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Hydrological behavior of a deep sub-vertical fault in crystalline basement and relationships with surrounding reservoirs

Abstract : Crystalline-rock aquifers generally yield limited groundwater resources. However, some highly productive aquifers may be encountered, typically near tectonic discontinuities. In this study, we used a multidisciplinary experimental field approach to investigate the hydrogeological behavior of a sub-vertical permeable fault zone identified by lineament mapping. We particularly focused our investigations on the hydrogeological interactions with neighboring reservoirs. The geometry of the permeable domains was identified from geological information and hydraulic test interpretations. The system was characterized under natural conditions and during a 9-week large-scale pumping test. We used a combination of piezometric analysis, flow logs, groundwater dating and tracer tests to describe the interactions between permeable domains and the general hydrodynamical behaviors. A clear vertical compartmentalization and a strong spatial heterogeneity of permeability are highlighted. Under ambient conditions, the vertical permeable fault zone allows discharge of deep groundwater flows within the superficial permeable domain. The estimated flow across the total length of the fault zone ranged from 170 to 200 m3/day. Under pumping conditions, hydrological data and groundwater dating clearly indicated a flow inversion. The fault zone appears to be highly dependent on the surrounding reservoirs which mainly ensure its recharge. Groundwater fluxes were estimated from tracer tests interpretation. This study demonstrates the hydrogeological capacities of a sub-vertical fault aquifer in a crystalline context. By describing the hydrological behavior of a fault zone, this study provides important constrain about groundwater management and protection of such resources.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 4:36:58 PM
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Clément Roques, Olivier Bour, Luc Aquilina, Benoît Dewandel, Sarah Leray, et al.. Hydrological behavior of a deep sub-vertical fault in crystalline basement and relationships with surrounding reservoirs. Journal of Hydrology, Elsevier, 2014, 509, pp.42-54. ⟨10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.11.023⟩. ⟨insu-00917278⟩

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