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A methodology for using borehole temperature-depth profiles under ambient, single and cross-borehole pumping conditions to estimate fracture hydraulic properties

Abstract : In fractured aquifers flow generally takes place in a few fractured zones. The identification of these main flow paths is critical as it controls the transfer of fluids in the subsurface. For realistic modeling of the flow the knowledge about the spatial variability of hydraulic properties is required. Inverse problems based on hydraulic head data are generally strongly underconstrained. A possible way of reducing the uncertainty is to combine different type of data, such as flow measurements, temperature profiles or tracer test data. Here, we focus on the use of temperature, which can be seen as a natural tracer of ground water flow. Previous studies used temperature anomalies to quantify vertical or horizontal regional groundwater flow velocities. Most of these studies assume that water in the borehole is stagnant, and, thus, the temperature profile in the well is representative of the temperature in the aquifer. In fractured media, differences in hydraulic head between flow paths connected to a borehole generally create ambient vertical flow within the borehole. These differences in hydraulic head are in general due to regional flow conditions. Estimation of borehole vertical flow is of interest as it can be used to derive large scale hydraulic connections. Under a single-borehole configuration, the estimation of vertical flow can be used to estimate the local transimissivities and the hydraulic head differences driving the flow through the borehole. Under a cross-borehole set up, it can be used to characterize hydraulic connections and estimate their hydraulic properties. Using a flow and heat transfer numerical model, we find that the slope of the temperature profile is related directly to vertical borehole flow velocity. Thus, we propose a method to invert temperature measurements to derive borehole flow velocities and subsequently the fracture zone hydraulic and connectivity properties. The advantage of temperature measurements compared to flowmeter measurements is that temperature can be measured easily and very accurately, continuously in space and time. To test the methodology, we have performed a field experiment at a crystalline rocks field site, located in Ploemeur, Brittany (France). The site is composed of three 100 meters deep boreholes, located at 6-10 m distances from each other. The experiment consisted in measuring the borehole temperature profiles under all possible pumping configurations. Hence, the pumping and monitoring wells were successively changed. The thermal response in observation well induced by changes in pumping conditions is related to changes in vertical flow velocities and thus to the inter-borehole fracture connectivity. Based on this dataset, we propose a methodology to include temperature profiles in inverse problem for characterizing the spatial distribution of fracture zone hydraulic properties
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Contributor : Isabelle Dubigeon <>
Submitted on : Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 10:14:32 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 5, 2019 - 8:22:48 PM


  • HAL Id : insu-00668115, version 1


Maria Klepikova, Tanguy Le Borgne, Olivier Bour, Nicolas Lavenant. A methodology for using borehole temperature-depth profiles under ambient, single and cross-borehole pumping conditions to estimate fracture hydraulic properties. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2011, Dec 2011, San Francisco, Californie, United States. pp.H13H-078. ⟨insu-00668115⟩



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