Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Conference papers

Multi-Scale Thermal Heat Tracer Tests for Characterizing Transport Processes and Flow Channelling in Fractured Media: Theory and Field Experiments

Abstract : The characterization of flow and transport in fractured media is particularly challenging because hydraulic conductivity and transport properties are often strongly dependent on the geometric structure of the fracture surfaces. Here we show how thermal tracer tests may be an excellent complement to conservative solute tracer tests to infer fracture geometry and flow channeling. We performed a series of thermal tracer tests at different scales in a crystalline rock aquifer at the experimental site of Ploemeur (H+ observatory network). The first type of thermal tracer tests are push-pull tracer tests at different scales. The temporal and spatial scaling of heat recovery, measured from thermal breakthrough curves, shows a clear signature of flow channeling. In particular, the late time tailing of heat recovery under channeled flow is shown to diverge from the T(t) α t-1,5 behavior expected for the classical parallel plate model and follow the scaling T(t) α 1/t(logt)2 for a simple channel modeled as a tube. Flow channeling is also manifested on the spatial scaling of heat recovery as flow channeling affects the decay of the thermal breakthrough peak amplitude and the increase of the peak time with scale. The second type of thermal tracer tests are flow-through tracer tests where a pulse of hot water was injected in a fracture isolated by a double straddle packer while pumping at the same flow rate in another fracture at a distance of about 10 meters to create a dipole flow field. Comparison with a solute tracer test performed under the same conditions also present a clear signature of flow channeling. We derive analytical expressions for the retardation and decay of the thermal breakthrough peak amplitude for different fracture geometries and show that the observed differences between thermal and solute breakthrough can be explained only by channelized flow. These results suggest that heat transport is much more sensitive to fracture heterogeneity and flow channeling than conservative solute transport. These findings, which bring new insights on the effect of flow channeling on heat transfer in fractured rocks, show how heat recovery in geothermal systems may be controlled by fracture geometry. This highlights the interest of thermal tracer tests as a complement to solute tracers tests to infer fracture aperture and geometry. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016WR018789
Document type :
Conference papers
Complete list of metadatas

https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-01732376
Contributor : Isabelle Dubigeon <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 2:57:48 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 7, 2019 - 11:44:06 AM

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : insu-01732376, version 1

Citation

Jérôme de la Bernardie, Maria Klepikova, Olivier Bour, Tanguy Le Borgne, Marco Dentz, et al.. Multi-Scale Thermal Heat Tracer Tests for Characterizing Transport Processes and Flow Channelling in Fractured Media: Theory and Field Experiments . American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2017, Dec 2017, New Orleans, United States. pp.H51M-01. ⟨insu-01732376⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

99