Conditional stochastic analysis of solute transport in heterogeneous geologic media.
KeywordsFluids -- Migration -- Mathematical models.
Groundwater flow -- Mathematical models.
Committee ChairNeuman, Shlomo P.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation develops an analytical-numerical approach to deterministically predict the space-time evolution of concentrations in heterogeneous geologic media conditioned on measurements of hydraulic conductivities (transmissivities) and/or hydraulic heads. Based on the new conditional Eulerian-Lagrangian transport theory by Neuman, we solve the conditional transport problem analytically at early time, and express it in pseudo-Fickian form at late time. The stochastically derived deterministic pseudo-Fickian mean concentration equation involves a conditional, space-time dependent dispersion tensor. The latter not only depends on properties of the medium and the velocity but also on the available information, and can be evaluated numerically along mean "particle" trajectories. The transport equation lends itself to accurate solution by standard Galerkin finite elements on a relatively coarse grid. This approach allows computing without using Monte Carlo simulation and explicitly the following: Concentration variance/covariance (uncertainty), origin of detected contaminant and associated uncertainty, mass flow rate across a "compliance surface", cumulative mass release and travel time probability distribution across this surface, uncertainty associated with the latter, second spatial moment of conditional mean plume about its center of mass, conditional mean second spatial moment of actual plume about its center of mass, conditional co-variance of plume center of mass, and effect of non-Gaussian velocity distribution. This approach can also account for uncertainty in initial mass and/or concentration when predicting the future evolution of a plume, whereas almost all existing stochastic models of solute transport assume the initial state to be known with certainty. We illustrate this approach by considering deterministic and uncertain instantaneous point and nonpoint sources in a two-dimensional domain with a mildly fluctuating, statistically homogeneous, lognormal transmissivity field. We take the unconditional mean velocity to be uniform, but allow conditioning on log transmissivity and hydraulic head data. Conditioning renders the velocity field statistically nonhomogeneous with reduced variances and correlation scales, renders the predicted plume irregular and non-Gaussian, and generally reduces both predictive dispersion and uncertainty.
Degree ProgramHydrology and Water Resources