Carr et al., 2017

Talk/Poster

Insights into the base of the critical zone from geophysical logging and groundwater flow testing at U.S. Critical Zone Observatories (CZO) and critical zone study sites (CZs)

Carr, Bradley, Ye Zhang, Shuangpo Ren, Brady A Flinchum, Andrew Parsekian, W Steven Holbrook, Clifford S Riebe, Bryan G Moravec, Jon Chorover, Jon D Pelletier, Daniel deB. Richter (2017)
American Geophysical Union 2017 Fall Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, 11-15 December 2017  Cross-CZO

Abstract

Four prominent hypotheses exist and predict conceptual models defining the base of the critical zone. These hypotheses lack insights and constraints from borehole data since few deep (> 20 m) boreholes (and even fewer connected wellfields) are present in the U.S. Critical Zone Observatories (CZO) and similar critical zone study sites (CZs). The influence and interaction of fracture presence, fracture density, fracture orientation, groundwater presence and groundwater flow have only begun to be analyzed relative to any definition of the base of the critical zone. In this presentation, we examine each hypothesis by jointly evaluating borehole geophysical logs and groundwater testing datasets collected by the Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG) since 2014 at these deep CZO or CZ boreholes. Deep boreholes allow a unique opportunity to observe the factors influencing groundwater transmissivity/storage capacity within the three main subsurface CZ layers: Unconsolidated (soil/saprolite), Fractured/weathered Bedrock, and Protolith bedrock (i.e. less fractured bedrock). The boreholes used in this study consist of: 1) nine wells of the Blair-Wallis (WY) WyCEHG CZ, 2) two wells in Catalina-Jemez CZO (Valle Caldera NM) and 3) one borehole at the Calhoun (SC) CZO. At this time, these are the only sites that contain boreholes with depths ranging from at least 20 m up to 70m that have been geophysically logged with full-waveform seismic, acoustic and optical televiewer, electric, electromagnetic, flowmeter (impeller and heat pulse), fluid temperature, fluid conductivity and nuclear magnetic resonance. Further, the Blair-Wallis CZ site contains five hydraulically connected wells that allow us to estimate formation transmissivity and storage coefficients at increasing scales by conducting: slug tests, FLUTe™ borehole profiling, and cross-hole pumping tests. These well tests provide direct hydraulic data of the bedrock (both fractured and protolith) that can be integrated with geophysical logging data. Because fracture permeability is the dominant mechanism for groundwater transport in these igneous environments, a joint analysis of geophysical logging and hydraulic testing data provides in situ material-property-based refinements for the defining the base of the critical zone.

Citation

Carr, Bradley, Ye Zhang, Shuangpo Ren, Brady A Flinchum, Andrew Parsekian, W Steven Holbrook, Clifford S Riebe, Bryan G Moravec, Jon Chorover, Jon D Pelletier, Daniel deB. Richter (2017): Insights into the base of the critical zone from geophysical logging and groundwater flow testing at US Critical Zone Observatories (CZO) and critical zone study sites (CZs). American Geophysical Union 2017 Fall Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, 11-15 December 2017.

This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.