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Multidisciplinary Characterization of Contaminant Transport in Fractured Rock -- Mirror Lake, New Hampshire [Completed]

USGS scientists studying an outcrop in the Mirror Lake, N.H., watershed.
USGS scientists studied outcrops in the Mirror Lake, N.H., watershed, such as this one from a road cut on Interstate 93, to characterize the fracture network in the study area. The pavement method was used, which involves mapping fracture traces on a detailed geologic map.

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Early Toxics Program research on point source contamination in fractured rock aquifers was organized around research activities at the Mirror Lake, New Hampshire research site. This site is uncontaminated and characterized by fractured crystalline rock. It lies within the Hubbard's Brook Experimental Forest administered by the U.S. Forest Service. Research conducted at the site has focused on understanding the processes and factors that affect how water flows in the fracture networks developed in such aquifers. The research has also emphasized development of methods to characterize subsurface fracture networks and the properties that affect flow and contaminant transport including noninvasive geophysical techniques. Numerous field tracer experiments have been conducted at the site. Knowledge and methods developed at this site have been generalized and tested at numerous other fractured rock sites across the Nation.

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