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Mapping Aquifer Heterogeneity: Integrated Analysis of Geophysical and Hydraulic Data at the Massachusetts Military Reservation, Cape Cod, Massachusetts - FY2004

As part of its applied research initiatives in FY2004, the USGS Office of Ground Water, Branch of Geophysics (OGW BG) continued research on the use of geophysical methods to map aquifer heterogeneity at the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) research site, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

In cooperation with the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program and Stanford University School of Earth Sciences, spinner flowmeter data were collected at the MMR research site in order to estimate hydraulic conductivities on site. This field work was part of ongoing research by Kamini Singha (Stanford University School of Earth Sciences) on the use of electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) surveys to monitor chloride tracers in porous media in order to map subsurface flow paths and flow barriers and to create a forward flow and transport model for the site.

FY2004 work builds on research conducted since FY2001. The goal of the project is to provide images of aquifer properties through integrated analysis of multiple data types in order to improve modeling of three-dimensional (3-D) flow and transport in the area. Data collected to date include ERT, flowmeter, borehole electromagnetic induction, hydraulic head, tracer concentration, and tracer test travel time data. The 3-D resistivity tomograms provide spatially continuous information about the transport of the saline tracer in heterogeneous porous media; this information could not be obtained using conventional hydrologic sampling methods.

 [Figure 1. Refer to text for explanation.]

Figure 1. Sample image showing percent change between subsurface electrical resistivity on day 5 after injection of saline tracer, and subsurface resistivity prior to injection of tracer. Electrical resistivity values are inverted from data collected during an electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) survey. Blue regions indicate zone of decreased resistivity, representing the transport of the saline tracer.


This research was funded by the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program and by the National Science Foundation (Grant no. EAR-0124262).

This research was conducted by Kamini Singha (Stanford University School of Earth Sciences) with assistance from OGW BG staff.

Recent publications:

Singha, K., Binley, A.M., Lane, J.W., Jr., and Gorelick, S.M., 2003, Electrical imaging of tracer migration at the Massachusetts Military Reservation, Cape Cod, in Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems (SAGEEP), April 6-10, 2003, San Antonio, Texas, Proceedings: Denver, Colorado, Environmental and Engineering Geophysics Society, CD-ROM, 11 p.

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