Abstract

In this study, new elements were developed to generalize the dual-porosity model for moisture infiltration and solute transport in unsaturated rocks, taking into account fractal aspects of the percolation process. Random advection was considered as a basic mechanism of solute transport in self-similar fracture systems. In addition to spatial variations in the infiltration velocity field, temporal fluctuations were also taken into account. The rock matrix, which is a low-permeability component of the heterogeneous geologic medium, acts as a trap for solute particles and moisture. Scaling relations were derived for the moisture infiltration flux, the velocity correlation length, the average velocity of infiltration, and the velocity correlation function. The effect of temporal variations in precipitation intensity on the infiltration processes was analyzed. It showed that the mode of solute transport is determined by the power exponent in the advection velocity correlation function and the dimensionality of the trapping system, both of which may change with time. Therefore, depending on time, various transport regimes may be realized: superdiffusion, subdiffusion, or classical diffusion. The complex structure of breakthrough curves arising from changes in the transport regimes was also examined. A renormalization of the solute source strength due to characteristic fluctuations of highly disordered media was established.

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