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Title: A field sampling strategy for semivariogram inference of fractures in rock outcrops

The stochastic continuum (SC) representation is one common approach for simulating the effects of fracture heterogeneity in groundwater flow and transport models. These SC reservoir models are generally developed using geostatistical methods (e.g., kriging or sequential simulation) that rely on the model semivariogram to describe the spatial variability of each continuum. Although a number of strategies for sampling spatial distributions have been published in the literature, little attention has been paid to the optimization of sampling in resource- or access-limited environments. Here we present a strategy for estimating the minimum sample spacing needed to define the spatial distribution of fractures on a vertical outcrop of basalt, located in the Box Canyon, east Snake River Plain, Idaho. We used fracture maps of similar basalts from the published literature to test experimentally the effects of different sample spacings on the resulting semivariogram model. Our final field sampling strategy was based on the lowest sample density that reproduced the semivariogram of the exhaustively sampled fracture map. Application of the derived sampling strategy to an outcrop in our field area gave excellent results, and illustrates the utility of this type of sample optimization. The method will work for developing a sampling plan for anymore » intensive property, provided prior information for a similar domain is available; for example, fracture maps or ortho-rectified photographs from analogous rock types could be used to plan for sampling of a fractured rock outcrop.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1436--3240
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment; Journal Volume: 27; Journal Issue: 7
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
58 GEOSCIENCES; Box Canyon, Idaho; field sampling; fractured rock; Stochastic continuum