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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.

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