There has been much recent work on developing models of non-reactive solute migration in saturated stratified porous media. Almost all experimental results against which the models have been tested have been obtained using artificial media. The aim of the present study is to test the models against data from naturally stratified media. In this paper we report the results of the experiments carried out on samples of laminated, intact, saturated Triassic sandstone from the UK. Column experiments were performed at steady flow rates using samples with flow either parallel or perpendicular to the lamination. For flow parallel to the lamination, the breakthrough curves were asymmetrical. They were generally characterized by early breakthrough and tailing. Asymmetry and tailing increased with increasing flow rate. Column experiments in which flow was interrupted showed the presence of physical non-equilibrium. For flow perpendicular to the lamination the breakthrough curves were symmetrical. Simultaneous use of bromide and amino- G-acid, conservative tracers having very different diffusion coefficients, demonstrated the significance of diffusion particularly when the flow is parallel to the lamination. Thinsection analysis, dye staining and positron emission projection imaging (PEPI) techniques were used to study the spatial variations in hydraulic properties in the samples. Thinsection analysis indicated that the thickness of individual layers, each of different porosity and grain size, varies from less than 1 mm to several millimetres and occasionally exceeds 1 cm. The dye and PEPI experiments also identified stratification of flow when the flow is parallel to the lamination, but in the latter case the most obvious stratification was at a larger scale than for the former. No preferential flow was found for samples with flow perpendicular to the lamination. It is concluded that the dominant process in solute migration in the sandstone samples is stratification that is, at least, at two scales, a process which will result in a fractionation where two solutes of different diffusion coefficient are present.
Figures & Tables
Fluid Flow and Solute Movement in Sandstones: The Onshore UK Permo-Triassic Red Bed Sequence
Sandstone aquifers are common worldwide: they contain a significant proportion of the Earth’s fresh water supplies. However, because of their textural complexity and the frequent occurrence of both matrix and fracture flow, prediction of flow and pollutant migration is still a considerable challenge. This volume contains a collection of papers summarizing current research on an example sandstone aquifer: the UK Permo-Triassic Sandstone sequence. These red bed, organic-poor sandstones are of fluvial and aeolian origin, are often strongly textured, and are cut by discontinuities of a wide range of permeabilities. Matrix flow often dominates, but fracture flow also occurs. The papers in the volume deal with research on saturated and unsaturated flow, and solute and non-aqueous-phase liquid movement. They cover investigations from laboratory to regional scale, and involve a wide range of approaches, from petrophysical through geophysical and hydrochemical to modelling.
The book is intended to be of interest to researchers and practitioners involved in water resources and groundwater pollution, and to hydrogeology, water engineering, and environmental science students.