Inference of the structure of karst conduits using quantitative tracer tests and geological information: example of the Swiss Jura - BRGM - Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières Access content directly
Journal Articles Hydrogeology Journal Year : 2008

Inference of the structure of karst conduits using quantitative tracer tests and geological information: example of the Swiss Jura

Abstract

Karst aquifers are known for being particularly heterogeneous with highly transmissive conduits embedded in low permeability volumes of rock matrix. Artificial tracer experiments have been carried out in a complex karst aquifer of the folded Jura Mountains in Switzerland with the aim of deciphering the conduit organisation. It is shown that tracer experiments with multiple injection points under different flow conditions can lead to useful information on the conduits' structure. This information has been combined with data from structural geology, spring hydrology, and speleological observations. A conceptual model of the conduit network shows that a detailed inference of the conduit organisation can be reached: geology controls conduit location and orientation; spring hydrology, including temporary springs, constrains conduit elevations and relative hydraulic heads in the aquifer subsystems; and tracer tests identify major flow paths and outlets of the system and dilution caused by non-traced tributaries, as well as the presence of secondary flow routes. This understanding of the Aubonne aquifer structure has important implications for the future management of the groundwater resource. Similar approaches coupling geological information, spring hydrology, and multi-tracer tests under various flow conditions may help to characterise the structure of the conduit network in karst aquifers.

Dates and versions

hal-00643655 , version 1 (22-11-2011)

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Jérôme Perrin, Marc Luetscher. Inference of the structure of karst conduits using quantitative tracer tests and geological information: example of the Swiss Jura. Hydrogeology Journal, 2008, 16 (5), pp.951-967. ⟨10.1007/s10040-008-0281-6⟩. ⟨hal-00643655⟩

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