Experimental Investigation of Transient Saltwater Intrusion in Heterogeneous Porous Media

Gareth Robinson, Gerard Hamill, Ashraf Ahmed

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A 2D sandbox style experiment was developed to compare the results of numerical modelling to physical testing for saltwater intrusion in homogeneous and heterogeneous aquifers. The sandbox consisted of a thin central viewing chamber filled with glass beads of varying diameters (780μm, 1090μm and 1325μm) under fully saturated conditions. Dyed saltwater (SW) was introduced at the side boundary and a head difference imposed across the porous media. Images of the SW wedge were recorded at intervals in order to assess the suitability of the numerical models predictions of transient SW intrusion. Numerical modelling of the experimental cases were simulated using SUTRA. Two main parameters were chosen to express the condition of the intruding SW wedge at each recorded time step; the toe penetration length (TL) and the width of the mixing zone (WMZ). The WMZ was larger under transient conditions in the heterogeneous case, while the TL was longer for the homogeneous case. The increased variability in the flow field fo the heterogeneous case resulted in increased dispersion, and thus, increased WMZ.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2014
EventSWIM23 - 23rd Salt Water Intrusion Meeting - Husum, Germany
Duration: 16 Jun 201420 Jun 2014


ConferenceSWIM23 - 23rd Salt Water Intrusion Meeting


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