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Temporal evolution of age data under transient pumping conditions

Abstract : While most age data derived from tracers have been analyzed in steady-state flow conditions, we determine their temporal evolution when starting a pumping. Our study is based on a model made up of a shallowly dipping aquifer overlain by a less permeable aquitard characteristic of the crystalline aquifer of Plœmeur (Brittany, France). Under a pseudo transient flow assumption (instantaneous shift between two steady-state flow fields), we solve the transport equation with a backward particle-tracking method and determine the temporal evolution of the concentrations at the pumping well of CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113 and SF6. Apparent ages evolve because of the modifications of the flow pattern and because of the non-linear evolution of the tracer atmospheric concentrations. To identify the respective role of these two causes, we propose two successive analyses. We first convolute residence time distributions initially arising at different times at the same sampling time. We secondly convolute one residence time distribution at various sampling times. We show that flow pattern modifications control the apparent ages evolution in the first pumping year when the residence time distribution is modified from a piston-like distribution to a much broader distribution. In the first pumping year, the apparent age evolution contains transient information that can be used to better constrain hydrogeological systems and slightly compensate for the small number of tracers. Later, the residence time distribution hardly evolves and apparent ages only evolve because of the tracer atmospheric concentrations. In this phase, apparent age time-series do not reflect any evolution in the flow pattern.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 28, 2014 - 9:38:09 AM
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Sarah Leray, Jean-Raynald de Dreuzy, Luc Aquilina, Virginie Vergnaud-Ayraud, Thierry Labasque, et al.. Temporal evolution of age data under transient pumping conditions. Journal of Hydrology, Elsevier, 2014, 511, pp.555-566. ⟨10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.01.064⟩. ⟨insu-00952724⟩

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