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Quantifying solute transport processes; are chemically "conservative" tracers electrically conservative?

Kamini Singha, Li Li, Frederick D. Day-Lewis and Aaron B. Regberg
Quantifying solute transport processes; are chemically "conservative" tracers electrically conservative?
Geophysics (January 2011) 76 (1): F53-F63

Abstract

The concept of a nonreactive or conservative tracer, commonly invoked in investigations of solute transport, requires additional study in the context of electrical geophysical monitoring. Tracers that are commonly considered conservative may undergo reactive processes, such as ion exchange, thus changing the aqueous composition of the system. As a result, the measured electrical conductivity may reflect not only solute transport but also reactive processes. We have evaluated the impacts of ion exchange reactions, rate-limited mass transfer, and surface conduction on quantifying tracer mass, mean arrival time, and temporal variance in laboratory-scale column experiments. Numerical examples showed that (1) ion exchange can lead to resistivity-estimated tracer mass, velocity, and dispersivity that may be inaccurate; (2) mass transfer leads to an overestimate in the mobile tracer mass and an underestimate in velocity when using electrical methods; and (3) surface conductance does not notably affect estimated moments when high-concentration tracers are used, although this phenomenon may be important at low concentrations or in sediments with high and/or spatially variable cation-exchange capacity. In all cases, colocated groundwater concentration measurements are of high importance for interpreting geophysical data with respect to the controlling transport processes of interest.


ISSN: 0016-8033
EISSN: 1942-2156
Coden: GPYSA7
Serial Title: Geophysics
Serial Volume: 76
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Quantifying solute transport processes; are chemically "conservative" tracers electrically conservative?
Affiliation: Pennsylvania State University, Department of Geosciences, University Park, PA, United States
Pages: F53-F63
Published: 201101
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 56
Accession Number: 2011-032702
Categories: Applied geophysicsHydrogeology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 5 tables
Secondary Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2018, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 201119
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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