Statistical analysis of head and transmissivity in natural aquifers: Application to structure identification and transport prediction

A. Fiori*, I. Janković, R. Suribhatla, G. Dagan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Flow and transport in natural aquifers depend on the spatially variable transmissivity T, usually modeled as a space random function. As a consequence, all the derived quantites, like piezometric head H, are random functions, and their statistical moments depend on those of T. The present work introduces a methodology for identification of logtransmissivity statistics that use the measured piezometric heads. In particular, second order moments like the head-logtransmissivity cross-covariance CHY and the head variogram ΓH can be conveniently used for parameter inference. The logtransmissivity statistics is characterized by three parameters: the variance σYc and the integral scale IY of correlated residuals, and a nugget σ2Yn that represents variability over small support. Unlike previous studies that pursue the same objective through a first order approximation in the logtransmissivity variance, the emphasis here is on highly heterogeneous formations, characterized by large values of σ2Yc. Under the proposed methodology, indentifications is achieved by fitting the experimental head variograms with the theoretical ones; the latter are derived by the means of the effective medium approximation and are validated through accurate numerical simulations, based on analytic element method. The methodology is applied to the Eagle Valley basin in the west-central Nevada for which numerous transmissivity and head measurements are available. The values of σ2Yc and σ2Yn computed directly, from logtransmissivity data, agreed well with the values computed by fitting head variograms. A disparity prevails for the integral scale IY. A prediction of the solute transport behavior of the aquifer is then made from the inferred data and the theoretical results of -xbDagan et al. [4]. Comparison is also made with results based on the first-order analysis of flow and transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-693
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopments in Water Science
Issue numberPART 1
StatePublished - 2004


Dive into the research topics of 'Statistical analysis of head and transmissivity in natural aquifers: Application to structure identification and transport prediction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this