Theoretical foundation for measuring the groundwater age distribution.
In this study, we use PFLOTRAN, a highly scalable, parallel, flow and reactive transport code to simulate the concentrations of 3H, 3He, CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113, SF6, 39Ar, 81Kr, 4He and themean groundwater age in heterogeneous fields on grids with an excess of 10 million nodes. We utilize this computational platform to simulate the concentration of multiple tracers in high-resolution, heterogeneous 2-D and 3-D domains, and calculate tracer-derived ages. Tracer-derived ages show systematic biases toward younger ages when the groundwater age distribution contains water older than the maximum tracer age. The deviation of the tracer-derived age distribution from the true groundwater age distribution increases with increasing heterogeneity of the system. However, the effect of heterogeneity is diminished as the mean travel time gets closer the tracer age limit. Age distributions in 3-D domains differ significantly from 2-D domains. 3D simulations show decreased mean age, and less variance in age distribution for identical heterogeneity statistics. High-performance computing allows for investigation of tracer and groundwater age systematics in high-resolution domains, providing a platform for understanding and utilizing environmental tracer and groundwater age information in heterogeneous 3-D systems. Groundwater environmental tracers can provide important constraints for the calibration of groundwater flow models. Direct simulationmore »
- Publication Date:
- OSTI Identifier:
- Report Number(s):
- DOE Contract Number:
- Resource Type:
- Technical Report
- Research Org:
- Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
- Sponsoring Org:
- USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
- Country of Publication:
- United States
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