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Three thousand liters of water were infiltrated from a 4 m diameter pond to track flow and transport inside fractured carbonates with 20-40 % porosity. Sixteen time-lapse 3D Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveys with repetition intervals between 2 hrs and 5 days monitored the spreading of the water bulb in the subsurface. Based on local travel time shifts between repeated GPR survey pairs, localized changes of volumetric water content can be related to the processes of wetting, saturation and drainage. Deformation bands consisting of thin subvertical sheets of crushed grains reduce the magnitude of water content changes but enhance flow in sheet parallel direction. This causes an earlier break through across a stratigraphic boundary compared to porous limestone without deformation bands. This experiment shows how time-lapse 3D GPR or 4D GPR can non-invasively track ongoing flow processes in rock-volumes of over 100 m3.
Date of Conference: 21-25 June 2010