Comparison of alternative methodologies for identifying and characterizing preferential flow paths in heterogeneous aquifers

T Le Borgne, O Bour, Michael Riley, P Gouze, A Belgouhl, G Lods, R Le Provost, Richard Greswell, PA Ellis, E Isakov, Brian Last, PJ Pezard

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One of the main difficulties encountered when characterizing the hydrodynamic properties of a fractured aquifer is to identify the preferential flow paths within it. Different methods may be applied to determine the variability of the permeability at the borehole scale and to image the structure of the main flow zones between boreholes. In this paper, we compare the information obtained from different measurement techniques performed in a set of three 100m depth wells (well-to-well spacing: 5-10 m) in a fractured crystalline rock setting. Geophysical logging and borehole-wall imaging are used to identify open and closed fractures intersecting the boreholes and their orientation. The comparison with flowmeter and single packer tests shows that few of the fractures interpreted as open from geophysical togs are significantly transmissive. Cross-borehole connectivity is first investigated from single packer tests with pressure monitoring in adjacent boreholes. To determine fracture zone connectivity, we propose a methodology simply based on the variation with packer depth of the ratio of the drawdown in the observation well and the drawdown in the pumping well. The results are compared to the analysis of cross-borehole flowmeter tests. We show that both methods provide consistent results with a similar level of information on connectivity. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-148
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2007


  • packer
  • connectivity
  • geophysical measurements
  • fracture
  • flowmeter


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