CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE

Panel on Conceptual Models of Flow and Transport in the Fractured Vadose Zone

U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.



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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE Panel on Conceptual Models of Flow and Transport in the Fractured Vadose Zone U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, award number NRC-04-96-078, and the U.S. Department of Energy, DE-FG08-97NV12056. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or the U.S. Department of Energy. International Standard Book Number 0-309-07302-2 Library of Congress Control Number: 2001087694 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu Cover: Illustrations courtesy of David A. Feary (photographs from Yucca Mountain and Busted Butte), and Peters, R. R., and E. A. Klavetter, 1988, a continuum model for water movement in an unsaturated fractured rock mass, Water Resources Research 24(3): 416-430, copyright by American Geophysical Union (for schematic figure showing fluid in fractures). Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE PANEL ON CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE PAUL A. HSIEH, Chair, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California JEAN M. BAHR, University of Wisconsin, Madison THOMAS W. DOE, Golder Associates, Inc., Redmond, Washington ALAN L. FLINT, U.S. Geological Survey, Sacramento, California GLENDON GEE, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Richland, Washington LYNN W. GELHAR, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge D. KIP SOLOMON, University of Utah, Salt Lake City MARTINUS VAN GENUCHTEN, U.S. Salinity Laboratory, Riverside, California STEPHEN W. WHEATCRAFT, University of Nevada, Reno NRC Staff DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer (beginning 3/2000) THOMAS M. USSELMAN, Senior Program Officer (through 2/2000) JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Associate

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE U. S. NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR ROCK MECHANICS HERBERT H. EINSTEIN, Chair, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge RONALD P. STEIGER, Vice-Chair, Exxon Production Research Co., Houston, Texas CATHERINE T. AIMONE-MARTIN, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro JAAK J.K. DAEMEN, University of Nevada, Reno EMMANUEL DETOURNAY, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis JOANNE T. FREDRICH, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico RICHARD E. GOODMAN, University of California, Berkeley PAUL A. HSIEH, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California JAMES E. MONSEES, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc., Orange, California LAURA J. PYRAK-NOLTE, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana NRC Staff DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Associate

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES RAYMOND JEANLOZ, Chair, University of California, Berkeley JOHN J. AMORUSO, Amoruso Petroleum Company, Houston, Texas PAUL BARTON, JR., U.S. Geological Survey (emeritus), Reston, Virginia BARBARA L. DUTROW, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge ADAM M. DZIEWONSKI, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts RICHARD S. FISKE, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. JAMES M. FUNK, Shell Continental Companies, Houston, Texas (retired) WILLIAM L. GRAF, Arizona State University, Tempe SUSAN M. KIDWELL, University of Chicago, Illinois SUSAN KIEFFER, Kieffer & Woo, Inc., Palgrave, Ontario, Canada PAMELA E. LUTTRELL, Dallas, Texas ALEXANDRA NAVROTSKY, University of California, Davis DIANNE R. NIELSON, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake City JONATHAN PRICE, Nevada Bureau of Mines & Geology, Reno NRC Staff ANTHONY R. DE SOUZA, Director TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Senior Program Officer DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer LISA M. VANDEMARK, Program Officer JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Associate VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Assistant REBECCA E. SHAPACK, Research Assistant TERESIA K. WILMORE, Project Assistant

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville RICHARD A. CONWAY, Union Carbide Corporation (retired), South Charleston, West Virginia LYNN GOLDMAN, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland THOMAS E. GRAEDEL, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut THOMAS J. GRAFF, Environmental Defense Fund, Oakland, California EUGENIA KALNAY, University of Maryland, College Park DEBRA KNOPMAN, Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. JOHN B. MOONEY, JR., J. Brad Mooney Associates, Ltd., Arlington, Virginia HUGH C. MORRIS, El Dorado Gold Corporation, Vancouver, British Columbia H. RONALD PULLIAM, University of Georgia, Athens MILTON RUSSELL, University of Tennessee (retired), Knoxville ROBERT J. SERAFIN, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ANDREW R. SOLOW, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts E-AN ZEN, University of Maryland, College Park NRC Staff ROBERT M. HAMILTON, Executive Director GREGORY H. SYMMES, Associate Executive Director JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative and Financial Officer CHRISTINE HENDERSON, Scientific Reports Officer SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE Preface The purpose of this study is to describe the processes through which conceptual models of flow and transport in the fractured vadose zone are developed, tested, refined, and reviewed. The Panel convened a two-day workshop in March 1999, during which a large group of specialists from the hydrogeologic, geochemical, soil science, and related fields discussed the current state of knowledge, lessons learned from field investigations, and needs for future research. A series of invited presentations provided the basis for much of the discussion at this workshop. Individually authored papers based on these presentations are presented as Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10 and Chapter 11 in the second part of this volume. The Panel was charged with preparing a consensus report on the development and testing of conceptual models for fluid flow and transport in the fractured vadose zone. The Panel's conclusions and recommendations were based in large part on the workshop presentations and discussions. This report is intended to describe the present status of conceptual model building in the fractured vadose zone; to provide guidance to regulatory agencies on the review process for conceptual models developed for site licensing; to compile knowledge and experiences from related disciplines so that technical communities can benefit from advances in related fields; and to identify future research needed to advance the technical basis for developing and evaluating vadose zone conceptual models. In its consideration of transport in the vadose zone, the Panel focused on the application of environmental tracers (such as tritium and chlorine-36) because they provide integrated responses that are difficult to determine by point measurements of fluid potential or moisture content. The Panel briefly reviewed

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE approaches for modeling transport of conservative solutes, but the scope of the study did not include reactive solutes or water-rock interactions. The Panel report (Chapter 1) is composed of three main sections. First, we discuss general considerations applicable to the development and testing of conceptual models. Second, we summarize the current state of knowledge of flow and transport processes in the fractured vadose zone. Third, we present our conclusions and recommendation. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: John D. Bredehoeft, The Hydrodynamics Group, Story, Wyoming June T. Fabryka-Martin, Environmental Technology, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico Jane C. S. Long, Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno Mark Person, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Daniel B. Stephens, Daniel B. Stephens and Associates, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by George Hornberger, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, appointed by the Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources, who was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. In addition, we acknowledge peer reviews provided by the following for the invited papers (Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10 and Chapter 11): S. Bradford, J. D. Bredehoeft, J. Fabryka-Martin, R. Healy, D. L. Hughson, V. Kapoor, K. Karasaki, K. Keller, S. Kung, E. Kwicklis, L. D. McKay, J. W. Mercer, R. L. Michel, B. Mohanty, J-V. Parlange, L. Pyrak-Nolte, E. H. Roseboom Jr., B. R. Scanlon, D. B. Stephens, T. K. Tokunaga, and E. P. Weeks. Although these papers have undergone peer review,

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE their inclusion in this report does not constitute any specific endorsement of their contents, either by the Panel or the National Research Council. Paul Hsieh Chair, Panel on Conceptual Models of Flow and Transport in the Fractured Vadose Zone

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1     PANEL REPORT       1.  Conceptual Models of Flow and Transport in the Fractured Vadose Zone   9     TECHNICAL PAPERS       2.  Development of the Conceptual Model of Unsaturated Zone Hydrology at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, A. L. Flint, L. E. Flint, G. S. Bodvarsson, E. M. Kwicklis, and J. Fabryka-Martin   47     3.  Conceptual Model of Vadose-Zone Transport in Fractured, Weathered Shales, P. M. Jardine, G. V. Wilson, R. J. Luxmoore, and J. P. Gwo   87     4.  Evaluation of Conceptual and Quantitative Models of Fluid Flow and Chemical Transport in Fractured Media, B. Berkowitz, R. Nativ, and E. Adar   115     5.  Uniform and Preferential Flow Mechanisms in the Vadose Zone, J. M. H. Hendrickx and M. Flury   149     6.  Modeling Macropore Flow in Soils: Field Validation and Use for Management Purposes, N. Jarvis and M. Larsson   189

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE     7.  Free-Surface Films, M. I. Dragila and S. W. Wheatcraft   217     8.  What Do Drops Do? Surface Wetting and Network Geometry Effects on Vadose-Zone Fracture Flow, T. W. Doe   243     9.  Investigating Flow and Transport in the Fractured Vadose Zone Using Environmental Tracers, F. M. Phillips   271     10.  Lessons from Field Studies at the Apache Leap Research Site in Arizona , S. P. Neuman, W. A. Illman, V. V. Vesselinov, D. L. Thompson, G. Chen, and A. Guzman   295     11.  Parameterization and Upscaling in Modeling Flow and Transport in the Unsaturated Zone of Yucca Mountain, G. S. Bodvarsson, H. H. Liu, C. F. Ahlers, Y.-S. Wu, and E. Sonnenthal   335     APPENDIXES       A.  Workshop Attendees   369     B.  Invited Presentations   371     C.  Panel Biographies   372 Note: Color plates are located after p. 184.

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CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN THE FRACTURED VADOSE ZONE

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