Combined effects of heterogeneity, anisotropy, and saturation on steady state flow and transport: A laboratory sand tank experiment

Ursino, Nadia; Gimmi, Thomas; Flühler, Hannes (2001). Combined effects of heterogeneity, anisotropy, and saturation on steady state flow and transport: A laboratory sand tank experiment. Water resources research, 37(2), pp. 201-208. American Geophysical Union 10.1029/2000WR900293

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Field soils show rather different spreading behavior at different water saturations, frequently caused by layering of the soil material. We performed tracer experiments in a laboratory sand tank. Such experiments complement and help comprehension of field investigations. We estimated, by image analysis, the first two moments of small plumes traveling through a two-dimensional, heterogeneous medium with strongly anisotropic correlation structure. Three steady state regimes were analyzed. Two main conclusions were drawn. First, low saturation led to very large heterogeneity and to strong preferential flow. Thus the description of the flow paths and the prediction of the solute arrival times require, in this case, more accurate knowledge about the topological structure. Second, saturation-dependent macroscopic anisotropy is an essential element of transport in unsaturated media. For this reason, small structural soil features should be properly upscaled to give appropriate effective soil parameters to be input in transport models.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Gimmi, Thomas

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

0043-1397

Publisher:

American Geophysical Union

Language:

English

Submitter:

Thomas Gimmi

Date Deposited:

18 Sep 2014 16:50

Last Modified:

08 Dec 2014 21:12

Publisher DOI:

10.1029/2000WR900293

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.47687

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/47687

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