Title: Quantifying Geological Uncertainty for Flow and Transport Modeling in Multi-modal Heterogeneous Formations
Citation: ADVANCES IN WATER RESOURCES vol. 29 p. 912-929
Publication Year: 2006
JRC N°: JRC30610
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC30610
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: In this work, we address the problem of characterizing the heterogeneity and uncertainty of hydraulic properties for complex geological settings. Hereby, we distinguish between two scales of heterogeneity, namely the hydrofacies structure and the intrafacies variability of the hydraulic properties. We employ multiple-point geostatistics to characterize the hydrofacies architecture. The multiple-point statistics are borrowed from a training image that is designed to reflect the prior geological conceptualization. The intrafacies variability of the hydraulic properties is represented using conventional 2-point correlation methods, more precisely, spatial covariance models under a multi-Gaussian spatial law. We address the different levels and sources of uncertainty in characterizing the subsurface heterogeneity, and explore their effect on groundwater flow and transport predictions. Typically, uncertainty is assessed by way of many images, termed realizations, of a fixed statistical model. However, in many case, sampling from a fixed stochastic model does not adequately represent the space of uncertainty. It neglects the uncertainty related to the selection of the stochastic model and the estimation of its input parameters. We acknowledge the uncertainty inherent in the definition of the prior conceptual model of aquifer architecture and in the estimation of global statistics, anisotropy, and correlation scales. Spatial bootstrap is used to assess the uncertainty of the unknown statistical parameters. As an illustrative example, we employ a synthetic field that represents a fluvial setting consisting of an interconnected network of channel sands embedded within finer-grained floodplain material. For this highly non-stationary setting we quantify the groundwater flow and transport model prediction uncertainty for various levels of hydrogeological uncertainty. Results indicate the importance of accurately describing the facies geometry, especially for transport predictions.
JRC Institute:Institute for Environment and Sustainability

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