Contamination in Fractured Rock Aquifers
Fractured-rock aquifers are widely distributed near land surface and
are highly susceptible to contamination from human activities. Researchers are developing an
improved understanding of the movement of water and contaminants in fractured-rock aquifers,
methods for characterization of field conditions, and modeling tools. Contaminant transport
and fate is fundamentally different in fractured rock than in unconsolidated (sand and
gravel) aquifers. Significantly more uncertainty exists as to the direction and rate of
contaminant migration, as well as the processes and factors that control chemical and
microbial transformations. At many contaminated sites across the Nation, remedial action is
delayed or stymied by the complexity of contaminated fractured-rock aquifers. Long-term
research on contamination in fractured-rock aquifers has been conducted at the
Program’s two field research sites:
Chlorinated Solvents in Fractured Sedimentary
Rock -- Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Research Site, West Trenton, New Jersey
Multidisciplinary Characterization of
Contaminant Transport in Fractured Rock -- Mirror Lake, New Hampshire [Completed]
Other Program Fractured Rock Research
Program Science Feature Articles on Fractured Rock Research
- A fractured rock geophysical toolbox method selection tool: Day-Lewis, F.D., Johnson, C.D., Slater, L.D., Robinson, J.L., Williams, J.H., Boyden, C.L., Werkema, D., and Lane, J.W., 2016, Groundwater - Technology Spotlight, doi:10.1111/gwat.12397 (Advanced Web release -- More information on the FRGT-MST tool).
- Imaging pathways in fractured rock using three-dimensional electrical resistivity tomography: Robinson, J., Slater, L., Johnson, T., Shapiro, A., Tiedeman, C., Ntarlagiannis, D., Johnson, C., Day-Lewis, F., Lacombe, P., Imbrigiotta, T., and Lane, J., 2015, Groundwater, doi:10.1111/gwat.12356 (Advanced Web release).
- Interpretation of hydraulic conductivity in a fractured-rock aquifer over increasingly larger length dimensions: Shapiro, A., Ladderud, J., and Yager, R., 2015, Hydrogeology Journal, p. 1-21, doi:10.1007/s10040-015-1285-7.
- Abiotic dechlorination in rock matrices impacted by long-term exposure to TCE: Schaefer, C.E., Towne, R.M., Lippincott, D.R., Lacombe, P.J., Bishop, M.E., and Dong, H., 2015, Chemosphere, v. 119, p. 744-749, doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.08.005.