Characterization of a fluvial aquifer at a range of depths and scales: the Triassic St Bees Sandstone Formation, Cumbria, UK

Characterization of a fluvial aquifer at a range of depths and scales: the Triassic St Bees... Fluvial sedimentary successions represent porous media that host groundwater and geothermal resources. Additionally, they overlie crystalline rocks hosting nuclear waste repositories in rift settings. The permeability characteristics of an arenaceous fluvial succession, the Triassic St Bees Sandstone Formation in England (UK), are described, from core-plug to well-test scale up to ~1 km depth. Within such lithified successions, dissolution associated with the circulation of meteoric water results in increased permeability (K~10−1–100 m/day) to depths of at least 150 m below ground level (BGL) in aquifer systems that are subject to rapid groundwater circulation. Thus, contaminant transport is likely to occur at relatively high rates. In a deeper investigation (> 150 m depth), where the aquifer has not been subjected to rapid groundwater circulation, well-test-scale hydraulic conductivity is lower, decreasing from K~10−2 m/day at 150–400 m BGL to 10−3 m/day down-dip at ~1 km BGL, where the pore fluid is hypersaline. Here, pore-scale permeability becomes progressively dominant with increasing lithostatic load. Notably, this work investigates a sandstone aquifer of fluvial origin at investigation depths consistent with highly enthalpy geothermal reservoirs (~0.7–1.1 km). At such depths, intergranular flow dominates in unfaulted areas with only minor contribution by bedding plane fractures. However, extensional faults represent preferential flow pathways, due to presence of high connective open fractures. Therefore, such faults may (1) drive nuclear waste contaminants towards the highly permeable shallow (< 150 m BGL) zone of the aquifer, and (2) influence fluid recovery in geothermal fields. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hydrogeology Journal Springer Journals

Characterization of a fluvial aquifer at a range of depths and scales: the Triassic St Bees Sandstone Formation, Cumbria, UK

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Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by The Author(s)
Subject
Earth Sciences; Hydrogeology; Hydrology/Water Resources; Geology; Water Quality/Water Pollution; Geophysics/Geodesy; Waste Water Technology / Water Pollution Control / Water Management / Aquatic Pollution
ISSN
1431-2174
eISSN
1435-0157
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10040-017-1676-z
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Fluvial sedimentary successions represent porous media that host groundwater and geothermal resources. Additionally, they overlie crystalline rocks hosting nuclear waste repositories in rift settings. The permeability characteristics of an arenaceous fluvial succession, the Triassic St Bees Sandstone Formation in England (UK), are described, from core-plug to well-test scale up to ~1 km depth. Within such lithified successions, dissolution associated with the circulation of meteoric water results in increased permeability (K~10−1–100 m/day) to depths of at least 150 m below ground level (BGL) in aquifer systems that are subject to rapid groundwater circulation. Thus, contaminant transport is likely to occur at relatively high rates. In a deeper investigation (> 150 m depth), where the aquifer has not been subjected to rapid groundwater circulation, well-test-scale hydraulic conductivity is lower, decreasing from K~10−2 m/day at 150–400 m BGL to 10−3 m/day down-dip at ~1 km BGL, where the pore fluid is hypersaline. Here, pore-scale permeability becomes progressively dominant with increasing lithostatic load. Notably, this work investigates a sandstone aquifer of fluvial origin at investigation depths consistent with highly enthalpy geothermal reservoirs (~0.7–1.1 km). At such depths, intergranular flow dominates in unfaulted areas with only minor contribution by bedding plane fractures. However, extensional faults represent preferential flow pathways, due to presence of high connective open fractures. Therefore, such faults may (1) drive nuclear waste contaminants towards the highly permeable shallow (< 150 m BGL) zone of the aquifer, and (2) influence fluid recovery in geothermal fields.

Journal

Hydrogeology JournalSpringer Journals

Published: Nov 10, 2017

References

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