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Book Chapter

Study of connectivity of open framework gravel facies in the Canterbury Plains aquifer using smoke as a tracer

By
Lee F. Burbery
Lee F. Burbery
1
Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, PO Box 29181, Christchurch, New Zealand
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Catherine R. Moore
Catherine R. Moore
1
Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, PO Box 29181, Christchurch, New Zealand
2
Present address: GNS Science, PO Box 30-368, Lower Hutt 5040, New Zealand
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Merren A. Jones
Merren A. Jones
3
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
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Phillip M. Abraham
Phillip M. Abraham
1
Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, PO Box 29181, Christchurch, New Zealand
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Bronwyn L. Humphries
Bronwyn L. Humphries
1
Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, PO Box 29181, Christchurch, New Zealand
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Murray E. Close
Murray E. Close
1
Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, PO Box 29181, Christchurch, New Zealand
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract

Open framework gravels (OFGs) are an inherent textural component of alluvial gravel outwash deposited by braided river systems. Being exceptionally permeable, they play an important part in facilitating the transmission of water and contaminants through alluvial gravel aquifers. Understanding how connected OFG facies are is helpful in making informed predictions about groundwater flow and contaminant transport through such aquifer systems. This work examined a section of the Rakaia fan, Canterbury, New Zealand. A 3 × 3 grid of large diameter auger holes was drilled in close proximity to a sea cliff, which provided very good three-dimensional exposure of the fan architecture. A novel smoke tracing experiment and water tracing field tests were conducted to measure the dynamic connectivity of the OFG facies. Smoke proved to be an effective tracer for measuring the interconnectedness of OFGs over set distances of 5 m. The water tracing tests confirmed that OFGs are connected across much longer distances – in excess of 18 m. Results from both tests revealed how rapid, and non-uniform, aqueous transport can be through alluvial outwash materials. The connectivity information will be used to improve realizations of the heterogeneity of the Canterbury Plains aquifer and inform future hydrogeological modelling.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Geology and Geomorphology of Alluvial and Fluvial Fans: Terrestrial and Planetary Perspectives

D. Ventra
D. Ventra
Utrecht University, the Netherlands
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L. E. Clarke
L. E. Clarke
University of Gloucestershire, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
440
ISBN electronic:
9781786203809
Publication date:
January 01, 2018

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