near the ridge top of Yucca Mountain and USW WT-24 north of Yucca mountain, were analyzed for isotopic compositions as part of a study by the US Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the US Department of Energy, under Interagency Agreement DE-AI08-97NV12033. The purpose of this report is to interpret {sup 14}C, {delta}{sup 13}C, {sup 3}H, {delta}D and {delta}{sup 18}O isotopic compositions of pore water from the core of boreholes USW SD-6 and USW WT-24 in relation to sources of recharge and flow paths in the UZ at Yucca Mountain. Borehole designation USW SD-6 and USW WT-24 subsequently will be referred to as SD-6 and WT-24. The sources of recharge and flow paths are important parameters that can be used in a UZ flow model, total system performance assessment (TSPA), and the license application (LA) for the potential repository at Yucca Mountain.

  3. Three-Dimensional Radionuclide Transport Through the Unsaturated Zone of the Yucca Mountain Site 3 Colloids

    SciTech Connect

    G. J. Moridis; Y. Seol

    2007-01-26

    The authors investigated colloid transport in the unsaturated fractured zone by means of three-dimensional site-scale numerical model under present-day climate infiltration, considering varying colloid diameters, kinetic declogging, and filtration. The radionuclide transport model was used to simulate continuous release of colloids into fractures throughout the proposed repository, in which any components of engineered barrier system such as waste package or drip shield were not considered. the results of the study indicate the importance of subsurface geology and site hydrology, i.e., the presence of faults (they dominate and control transport), fractures (the main migration pathways), and the relative distribution of zeolitic and vitric tuffs. The simulations indicate that (1) colloid transport is not significantly affected by varying the filtration parameters, (2) travel time to the water table decreases with the colloid size, (3) larger colloids show little retardation whereas very small ones are retarded significantly, and (4) fracture filtration can have an impact on transport. Because of uncertainties in the fundamentals of colloid transport and an extremely conservative approach (based on an improbably adverse worst-case scenario), caution should be exercised in the analysis and interpretation of the 3-D simulation results. The results discussed here should be viewed as an attempt to identify and evaluate the mechanisms, processes, and geological features that control colloidal transport.

  4. Calibration of Yucca Mountain unsaturated zone flow and transport model using porewater chloride data

    SciTech Connect

    Liu, Jianchun; Sonnenthal, Eric L.; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.

    2002-09-01

    In this study, porewater chloride data from Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are analyzed and modeled by 3-D chemical transport simulations and analytical methods. The simulation modeling approach is based on a continuum formulation of coupled multiphase fluid flow and tracer transport processes through fractured porous rock, using a dual-continuum concept. Infiltration-rate calibrations were using the pore water chloride data. Model results of chloride distributions were improved in matching the observed data with the calibrated infiltration rates. Statistical analyses of the frequency distribution for overall percolation fluxes and chloride concentration in the unsaturated zone system demonstrate that the use of the calibrated infiltration rates had insignificant effect on the distribution of simulated percolation fluxes but significantly changed the predicated distribution of simulated chloride concentrations. An analytical method was also applied to model transient chloride transport. The method was verified by 3-D simulation results as able to capture major chemical transient behavior and trends. Effects of lateral flow in the Paintbrush nonwelded unit on percolation fluxes and chloride distribution were studied by 3-D simulations with increased horizontal permeability. The combined results from these model calibrations furnish important information for the UZ model studies, contributing to performance assessment of the potential repository.

  5. Water flow modeling in the unsaturated zone with imprecise parameters using a fuzzy approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schulz, K.; Huwe, B.

    1997-12-01

    An alternative approach, based on fuzzy set theory, is presented to express imprecision of parameters in a non-probabilistic sense. Imprecision may originate from indirect measurements, estimation routines, subjective interpretation and expert judgement of available information. One dimensional, steady state water flow in the unsaturated zone of homogeneous soils, which is described by the Darcy-Buckingham equation, was chosen to evaluate and to incorporate fuzzy soil hydraulic properties and boundary conditions in the modeling procedure. It is here used to describe soil water pressures with depth, as well as to calculate maximum evapotranspiration rates under steady state conditions. Solving the fuzzy equation for steady state water flow results in minimizing/maximizing procedures, from where resulting membership functions of the dependent variable are calculated. A comparison to a more classical stochastic approach points out the main differences between fuzzy and stochastic concepts to account for uncertainties. Finally, a sensitivity analysis shows the strong impact of different shapes of membership functions of the input parameters on the resulting membership functions of maximum evapotranspiration rates and soil water pressures.

  6. Assessment of unsaturated zone radionuclide contamination in the 200 areas of the Hanford site, Washington

    SciTech Connect

    Brodeur, J.R.; Wittreich, C.D.

    1993-03-01

    The 200 East and 200 West Areas at the Department of Energy`s Hanford site in southeastern Washington, contain chemical and nuclear fuel processing facilities that disposed of large volumes of chemical and radionuclide effluents to the ground via various structures such as ponds, cribs and ditches. A geophysical logging investigation was implemented in 1992 to assess the nature and extent of contamination beneath select liquid disposal sites in the 200 Areas. The borehole geophysical logging was accomplished with a recently developed spectral gamma-ray logging system called the Radionuclide Logging System (RLS). This system has a high-resolution, intrinsic germanium detector mounted in a downhole probe and is calibrated and operated specifically for use in a borehole environment. It provides a means to develop in-situ, gamma-emitting radioelement concentration profiles. Approximately 50 boreholes were logged in this study. The RLS log data provided information about the migration and deposition patterns of specific radionuclides in the unsaturated zone and their impacts on the groundwater. Approximately 10 radionuclide species were detected and quantified. Results of the field investigation are being used to refine site specific conceptual models, support Hanford Site remediation decisions and focus future characterization activities.

  7. Synopsis of recent moisture flux analyses relevant to the unsaturated zone at Area G

    SciTech Connect

    Vold, E.

    1998-03-01

    This report summarizes selected recent analyses relevant to the assessment of the site performance for disposal facilities at Los Alamos (Area G) regarding unsaturated zone transport of moisture in liquid and vapor phases and the surface water balance. Much of the analyses methods have been reported previously but in several separate and detailed reports. These do not always reflect the overview possible with hindsight. The present report is an attempt to integrate the author`s previous results into a cohesive whole. Due to project time constraints, this report is incomplete in some area. This report first reviews the basis for the Darcy flux analyses and its inherent uncertainties, as detailed in previous reports. Results from the previous works are then reviewed and discussed and in some cases, elaborated in an attempt for clarification. New results of the Darcy Flux Analyses are presented and discussed for Area G mesa top locations, nearby canyon locations and a second mesa top location (TA46 west of Area G). Select evapotranspiration and precipitation data from TA6 are presented and discussed. The conclusions section draws a picture of the hydrology which unifies the study results reported here and in previous reports for the undisturbed and disturbed site locations.

  8. UNSATURATED ZONE CALCITE 813C EVIDENCE OF SOUTHERN NEVADA CLIMATES DURING THE PAST 9 MILLION YEARS

    SciTech Connect

    JOSEPH F. WHELAN AND RICHARD J. MOSCATI

    1998-01-26

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is presently the object of intense study as a potential permanent repository for the Nation's high-level radioactive wastes. The mountain consists of a thick sequence of volcanic tuffs in which the depth to the water table ranges from 500 to 700 meters below the land surface. This thick unsaturated zone (UZ), which would host the projected repository, coupled with the present-day arid to semi-arid environment, is considered a positive argument for the site. Evaluation of the site includes defining the relationship between climate variability, as the input function or driver of site- and regional-scale ground-water flow, and the possible transport and release of radionuclides. Secondary calcite and opal have been deposited in the UZ by meteoric waters that infiltrated through overlying soils and percolated through the tuffs. The oxygen isotopic composition ({delta}{sup 18}O values) of these minerals reflect contemporaneous meteoric waters and the {delta}{sup 13}C values reflect soil organic matter, and hence the resident plant community, at the time of infiltration (Whelan et al., 1994). Recent U/Pb age determinations of opal in these occurrences allows the {delta}{sup 13}C values of associated calcite to be used to reconstruct general climate variations during the past 9 M.y.

  9. Evidence for an unsaturated-zone origin of secondary minerals in Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Whelan, Joseph F.; Roedder, Edwin; Paces, James B.

    2001-04-29

    The unsaturated zone (UZ) in Miocene-age welded tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is under consideration as a potential site for the construction of a high-level radioactive waste repository. Secondary calcite and silica minerals deposited on fractures and in cavities in the UZ tuffs are texturally, isotopically, and geochemically consistent with UZ deposition from meteoric water infiltrating at the surface and percolating through the UZ along fractures. Nonetheless, two-phase fluid inclusions with small and consistent vapor to liquid (V:L) ratios that yield consistent temperatures within samples and which range from about 35 to about 80 C between samples have led some to attribute these deposits to formation from upwelling hydrothermal waters. Geochronologic studies have shown that calcite and silica minerals began forming at least 10 Ma and continued to form into the Holocene. If their deposition were really from upwelling water flooding the UZ, it would draw into question the suitability of the site as a waste repository.

  10. Advective Desorption of Uranium (VI) from Contaminated Hanford Vadose Zone Sediments under Saturated and Unsaturated Conditions

    SciTech Connect

    Wellman, Dawn M.; Zachara, John M.; Liu, Chongxuan; Qafoku, Nikolla; Smith, Steven C.; Forrester, Steven W.

    2008-11-03

    Sedimentary, hydrologic, and geochemical variations in the Hanford subsurface environment, as well as compositional differences in contaminating waste streams, have created vast differences in the migration and mobility of uranium within the subsurface environment. A series of hydraulically-saturated and -unsaturated column experiments were performed to i.) assess the effect of water content on the advective desorption and migration of uranium from contaminated sediments, and ii.) evaluate the uranium concentration that can develop in porewater and/or groundwater as a result of desorption/dissolution reactions. Flow rate and moisture content were varied to evaluate the influence of contact time, pore water velocity, and macropore desaturation on aqueous uranium concentrations. Sediments were collected from the T-TX-TY tank farm complex and the 300 Area Process Ponds located on the Hanford Site, southeastern Washington State. The sediments vary in depth, mineralogy, and in contamination events. Experiments were conducted under mildly alkaline/calcareous conditions representative of conditions commonly encountered at repository sites across the arid western United States and, in particular, the Hanford site. Results illustrate the release of uranium from these sediments is kinetically controlled and low water contents encountered within the Hanford vadose zone result in the formation of mobile-immobile water regimes, which isolate a fraction of the reactive sites within the sediments, effectively reducing the concentration of uranium released into migrating porewaters.

  11. Distribution of fast hydrologic paths in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Fabryka-Martin, J.T.; Wolfsberg, A.V.; Levy, S.S.; Roach, J.L.; Winters, S.T.; Wolfsberg, L.E.; Elmore, D.; Sharma, P.

    1998-12-31

    Development and testing of conceptual flow and transport models for hydrologic systems are strengthened when natural environmental tracers are incorporated into the process. One such tracer is chlorine-36 ({sup 36}Cl, half-life, 301,000 years), a radioactive isotope produced in the atmosphere and carried underground with percolating groundwater. High concentrations of this isotope were also added to meteoric water during a period of global fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear devices, primarily in the 1950s. This bomb-pulse signal has been used to test for the presence of fast transport paths in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain and to provide the basis for a conceptual model for their distribution. Yucca Mountain is under investigation by the US Department of Energy as a potential site at which to host an underground high-level radioactive waste repository. Under wetter climatic conditions, fast-flow pathways will respond quickly to increases in infiltration and have the potential to become seeps in the tunnel drifts. The {sup 36}Cl data are also being used in numerical flow and transport models to establish lower bounds on infiltration rates, estimate ground water ages, and establish bounding values for hydrologic flow parameters governing fracture transport.

  12. Movement of moisture in the unsaturated zone in a loess-mantled area, southwestern Kansas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Prill, Robert C.

    1977-01-01

    A study of moisture movement associated with ponding near Garden City, Kansas, indicates that loess-manted areas have excellent potential for artificial recharge by water spreading. Infiltration stabilized at rates ranging from 0.7 to 2.2 feet (0.2 to 0.7 meter) per day reflecting changes in hydraulic conductivity of soil horizons. Results of the study indicate that the underlying loess has the capacity to temporarily store about 1 cubic foot (0.03 cubic meter) of water for each 6 cubic feet (0.17 cubic meter) of material. Owing to relatively high hydraulic conductivities of the loess and alluvium, however, moisture continues to move through the unsaturated zone. After application of 21 feet (6 meters) of water, mounding at the water table had a maximum thickness of 2 feet (0.6 meter) at the edge of the pond. Although the boundary of mounding spread rapidly, the applied water moved slowly by lateral displacement. (Woodard-USGS)

  13. Percolation and particle transport in the unsaturated zone of a karst aquifer.

    PubMed

    Pronk, Michiel; Goldscheider, Nico; Zopfi, Jakob; Zwahlen, Francxois

    2009-01-01

    Recharge and contamination of karst aquifers often occur via the unsaturated zone, but the functioning of this zone has not yet been fully understood. Therefore, irrigation and tracer experiments, along with monitoring of rainfall events, were used to examine water percolation and the transport of solutes, particles, and fecal bacteria between the land surface and a water outlet into a shallow cave. Monitored parameters included discharge, electrical conductivity, temperature, organic carbon, turbidity, particle-size distribution (PSD), fecal indicator bacteria, chloride, bromide, and uranine. Percolation following rainfall or irrigation can be subdivided into a lag phase (no response at the outlet), a piston-flow phase (release of epikarst storage water by pressure transfer), and a mixed-flow phase (increasing contribution of freshly infiltrated water), starting between 20 min and a few hours after the start of recharge event. Concerning particle and bacteria transport, results demonstrate that (1) a first turbidity signal occurs during increasing discharge due to remobilization of particles from fractures (pulse-through turbidity); (2) a second turbidity signal is caused by direct particle transfer from the soil (flow-through turbidity), often accompanied by high levels of fecal indicator bacteria, up to 17,000 Escherichia coli/100 mL; and (3) PSD allows differentiation between the two types of turbidity. A relative increase of fine particles (0.9 to 1.5 microm) coincides with microbial contamination. These findings help quantify water storage and percolation in the epikarst and better understand contaminant transport and attenuation. The use of PSD as "early-warning parameter" for microbial contamination in karst water is confirmed. PMID:19462487

  14. Hydrogeology of the unsaturated zone, North Ramp area of the Exploratory Studies Facility, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rousseau, Joseph P., (Edited By); Kwicklis, Edward M.; Gillies, Daniel C.

    1999-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada, is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Energy as a potential site for a repository for high-level radioactive waste. This report documents the results of surface-based geologic, pneumatic, hydrologic, and geochemical studies conducted during 1992 to 1996 by the U.S. Geological Survey in the vicinity of the North Ramp of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) that are pertinent to understanding multiphase fluid flow within the deep unsaturated zone. Detailed stratigraphic and structural characteristics of the study area provided the hydrogeologic framework for these investigations. Multiple lines of evidence indicate that gas flow and liquid flow within the welded tuffs of the unsaturated zone occur primarily through fractures. Fracture densities are highest in the Tiva Canyon welded (TCw) and Topopah Spring welded (TSw) hydrogeologic units. Although fracture density is much lower in the intervening nonwelded and bedded tuffs of the Paintbrush nonwelded hydrogeologic unit (PTn), pneumatic and aqueous-phase isotopic evidence indicates that substantial secondary permeability is present locally in the PTn, especially in the vicinity of faults. Borehole air-injection tests indicate that bulk air-permeability ranges from 3.5x10-14 to 5.4x10-11 square meters for the welded tuffs and from 1.2x10-13 to 3.0x10-12 square meters for the non welded and bedded tuffs of the PTn. Analyses of in-situ pneumatic-pressure data from monitored boreholes produced estimates of bulk permeability that were comparable to those determined from the air-injection tests. In many cases, both sets of estimates are two to three orders of magnitude larger than estimates based on laboratory analyses of unfractured core samples. The in-situ pneumatic-pressure records also indicate that the unsaturated-zone pneumatic system consists of four subsystems that coincide with the four major hydrogeologic units of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. In

  15. Pore-Water Extraction from Unsaturated Porous Media: Intermediate-Scale Laboratory

    SciTech Connect

    Oostrom, Martinus; Truex, Michael J.; Wietsma, Thomas W.; Tartakovsky, Guzel D.

    2014-08-15

    As a remedial approach, vacuum-induced pore-water extraction offers the possibility of contaminant and water removal from the vadose zone, which may be beneficial in reducing the flux of vadose zone contaminants to groundwater. Vadose zone water extraction is being considered at the Hanford Site in Washington State as a means to remove technetium-99 contamination from low permeability sediments with relatively high water contents. A series of intermediate-scale laboratory experiments have been conducted to improve the fundamental understanding and limitations of the technique. Column experiments were designed to investigate the relations between imposed suctions, water saturations, and water production. Flow cell experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of high-permeability layers and near-well compaction on pore-water extraction efficiency. Results show that water extraction from unsaturated systems can be achieved in low permeability sediments, provided that the initial water saturations are relatively high. The presence of a high-permeability layer decreased the yield, and compaction near the well screen had a limited effect on overall performance. In all experiments, large pressure gradients were observed near the extraction screen. Minimum requirements for water extraction include an imposed vacuum-induced suction larger than the initial sediment capillary pressure, in combination with a fully saturated seepage-face boundary. A numerical multiphase simulator with a coupled seepage-face boundary conditions was used to simulate the experiments. Reasonable matches were obtained between measured and simulated results for both water extraction and capillary pressures, suggesting that numerical simulations may be used as a design tool for field-scale applications of pore-water extraction.

  16. Direct current resistivity profiling to study distribution of water in the unsaturated zone near the Amargosa Desert Research Site, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Abraham, Jared D.; Lucius, Jeffrey E.

    2004-01-01

    In order to study the distribution of water in the unsaturated zone and potential for ground-water recharge near the Amargosa Desert Research Site south of Beatty, Nevada, the U.S. Geological Survey collected direct-current resistivity measurements along three profiles in May 2003 using an eight-channel resistivity imaging system. Resistivity data were collected along profiles across the ADRS, across a poorly incised (distributary) channel system of the Amargosa River southwest of the ADRS, and across a well-incised flood plain of the Amargosa River northwest of the ADRS. This report describes results of an initial investigation to estimate the distribution of water in the unsaturated zone and to evaluate the shallow subsurface stratigraphy near the ADRS. The geophysical method of dc resistivity was employed by using automated data collection with numerous electrodes. 'Cross sections' of resistivity, produced by using an inversion algorithm on the field data, at the three field sites are presented and interpreted.

  17. Residence time, mineralization processes and groundwater origin within a carbonate coastal aquifer with a thick unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Santoni, S.; Huneau, F.; Garel, E.; Vergnaud-Ayraud, V.; Labasque, T.; Aquilina, L.; Jaunat, J.; Celle-Jeanton, H.

    2016-09-01

    This study aims at establishing groundwater residence times, identifying mineralization processes and determining groundwater origins within a carbonate coastal aquifer with thick unsaturated zone and lying on a granitic depression. A multi-tracer approach (major ions, SiO2, Br-, Ba+, Sr2+, 18O, 2H, 13C, 3H, Ne, Ar) combined with a groundwater residence time determination using CFCs and SF6 allows defining the global setting of the study site. A typical mineralization conditioned by the sea sprays and the carbonate matrix helped to validate the groundwater weighted residence times from using a binary mixing model. Terrigenic SF6 excesses have been detected and quantified, which permits to identify a groundwater flow from the surrounding fractured granites towards the lower aquifer principally. The use of CFCs and SF6 as a first hydrogeological investigation tool is possible and very relevant despite the thick unsaturated zone and the hydraulic connexion with a granitic environment.

  18. Subtsve A~é­ An In-situ Remediation Method For The Saturated and Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koschitzky, H.-P.; Troetschler, O.; Weber, K.

    two different industrial sites, the ratio is about 1 until the steam hits the unsaturated zone. The remediation efficiency for a site-specific multi-component contamination in the groundwater fluctuation zone was investigated in 2-D experiments comparing the 1 steam injection into the groundwater with the steam injection into the capillary fringe. A slightly higher effectiveness with a recovery rate of more than 97% was measured for the steam injection into the groundwater. A significant difference between both methods was obtained in the kind of removal of the contaminants. SubTSVE yields to a higher mass removal by phase extraction from the groundwater table as a free organic phase. To reduce the risk of mobilisation as a free product the injection of a steam-air mixture into the groundwater is proposed in order to evaporate the contaminants. The effects of steam-air injection will be investigated in VEGAS large container (l = 6 m, w = 3 m, h = 4.5 m) filled with soil from an industrial site and compared with those of steam injection within the same container. References ITAMURA &UDELL (1993): Experimental Cleanup of a Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liqid in the Unsaturated Zone of a Porous Medium Using Steam Injection, Multiphase Transport in Porous Media, ASME, HTD-Vol. 265, 57-62 FÄRBER, A. (1997): Wärmetransport in der ungesättigten Bodenzone: Entwicklung einer thermischen In-situ-Sanierungstechnologie, Mitteilungen Institut für Wasserbau, Universität Stuttgart, Heft 96 UDELL et al. (1994): NAS Lemoore JP-5 cleanup demonstration, Berkeley Environ- mental Restoration Center, University of California, Berkeley NEWMARK &AINES (1995): Summary of the LLNL Gasoline Spill Demonstration Dynamic Underground Stripping Project, Lawrence Livermore Natl. Lab., UCRL-ID- 120416 SCHMIDT et al. (1999): Pilothafte Sanierung eines BTEX Schadens an einem ehema- ligen Gaswerksstandort mit der thermisch unterstützten Bodenluftabsaugung (TUBA) durch Dampfinjektion, Wiss. Bericht WB 99

  19. A Reservoir of Natural Perchlorate in Unsaturated Zones of Arid and Semi-Arid Regions, Southwestern USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rao, B. A.; Stonestrom, D. A.; Anderson, T. A.; Orris, G. J.; Rajagapolan, S.; Sandvig, R. M.; Scanlon, B. R.; Walvoord, M. A.; Jackson, W.

    2006-12-01

    Natural perchlorate (ClO4-) is generally present in unsaturated zones of steppe-to-desert regions of the arid and semi-arid southwestern United States. The perchlorate is associated with atmospherically deposited chloride that has accumulated throughout the Holocene. To assess this natural reservoir, we analyzed unsaturated-zone profiles from ten sites across Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah for perchlorate and other anions. The sampled sites represent a wide range of precipitation (0.1 0.5 m yr-1), dominant vegetation, soil type, underlying geology, and include five distinct ecological regions: Chihuahuan, Mojave, and southern Great Basin deserts; Arizona-New Mexico semi-desert; and Texas High Plains dry steppe. Concentrations of perchlorate correlated closely with chloride and bromide. The perchlorate reservoir (up to 1 kg ha-1) is sufficiently large to impact groundwater when natural recharge during pluvial periods or induced recharge after conversion to agriculture flushes accumulated salts from the unsaturated zone. This little explored source can explain perchlorate in milk and other agricultural products far from anthropogenic contamination, and should be considered when evaluating overall exposure risk.

  20. Effects of carbon dioxide variations in the unsaturated zone on water chemistry in a glacial-outwash aquifer

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lee, R.W.

    1997-01-01

    The research site at Otis Air Base, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has been developed for hydrogeological and geochemical studies of sewage-effluent contaminated groundwater since 1982. Research of hydrologic properties, transport, and chemical and biological processes is ongoing, but the origin of background water chemistry has not been determined. The principal geochemical process giving rise to the observed background water chemistry is CO2-controlled hydrolysis of Na feldspar. Geochemical modeling demonstrated that CO2 sources could vary over the project area. Analyses of unsaturated zone gases showed variations in CO2 which were dependent on land use and vegetative cover in the area of groundwater recharge. Measurements of CO2 in unsaturated-zone gases showed that concentrations of total inorganic C in recharge water should range from about 0.035 to 1.0 mmoles/L in the vicinity of Otis Air Base. Flux of CO2 from the unsaturated zone varied for a principal land uses, ranging from 86 gC/m2/yr for low vegetated areas to 1630 gC/m2/yr for a golf course. Carbon dioxide flux from woodlands was 220 gC/m2/yr, lower than reported fluxes of 500 to 600 gC/m2/yr for woodlands in a similar climate. Carbon dioxide flux from grassy areas was 540 gC/m2/yr, higher than reported fluxes of 230 to 490 gC/m2/yr for grasslands in a similar climate.

  1. Uncertainty quantification for unsaturated flow in porous media: a stochastic collocation method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barajas-Solano, D. A.; Tartakovsky, D. M.

    2011-12-01

    We present a stochastic collocation (SC) method to quantify epistemic uncertainty in predictions of unsaturated flow in porous media. SC provides a non-intrusive framework for uncertainty propagation in models based on the non-linear Richards' equation with arbitrary constitutive laws describing soil properties (relative conductivity and retention curve). To illustrate the approach, we use the Richards' equation with the van Genutchen-Mualem model for water retention and relative conductivity to describe infiltration into an initially dry soil whose uncertain parameters are treated as random fields. These parameters are represented using a truncated Karhunen-Loève expansion; Smolyak algorithm is used to construct a structured set of collocation points from univariate Gauss quadrature rules. A resulting deterministic problem is solved for each collocation point, and together with the collocation weights, the statistics of hydraulic head and infiltration rate are computed. The results are in agreement with Monte Carlo simulations. We demonstrate that highly heterogeneous soils (large variances of hydraulic parameters) require cubature formulas of high degree of exactness, while their short correlation lengths increase the dimensionality of the problem. Both effects increase the number of collocation points and thus of deterministic problems to solve, affecting the overall computational cost of uncertainty quantification.

  2. The Apparent Conductivity for Steady Unsaturated Flow in Periodically Fractured Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martinez, M. J.; Dykhuizen, R. C.; Eaton, R. R.

    1992-11-01

    The influence of horizontal fractures on the steady seepage of moisture in variably saturated porous media is analyzed by analytical and numerical means. The fractures are assumed to contain many open (dry) regions, and to be distributed periodically in two dimensions. The dry regions of the fracture form a barrier to moisture flow through the geologic medium. An idealized two-dimensional model that maximizes the barrier effect of the fractures is analyzed. The results of the analysis quantify the effect of the dry regions of the fractures on global water flow through the fractured medium. An apparent conductivity is determined such that the fractured system can be replaced by a homogeneous medium for describing steady unsaturated flow. An asymptotic analysis yields an analytic expression for the apparent hydraulic conductivity through such a system in the limit of small sorptive number (fracture spacing divided by a characteristic capillary suction) for the intact matrix material. The apparent hydraulic conductivity for arbitrary spacing and sorptive number is determined by numerical means. The numerical model accounts for variable hydraulic conductivity as a function of the local pressure head, whereas the asymptotic solution represents the limit of constant conductivity. The numerical results confirm the analytical solution as a lower bound on the apparent hydraulic conductivity.

  3. FEMWATER: a finite-element model of water flow through saturated-unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Yeh, G.T.; Ward, D.S.

    1980-10-01

    Upon examining the Water Movement Through Saturated-Unsaturated Porous Media: A Finite-Element Galerkin Model, it was felt that the model should be modified and expanded. The modification is made in calculating the flow field in a manner consistent with the finite element approach, in evaluating the moisture-content increasing rate within the region of interest, and in numerically computing the nonlinear terms. With these modifications, the flow field is continuous everywhere in the flow regime, including element boundaries and nodal points, and the mass loss through boundaries is much reduced. Expansion is made to include four additional numerical schemes which would be more appropriate for many situations. Also, to save computer storage, all arrays pertaining to the boundary condition information are compressed to smaller dimension, and to ease the treatment of different problems, all arrays are variably dimensioned in all subroutines. This report is intended to document these efforts. In addition, in the derivation of finite-element equations, matrix component representation is used, which is believed more readable than the matrix representation in its entirety. Two identical sample problems are simulated to show the difference between the original and revised models.

  4. Tritium plume dynamics in the shallow unsaturated zone in an arid environment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Maples, S.R.; Andraski, B.J.; Stonestrom, D.A.; Cooper, C.A.; Pohll, G.; Michel, R.L.

    2014-01-01

    The spatiotemporal variability of a tritium plume in the shallow unsaturated zone and the mechanisms controlling its transport were evaluated during a 10-yr study. Plume movement was minimal and its mass declined by 68%. Upward-directed diffusive-vapor tritium fluxes and radioactive decay accounted for most of the observed plume-mass declines. Effective isolation of tritium (3H) and other contaminants at waste-burial facilities requires improved understanding of transport processes and pathways. Previous studies documented an anomalously widespread (i.e., theoretically unexpected) distribution of 3H (>400 m from burial trenches) in a dry, sub-root-zone gravelly layer (1–2-m depth) adjacent to a low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) burial facility in the Amargosa Desert, Nevada, that closed in 1992. The objectives of this study were to: (i) characterize long-term, spatiotemporal variability of 3H plumes; and (ii) quantify the processes controlling 3H behavior in the sub-root-zone gravelly layer beneath native vegetation adjacent to the facility. Geostatistical methods, spatial moment analyses, and mass flux calculations were applied to a spatiotemporally comprehensive, 10-yr data set (2001–2011). Results showed minimal bulk-plume advancement during the study period and limited Fickian spreading of mass. Observed spreading rates were generally consistent with theoretical vapor-phase dispersion. The plume mass diminished more rapidly than would be expected from radioactive decay alone, indicating net efflux from the plume. Estimates of upward 3H efflux via diffusive-vapor movement were >10× greater than by dispersive-vapor or total-liquid movement. Total vertical fluxes were >20× greater than lateral diffusive-vapor fluxes, highlighting the importance of upward migration toward the land surface. Mass-balance calculations showed that radioactive decay and upward diffusive-vapor fluxes contributed the majority of plume loss. Results indicate that plume losses

  5. High mobility of SDBS-dispersed single-walled carbon nanotubes in saturated and unsaturated porous media.

    PubMed

    Tian, Yuan; Gao, Bin; Ziegler, Kirk J

    2011-02-28

    Knowledge of the mobility of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in porous media is very important to assess their impacts on the environment. In this study, a series of laboratory experiments were conducted to explore the transport mechanisms of sonication shortened, sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate (SDBS) dispersed single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs) in both saturated and unsaturated sand columns. Laboratory columns packed with quartz sand with different combinations of moisture content and grain-size distribution were used to examine the breakthrough behavior of the SDBS-dispersed SWNTs. Bubble column experiments were also conducted to study the interactions between the SDBS-dispersed SWNTs and the air-water interface. Packed-column experimental results showed that the SDBS-dispersed SWNTs were highly mobile for most of the experimental conditions tested. The surface deposition of the SWNTs in the sand columns was low because all the interactive surfaces were negatively charged. Physical trapping was not observed for the SWNTs in the saturated porous media of different grain-size distributions because the SWNTs might orient parallel to the streamlines in flow to reduce their retention. Retention of the SWNTs in unsaturated porous media occurred only at a very low moisture content (<0.10). Otherwise, reduction in moisture content showed little impact on the retention and transport of the SWNTs in unsaturated porous media. Findings from the bubble-column experiments confirmed that the SDBS-dispersed SWNTs did not attach to the air-water interface. A mathematical model based on the advection-dispersion equation coupled with reaction-rate laws successfully described the retention and transport of the SDBS-dispersed SWNTs in both water-saturated and unsaturated columns. PMID:21236566

  6. Experimental Investigation of the Effective Foam Viscosity in Unsaturated Porous Media

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, Z. F.; Zhong, Lirong; White, Mark D.; Szecsody, James E.

    2012-11-01

    Foam has the potential to effectively carry and distribute either aqueous or gaseous amendments to the deep vadose zone for contaminant remediation. However, the transport of foam in porous media is complicated because flow characteristics such as the effective viscosity are affected not only by foam properties but also by the sediment properties and flow conditions. We determined the average effective foam viscosity via a series of laboratory experiments and found that the effective foam viscosity increased with the liquid fraction in foam, the injection rate, and sediment permeability. These impacts are quantified with an empirical expression, which is further demonstrated with data from literature. The results show that the liquid fraction in foam and sediment permeability are two primary factors affecting effective foam viscosity. These results suggest that, when foam is used in deep vadose zone remediation, foam flow will not suffer from gravitational drainage and can distribute amendments uniformly in heterogeneous sediments.

  7. Effects of precipitation patterns on catchment erosion considering unsaturated zone hydrology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Norouzi Moghanjoghi, Karim; Ehlers, Todd A.

    2015-04-01

    Geomorphological models are based on simplifying hydrological assumptions due to the computational limitations. The runoff generation method used in these models is generally the Hortonian excess rainfall. This assumption does not take into account the response of unsaturated zone to the dry intervals and precipitation event's duration and looks only at the intensity of the precipitation events. It also implies that the smaller intensity precipitations does not incise or erode the river. This study compliments previous work by investigating the 3D transient response of the unsaturated zone, river flow and erosion power to different precipitation patterns of fixed total precipitation. The catchment of interest is 150km2 with a relief of 900m located in the south of Germany. The total amount of surface shear from runoff is computed as a measure of effectiveness of the incision and bedrock erosion. The sensitivity of the erosion on the surface is calculated with sampling multiple precipitations of the varying intensity, duration and dry intervals using using a 3D transient hydrologic model called Hydrogeosphere. Three types of experiments are designed where in each experiment, one precipitation characteristic (i.e. duration) is kept constant and the other two precipitation parameters are allowed to vary (i.e. intensity and dry intervals). The number of events are varied, but produce a fixed total precipitation amount of 700 mm over six months. An exponential probability distribution for the intensity, duration and dry intervals was explored in 300 simulations. These precipitation events are simulated and the shear stress over the stream is sampled every half hour. Model results show that the combined effects of intensity, duration and dry intervals on shear stress over the river is significant even with the total fixed precipitation. Experiment I consists of events with small mean intensities and long durations. These events are less effective in eroding the channel

  8. Herbicide Transport and Transformations in the Unsaturated Zone of Three Small Agricultural Basins with Corn and Soybean Row Crops

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hancock, T. C.; Vogel, J. R.; Sandstrom, M. W.; Capel, P. D.; Bayless, R. E.; Webb, R. M.

    2006-05-01

    In the United States, herbicides are among the most significant nonpoint-source pollutants and were applied to 95% of all fields in corn production and 97% of all fields in soybean production in 2003 and 2004. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has conducted a study on select herbicides in the unsaturated zone under corn and soybean fields in three predominantly agricultural basins: Morgan Creek (Maryland), Leary Weber Ditch within Sugar Creek (Indiana), and Maple Creek (Nebraska). In 2004, the Morgan Creek and Leary Weber Ditch fields were in soybeans and the Maple Creek fields were in corn. The Maple Creek fields were irrigated, whereas those in Morgan Creek and Leary Weber Ditch were not. Similarities and differences in agricultural management practices, climatic conditions, and natural features, such as soil types and geology, were evaluated as part of the study. In general, the amounts of herbicides entering the unsaturated zone from rain in these basins were minor (1%) compared to amounts commonly applied to the land surface during agricultural practices. Few herbicides were detected on solid core samples from the unsaturated zones of these basins. An exception was found at a Morgan Creek site in an upland recharge area with sandier soils. Here, atrazine concentrations were highest in the near surface solids and decreased with depth. In the unsaturated-zone porewater of the Morgan Creek Basin, parent triazine and acetanilide herbicides were detected and only at the site in the upland recharge area at relatively low concentrations at depths greater than 4 meters, probably because these compounds had not been applied for several years. At the Morgan Creek and Leary Weber Ditch sites, acetanilide metabolites were frequently detected in the unsaturated-zone porewater. In general, the fraction of metolachlor ethane sulfonic acid (ESA) relative to the total mass of parent and metabolites increased with depth overall and at several individual sampling

  9. Archaeology and public perception of a trans-scientific problem; disposal of toxic wastes in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Winograd, Isaac Judah

    1986-01-01

    Predicting the effects of toxic-waste disposal on the environment over periods of millenia to hundreds of millenia is a transscientific problem; that is, one not fully addressed by quantitative scientific and engineering endeavors. Archaeology is a pertinent adjunct to such predictions in several ways. First, and foremost, archaeological records demonstrate that delicate, as well as durable, objects buried in thick unsaturated zones of arid and semiarid environments may survive intact for millenia to tens of millenia. This successful preservation of Late Paleolithic to Iron Age artifacts provides independent support for the tentative favorable conclusions of earth scientists regarding the general utility of thick unsaturated zones for toxic-waste isolation. By analogy with the archaeological record, solidified toxic wastes of low solubility that are buried in arid unsaturated zones should remain isolated from the environment indefinitely; modern man presumably should be able to improve upon the techniques used by his ancestors to isolate and preserve their sacred and utilitarian objects. Second, archaeological evidence pertinent to the fate of objects buried in unsaturated zones-although qualitative in nature and subject to the limitations of arguments by analogy-is meaningful to the public and to the courts who, with some scientists and engineers, are reluctant to rely exclusively on computer-generated predictions of the effects of buried toxic wastes on the environment. Third, the archaeological record issues a warning that our descendants may intrude into our waste disposal sites and that we must therefore take special measures to minimize such entry and, if it occurs, to warn of the dangers by a variety of symbols. And fourth, archaeology provides a record of durable natural and manmade materials that may prove to be suitable for encapsulation of our wastes and from which we can construct warning markers that will last for millenia. For these four reasons

  10. Modeling a thick unsaturated zone at San Gorgonio Pass, California: lessons learned after five years of artificial recharge

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flint, Alan L.; Ellett, Kevin M.; Christensen, Allen H.; Martin, Peter

    2012-01-01

    The information flow among the tasks of framework assessment, numerical modeling, model forecasting and hind casting, and system-performance monitoring is illustrated. Results provide an understanding of artificial recharge in high-altitude desert settings where large vertical distances may separate application ponds from their target aquifers. Approximately 3.8 million cubic meters of surface water was applied to spreading ponds from 2003–2007 to artificially recharge the underlying aquifer through a 200-meter thick unsaturated zone in the San Gorgonio Pass area in southern California. A study was conducted between 1997 and 2003, and a numerical model was developed to help determine the suitability of the site for artificial recharge. Ongoing monitoring results indicated that the existing model needed to be modified and recalibrated to more accurately predict artificial recharge at the site. The objective of this work was to recalibrate the model by using observation of the application rates, the rise and fall of the water level above a perching layer, and the approximate arrival time to the water table during the 5-yr monitoring period following initiation of long-term artificial recharge. Continuous monitoring of soil-matric potential, temperature, and water levels beneath the site indicated that artificial recharge reached the underlying water table between 3.75 and 4.5 yr after the initial application of the recharge water. The model was modified to allow the simulation to more adequately match the perching layer dynamics and the time of arrival at the water table. The instrumentation also showed that the lag time between changes in application of water at the surface and the response at the perching layer decreased from about 4 mo to less than 1 mo due to the wet-up of the unsaturated zone and the increase in relative permeability. The results of this study demonstrate the importance of iteratively monitoring and modeling the unsaturated zone in layered

  11. Mass exchange between mobile fresh water and immobile saline water in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gvirtzman, Haim; Paldor, Nathan; Magaritz, Mordeckai; Bachmat, Yehuda

    1988-10-01

    A profile of tritium concentrations measured in the unsaturated zone in loessial sediments in a semiarid area is interpreted in terms of mobile and immobile water domains, according to a nonequilibrium transport model. The mobile domain is represented by percolating freshwater from both rain and irrigation, and the immobile one is represented by isolated fossil saline water pockets. The two domains are connected by partially saturated narrow passages within dispersed clay minerals. The transport of the mobile water is described by convective-dispersive flow and by mass exchange between the two water domains. The relevant equations with the given initial and boundary conditions are solved numerically, and the simulated profile is adjusted to fit the measured one. In this study we concentrate on examination of the mass exchange law between the two domains. It was assumed that matrix characteristics vary in time due to the dispersion of clays at the interface between fresh and saline waters. Accordingly, a time-dependent mass exchange was adopted, which made it possible to obtain an adequate reconstruction of the measured tritium profile. By using a least squares optimization procedure it was found that the best fit between the simulated and measured profiles is attained when the fraction of mobile water is 30%, and the rate of mass exchange decreases from 0.60 to 0.01 year-1 in 26 years. The proposed model implies is that it is the immobile water domain which contains the memory of the "high tritium period" (thermonuclear tests period) of the 1960s.

  12. Distribution of gases in the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Illinois

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Striegl, Robert G.

    1988-01-01

    The unsaturated zone is a medium that provides pneumatic communication for the movement of gases from wastes buried in landfills to the atmosphere, biota, and groundwater. Gases in unsaturated glacial and eolian deposits near a waste-disposal trench at the low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Bureau County, Illinois, were identified, and the spatial and temporal distributions of the partial pressures of those gases were determined for the period January 1984 through January 1986. Methods for the collection and analyses of the gases are described, as are geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the unsaturated zone that affect gas transport. The identified gases, which are of natural and of waste origin, include nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, carbon dioxide, methane, propane, butane, tritiated water vapor, 14carbon dioxide, and 222 radon. Concentrations of methane and 14carbon dioxide originated at the waste, as shown by partial-pressure gradients of the gases; 14carbon dioxide partial pressures exceeded natural background partial pressures by factors greater than 1 million at some locations. Variations in partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide were seasonal among piezometers because of increased root and soil-microbe respiration during summer. Variations in methane and 14carbon dioxide partial pressures were apparently related to discrete releases from waste sources at unpredictable intervals of time. No greater than background partial pressures for tritiated water vapor or 222 radon were measured. (USGS)

  13. Balancing practicality and hydrologic realism: a parsimonious approach for simulating rapid groundwater recharge via unsaturated-zone preferential flow

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mirus, Benjamin B.; Nimmo, J.R.

    2013-01-01

    The impact of preferential flow on recharge and contaminant transport poses a considerable challenge to water-resources management. Typical hydrologic models require extensive site characterization, but can underestimate fluxes when preferential flow is significant. A recently developed source-responsive model incorporates film-flow theory with conservation of mass to estimate unsaturated-zone preferential fluxes with readily available data. The term source-responsive describes the sensitivity of preferential flow in response to water availability at the source of input. We present the first rigorous tests of a parsimonious formulation for simulating water table fluctuations using two case studies, both in arid regions with thick unsaturated zones of fractured volcanic rock. Diffuse flow theory cannot adequately capture the observed water table responses at both sites; the source-responsive model is a viable alternative. We treat the active area fraction of preferential flow paths as a scaled function of water inputs at the land surface then calibrate the macropore density to fit observed water table rises. Unlike previous applications, we allow the characteristic film-flow velocity to vary, reflecting the lag time between source and deep water table responses. Analysis of model performance and parameter sensitivity for the two case studies underscores the importance of identifying thresholds for initiation of film flow in unsaturated rocks, and suggests that this parsimonious approach is potentially of great practical value.

  14. Geohydrology, water quality, and nitrogen geochemistry in the saturated and unsaturated zones beneath various land uses, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, California, 1991-93

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rees, Terry F.; Bright, D.J.; Fay, R.G.; Christensen, A.H.; Anders, R.B.; Baharie, B.S.; Land, M.T.

    1995-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Eastern Municipal Water District, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and the Orange County Water District, has completed a derailed study of the Hemet groundwater basin. The quantity of ground water stored in the basin in August 1992 is estimated to be 327,000 acre-feet. Dissolved-solids concentration ranged from 380 to 700 mg/L (milligrams per liter), except in small areas where the concentration exceeded 1,000 mg/L. Nitrate concentrations exc__*'ded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 10 mg/L nitrate (its nitrogen) in the southeastern part of the basin, in the Domenigoni Valley area, and beneath a dairy in the Diamond Valley area. Seven sites representing selected land uses-residential, tuff grass irrigated with reclaimed water, citrus grove, irrigated farm, poultry farm, and dairy (two sites)--were selected for detailed study of nitrogen geochemistry in the unsaturated zone. For all land uses, nitrate was the dominant nitrogen species in the unsaturated zone. Although nitrate was seasonally present in the shallow unsaturated zone beneath the residential site, it was absent at moderate depths, suggesting negligible migration of nitrate from the surface at this time. Microbial denitrification probably is occurring in the shallow unsaturated zone. High nitrate concentrations in the deep unsaturated zone (greater than 100 ft) suggest either significantly higher nitrate loading at some time in the past, or lateral movement of nitrate at depth. Nitrate also is seasonally present in the shallow unsaturated zone beneath the reclaimed-water site, and (in contrast with the residential site), nitrate is perennially present in the deeper unsaturated zone. Mictobial identification in the unsaturated zone and in the capillary fringe above the water table decreases, the concentrations of nitrate in pore water to below the MCL before reaching the water table. Pore

  15. Unsaturated zone characterization in soil through transient wetting and drying using GPR joint time-frequency analysis and grayscale images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lai, W. L.; Kou, S. C.; Poon, C. S.

    2012-07-01

    SummaryThis paper describes an experimental method to characterize the soil's unsaturated zone by constructing a scenario in which transient downward water infiltration took place from the topsoil to the bottom soil continuously. During the water infiltration, GPR waveforms and side-view grayscale images of the soil column were simultaneously and continuously captured. The GPR wavelets associated with the wetting front were analyzed using short time fourier transform (STFT) algorithm. The downward wetting front and the stretch of unsaturated transition zone decelerated and eased the wetting front's reflection in the time domain; as well as reduced the peak frequency and attenuated the frequency spectra in the frequency domain. The subsequent drying process further attenuated but accelerated the wetting front's reflection in both time and frequency domains. These observations were correlated with the image pixel profiles, from which GPR velocity profiles at different lapsed times were generated after computation via a complex refractive index model (CRIM). The CRIM method is entirely non-invasive and not only offers very detailed measurement of the water saturation profile of the transition zone in laboratory scale, but also is potentially useful for the further study of a variety of vadose zone properties.

  16. Use of borehole neutron logs to estimate moisture content in the unsaturated zone of an alluvial aquifer

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Quinones-Aponte, Vicente; Carrasquillo, Ramon A.

    1986-01-01

    he neutron borehole logging tool was calibrated for the determination of moisture content in theunsaturated zone of an alluvial aquifer. A continuous core sample was collected to a depth of 15 ft from the unsaturated zone.Moisture content and other soil properties were determined by standard soil-laboratory techniques. The neutron logs profile was correlated to moisture content. The first correlation included all the data points within the unsaturated zone. A correlation coefficient of 0.72 was obtained. An inspection of the plotted data showed that points at the upper extreme of the fitted line departed significantly. A second correlation was tried eliminating data points 1, 3, and 5 which fell too low in the first trial. An almost perfect correlation coefficient of 0.99 was obtained for the data points that were included in the second trial. The criteria used to select the data points for the second correlation trial was that all these points also fell on the left most limit of the neutronprofile. The neutron logs profile, which is like a type of harmonic curve seems to be affected by an undefined factor. Analyzing the shape of the neutron profile it is inferred that hysteresis is the most probable phenomena that is affecting this moisture content profile. Although correlating neutron logs to moisture content is not a straight forward procedure, with an appropriate analysis, calibrated neutron logging tools can be used to determine the moisture content within the unsaturated zone of aquifers. Moisture content should be determined for calibration purposes at least at every foot of depth. Measurements of other elements or factors which may produce the harmonic curve effect might be included in further studies. 

  17. Near Surface Poroelastic Perturbations of Unsaturated Zone Properties of Reservoirs by Distant Earthquakes: Preliminary Results in the Karst System of the LSBB Underground Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blondel, T.; Emblanch, C.; Gaffet, S.; Guglielmi, Y.; Travi, Y.; Cavaillou, A.; Boyer, D.; Auguste, M.

    2008-12-01

    Earthquakes have been observed to affect the saturated zone of hydrological systems in many different ways -- water wells level changes and variations of springs dischargeand modification of water quality. In comparison very rare researches are conducted on the coupled seismic to rock properties in the shallow unsaturated part of aquifers although the topic is of great concern since this zone is at the interface with the atmosphere and constitutes a major boundary to hydrologic aquifers. A more fundamental concern is to study how a multi-saturated porous rock will respond to seismic loading. The Low-Noise Underground Laboratory of Rustrel-Pays d'Apt (LSBB) offers an easy access to all kinds of unsaturated flows. Indeed, various hydrological responses of macro-fractures and pores were identified and characterized through the combined use of flow and chemical seepage water monitoring. Main results are that some unsaturated flow display permanent flow paths driven by pressure gradients while others remain only driven by gravity. When a distant earthquake occurs, the unsaturated zone dynamic response to seismic waves is systematically monitored both on flow and chemical signals. It results in a complex variation at the permanent well-located seepage points and in eventual outflows at new points. These variations are interpreted as a remobilization of ground-waters stored in the unsaturated zone related to gravity-driven drainage through dilated macro- fractures. Current analyses focus on the estimation of the unsaturated zone hydraulic and mechanical properties variations with time under recurrent distant earthquakes effects.

  18. Estimating flow and transport parameters in the unsaturated zone with pore water stable isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sprenger, M.; Volkmann, T. H. M.; Blume, T.; Weiler, M.

    2014-10-01

    Determining the soil hydraulic properties is a prerequisite to physically model transient water flow and solute transport in the vadose zone. Estimating these properties by inverse modelling techniques has become more common within the last two decades. While these inverse approaches usually fit simulations to hydrometric data, we expanded the methodology by using independent information about the stable isotope composition of the soil pore water depth profile as a single or additional optimization target. To demonstrate the potential and limits of this approach, we compared the results of three inverse modelling strategies where the fitting targets were (a) pore water isotope concentrations, (b) a combination of pore water isotope concentrations and soil moisture time series, and (c) a two-step approach using first soil moisture data to determine water flow parameters and then the pore water stable isotope concentrations to estimate the solute transport parameters. The analyses were conducted at three study sites with different soil properties and vegetation. The transient unsaturated water flow was simulated by numerically solving the Richards equation with the finite-element code of Hydrus-1D. The transport of deuterium was simulated with the advection-dispersion equation, and the Hydrus code was modified to allow for deuterium loss during evaporation. The Mualem-van Genuchten and the longitudinal dispersivity parameters were determined for two major soil horizons at each site. The results show that approach (a) using only the pore water isotope content cannot substitute hydrometric information to derive parameter sets that reflect the observed soil moisture dynamics, but gives comparable results when the parameter space is constrained by pedotransfer functions. Approaches (b) and (c) using both, the isotope profiles and the soil moisture time series resulted in satisfying model performances and good parameter identifiability. However, approach (b) has the

  19. Evaluating storm-scale groundwater recharge dynamics with coupled weather radar data and unsaturated zone modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nasta, P.; Gates, J. B.; Lock, N.; Houston, A. L.

    2013-12-01

    Groundwater recharge rates through the unsaturated zone emerge from complex interactions within the soil-vegetation-atmosphere system that derive from nonlinear relationships amongst atmospheric boundary conditions, plant water use and soil hydraulic properties. While it is widely recognized that hydrologic models must capture soil water dynamics in order to provide reliable recharge estimates, information on episodic recharge generation remains uncommon, and links between storm-scale weather patterns and their influence on recharge is largely unexplored. In this study, the water balance of a heterogeneous one-dimensional soil domain (3 m deep) beneath a typical rainfed corn agro-ecosystem in eastern Nebraska was numerically simulated in HYDRUS-1D for 12 years (2001-2012) on hourly time steps in order to assess the relationships between weather events and episodic recharge generation. WSR-88D weather radar reflectivity data provided both rainfall forcing data (after estimating rain rates using the z/r ratio method) and a means of storm classification on a scale from convective to stratiform using storm boundary characteristics. Individual storm event importance to cumulative recharge generation was assessed through iterative scenario modeling (773 total simulations). Annual cumulative recharge had a mean value of 9.19 cm/yr (about 12 % of cumulative rainfall) with coefficient of variation of 73%. Simulated recharge generation events occurred only in late winter and spring, with a peak in May (about 35% of total annual recharge). Recharge generation is observed primarily in late spring and early summer because of the combination of high residual soil moisture following a winter replenishment period, heavy convective storms, and low to moderate potential evapotranspiration rates. During the growing season, high rates of root water uptake cause rapid soil water depletion, and the concurrent high potential evapotranspiration and low soil moisture prevented recharge

  20. HYDROBIOGEOCHEM: A coupled model of HYDROlogic transport and mixed BIOGEOCHEMical kinetic/equilibrium reactions in saturated-unsaturated media

    SciTech Connect

    Yeh, G.T.; Salvage, K.M.; Gwo, J.P.; Zachara, J.M.; Szecsody, J.E.

    1998-07-01

    The computer program HYDROBIOGEOCHEM is a coupled model of HYDROlogic transport and BIOGEOCHEMical kinetic and/or equilibrium reactions in saturated/unsaturated media. HYDROBIOGEOCHEM iteratively solves the two-dimensional transport equations and the ordinary differential and algebraic equations of mixed biogeochemical reactions. The transport equations are solved for all aqueous chemical components and kinetically controlled aqueous species. HYDROBIOGEOCHEM is designed for generic application to reactive transport problems affected by both microbiological and geochemical reactions in subsurface media. Input to the program includes the geometry of the system, the spatial distribution of finite elements and nodes, the properties of the media, the potential chemical and microbial reactions, and the initial and boundary conditions. Output includes the spatial distribution of chemical and microbial concentrations as a function of time and space, and the chemical speciation at user-specified nodes.

  1. Vinasse application to sugar cane fields. Effect on the unsaturated zone and groundwater at Valle del Cauca (Colombia).

    PubMed

    Ortegón, Gloria Páez; Arboleda, Fernando Muñoz; Candela, Lucila; Tamoh, Karim; Valdes-Abellan, Javier

    2016-01-01

    Extensive application of vinasse, a subproduct from sugar cane plantations for bioethanol production, is currently taking place as a source of nutrients that forms part of agricultural management in different agroclimatic regions. Liquid vinasse composition is characterised by high variability of organic compounds and major ions, acid pH (4.7), high TDS concentration (117,416-599,400mgL(-1)) and elevated EC (14,350-64,099μScm(-1)). A large-scale sugar cane field application is taking place in Valle del Cauca (Colombia), where monitoring of soil, unsaturated zone and the aquifer underneath has been made since 2006 to evaluate possible impacts on three experimental plots. For this assessment, monitoring wells and piezometers were installed to determine groundwater flow and water samples were collected for chemical analysis. In the unsaturated zone, tensiometers were installed at different depths to determine flow patterns, while suction lysimeters were used for water sample chemical determinations. The findings show that in the sandy loam plot (Hacienda Real), the unsaturated zone is characterised by low water retention, showing a high transport capacity, while the other two plots of silty composition presented temporal saturation due to La Niña event (2010-2011). The strong La Niña effect on aquifer recharge which would dilute the infiltrated water during the monitoring period and, on the other hand dissolution of possible precipitated salts bringing them back into solution may occur. A slight increase in the concentration of major ions was observed in groundwater (~5% of TDS), which can be attributed to a combination of factors: vinasse dilution produced by water input and hydrochemical processes along with nutrient removal produced by sugar cane uptake. This fact may make the aquifer vulnerable to contamination. PMID:26372944

  2. Assessment of Uncertainty of Radionuclide Transport in the Yucca Mountain Unsaturated Zone: Parametric and Parameter Estimation Uncertainty

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, F.; Ye, M.; Wu, Y.; Hu, B.; Shirley, C.; Yu, Z.

    2005-12-01

    This study is to assess uncertainty of radionuclide transport in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. The uncertainty is attributed to parametric uncertainty due to parameter spatial variability and parameter estimation uncertainty when fitting van Genuchten parameters alpha and n based on water retention measurements. The uncertainty assessment is conducted using Monte Carlo simulation and the three-dimensional flow and transport numerical code, TOUGH2, is employed to simulate unsaturated flow and radionuclide transport in the unsaturated zone. Matrix porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity, sorption coefficient, and van Genuchten alpha and n parameters are treated as statistically homogeneous random variables. Distributions of the first three random parameters are determined based on site measurements. Seven transformations including three transforms from the Johnson system are applied to the measurements and Lilliefors test is used to identify the best transform that renders the transformed data closest to normal distribution. The fitted matrix van Genuchten alpha and n parameters are assumed to follow normal distributions and parameter estimation uncertainty is measured by the covariance matrix obtained from least square analysis. For each model layer, Latin Hypercube Sampling (LHS) method is used to generate 200 realizations random fields, among which matrix porosity is correlated with saturated hydraulic conductivity and van Genuchten alpha and n are correlated also. The correlation between the former two is measured by Spearman rank correlations estimated from site measurements. The Spearman rank correlation of the latter two is calculated from a large number of generated values using MINTAB software based on their estimated means, variances and covariance. 200 Monte Carlo simulations are conducted using the TOUGH2 and convergence of the Monte Carlo results is thoroughly examined. Mean, variances, 5% and 95% percentiles of saturation, capillary

  3. Stratigraphy of the unsaturated zone and the Snake River Plain aquifer at and near the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho

    SciTech Connect

    Anderson, S.R.; Liszewski, M.J.

    1997-08-01

    The unsaturated zone and the Snake River Plain aquifer at and near the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) are made up of at least 178 basalt-flow groups, 103 sedimentary interbeds, 6 andesite-flow groups, and 4 rhyolite domes. Stratigraphic units identified in 333 wells in this 890-mile{sup 2} area include 121 basalt-flow groups, 102 sedimentary interbeds, 6 andesite-flow groups, and 1 rhyolite dome. Stratigraphic units were identified and correlated using the data from numerous outcrops and 26 continuous cores and 328 natural-gamma logs available in December 1993. Basalt flows make up about 85% of the volume of deposits underlying the area.

  4. Investigation of groundwater recharge in arid environments through continuous monitoring of water fluxes within the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kallioras, A.; Reshid, M.; Dietrich, P.; Rausch, R.; Al-Saud, M.; Schuth, C.

    2012-04-01

    For groundwater resources management in arid environments the rate of aquifer replenishment due to groundwater recharge is one of the most important factors and unfortunately also one of the most difficult to derive with sufficient accuracy. In general, the potential evaporation by far exceeds the precipitation limiting groundwater recharge. Unsaturated zone processes play a key role in groundwater recharge as the thickness of the unsaturated zone in arid areas may reach several thenth of meters, compared to millimeters or centimeters of assumed groundwater recharge per year. This indicates the complexity of the problem. Overcoming the field capacity along the infiltration path to initiate downward movement on such a long distance to the groundwater table would require the recharge of tenths or even hundreds of years. Also, precipitation is highly variable in space, time, and intensity and may be followed by hot and dry conditions leading to an alternation of downward and upward movement of water. For this study, field sites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (located app. 200km SW of Riyadh) were selected that represent typical settings for potential groundwater recharge in arid regions, i.e. sand dune areas and wadi beds. In the field campaign vibro-coring techniques applying direct-push technologies (Geoprobe 7720DT) were used to retrieve undisturbed soil sampling down to depths of about 15 m in the unsaturated zone. The drilled boreholes were consequently used for the installation of specially designed flat cable TDR sensors that provide continuous monitoring of the soil moisture content in high vertical resolution. In addition, temperature sensors were installed to monitor temperature fluctuations in the unsaturated zone. We present data on the analyses of soil samples as well as on the measured water content evolution over time as determined by the TDR flat band cables. Results show, that significant changes in water content occurred within the observation time

  5. Sensitivity Analysis Of Hydrological Parameters In Modeling FlowAnd Transport In The Unsaturated Zone Of Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, Keni; Wu, Yu-Shu; Houseworth, James E

    2006-02-01

    The unsaturated fractured volcanic deposits at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, USA, have been intensively investigated as a possible repository site for storing high-level radioactive waste. Field studies at the site have revealed that there exist large variabilities in hydrological parameters over the spatial domain of the mountain. Systematic analyses of hydrological parameters using a site-scale three-dimensional unsaturated zone (UZ) flow model have been undertaken. The main objective of the sensitivity analyses was to evaluate the effects of uncertainties in hydrologic parameters on modeled UZ flow and contaminant transport results. Sensitivity analyses were carried out relative to fracture and matrix permeability and capillary strength (van Genuchten {alpha}) through variation of these parameter values by one standard deviation from the base-case values. The parameter variation resulted in eight parameter sets. Modeling results for the eight UZ flow sensitivity cases have been compared with field observed data and simulation results from the base-case model. The effects of parameter uncertainties on the flow fields were evaluated through comparison of results for flow and transport. In general, this study shows that uncertainties in matrix parameters cause larger uncertainty in simulated moisture flux than corresponding uncertainties in fracture properties for unsaturated flow through heterogeneous fractured rock.

  6. Sensitivity analysis of hydrological parameters in modeling flow and transport in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Keni; Wu, Yu-Shu; Houseworth, James E.

    2006-12-01

    The unsaturated fractured volcanic deposits at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, USA, have been intensively investigated as a possible repository site for storing high-level radioactive waste. Field studies at the site have revealed that there exist large variabilities in hydrological parameters over the spatial domain of the mountain. Systematic analyses of hydrological parameters using a site-scale three-dimensional unsaturated zone (UZ) flow model have been undertaken. The main objective of the sensitivity analyses was to evaluate the effects of uncertainties in hydrologic parameters on modeled UZ flow and contaminant transport results. Sensitivity analyses were carried out relative to fracture and matrix permeability and capillary strength (van Genuchten α) through variation of these parameter values by one standard deviation from the base-case values. The parameter variation resulted in eight parameter sets. Modeling results for the eight UZ flow sensitivity cases have been compared with field observed data and simulation results from the base-case model. The effects of parameter uncertainties on the flow fields were evaluated through comparison of results for flow and transport. In general, this study shows that uncertainties in matrix parameters cause larger uncertainty in simulated moisture flux than corresponding uncertainties in fracture properties for unsaturated flow through heterogeneous fractured rock.

  7. Steam and air co-injection in removing residual TCE in unsaturated layered sandy porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, Sheng; Wang, Ning; Chen, Jiajun

    2013-10-01

    Steam and air co-injection is a promising technique for volatile and semi-volatile organic contaminant remediation in heterogeneous porous media. In this study, removal of trichloroethene (TCE) with steam-air co-injection was investigated through a series of 2D sandbox experiments with different layered sand structures, and through numerical simulations. The results show that a layered structure with coarse sand, in which steam and air convection are relatively rapid, resulted in a higher removal rate and a larger removal ratio than those observed in an experiment using finer sand; however, the difference was not significant, and the removal ratios from three experiments ranged from 85% to 94%. Slight downward movement of TCE was observed for Experiment 1 (TCE initially in a fine sand zone encased in a coarse sand), while no such movement was observed for Experiment 2 (TCE initially in two fine sand layers encased in a coarse sand) or 3 (TCE initially in a silty sand zone encased in a coarse sand). Simulations show accumulation of TCE at the interface of the layered sands, which indicates a capillary barrier effect in restraining the downward movement of TCE. This effect is illustrated further by a numerical experiment with homogeneous coarse sand, in which continuous downward TCE movement to the bottom of the sandbox was simulated. Another numerical experiment with higher water saturation was also conducted. The results illustrate a complicated influence of water saturation on TCE removal in a layered sand structure.

  8. Steam and air co-injection in removing residual TCE in unsaturated layered sandy porous media.

    PubMed

    Peng, Sheng; Wang, Ning; Chen, Jiajun

    2013-10-01

    Steam and air co-injection is a promising technique for volatile and semi-volatile organic contaminant remediation in heterogeneous porous media. In this study, removal of trichloroethene (TCE) with steam-air co-injection was investigated through a series of 2D sandbox experiments with different layered sand structures, and through numerical simulations. The results show that a layered structure with coarse sand, in which steam and air convection are relatively rapid, resulted in a higher removal rate and a larger removal ratio than those observed in an experiment using finer sand; however, the difference was not significant, and the removal ratios from three experiments ranged from 85% to 94%. Slight downward movement of TCE was observed for Experiment 1 (TCE initially in a fine sand zone encased in a coarse sand), while no such movement was observed for Experiment 2 (TCE initially in two fine sand layers encased in a coarse sand) or 3 (TCE initially in a silty sand zone encased in a coarse sand). Simulations show accumulation of TCE at the interface of the layered sands, which indicates a capillary barrier effect in restraining the downward movement of TCE. This effect is illustrated further by a numerical experiment with homogeneous coarse sand, in which continuous downward TCE movement to the bottom of the sandbox was simulated. Another numerical experiment with higher water saturation was also conducted. The results illustrate a complicated influence of water saturation on TCE removal in a layered sand structure. PMID:23962760

  9. Modeling the Changes in Unsaturated Hydraulic Properties of Subsurface Media due to Chemical Reactions: A Film Depositional Modeling Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Freedman, V. L.; Bacon, D. H.; Saripalli, K. P.; Meyer, P. D.

    2001-12-01

    Precipitation and dissolution of minerals in the subsurface can cause a significant reduction in porosity and permeability by plugging pore throats in aquifer and reservoir media. Changes in these two basic properties of the medium also result in significant changes in the remaining 'derived properties' (i.e., relative permeability, fluid-fluid and fluid-solid interfacial areas, pore and particle size distributions) and the constitutive relationships among these properties. Very few published works on modeling the influence of chemical reactions and fluid flow on porosity and permeability account for the spatial and temporal changes in the hydrologic properties on flow and transport. This study reports on the development of a methodology for modeling changes in permeability of unsaturated sub-surface media due to glass and mineral precipitation and dissolution reactions using a film depositional modeling approach. The model is based on the assumption that the mineral precipitate is deposited on the pore walls as a continuous film, causing a reduction in permeability. In this study, the film depositional model is developed for a discrete pore-size distribution, which is determined using the unsaturated hydraulic properties of the porous medium. This facilitates the process of dynamically updating the unsaturated hydraulic parameters used to describe fluid flow through the media. The resulting algorithms are implemented in the multiphase, multicomponent reactive transport code STORM (Sub-surface Transport over Reactive Multiphases). The modeling approach is tested using the Hanford's Immobilized Low Activity Waste (ILAW) repository, where the low-level waste from fuel fabrication activities is being vitrified and emplaced in the sub-surface. Results from simulation of the simultaneous dissolution of low-level glassified waste and secondary mineral precipitation show that the film depositional model based on the Mualem approach reasonably predicts permeability changes

  10. PRZM-2, A MODEL FOR PREDICTING PESTICIDE FATE IN THE CROP ROOT AND UNSATURATED SOIL ZONES: USERS MANUAL FOR RELEASE 2.0

    EPA Science Inventory

    PRZM-2 links two subordinate models--PRZM and VADOFT--in order to predict pesticide transport and transformation down through the crop root and unsaturated zones. RZM is a one-dimensional, finite difference model that accounts for pesticide fate in the crop root zone. his release...