Comparative Simulations of 2D and 3D Mixed Convection Flow in a Faulted Basin: an Example from the Yarmouk Gorge, Israel and Jordan

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Fabien Magri1, Nimrod Inbar2, Marwan Raggad3, Sebastian Möller4, Christian Siebert5, Peter Möller1 and Michael Kuehn1, (1)Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany, (2)Tel Aviv University, The Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences,, Tel Aviv, Israel, (3)The University of Jordan, Faculty of Science, Amman, Jordan, (4)Free University of Berlin, Hydrogeology, Berlin, Germany, (5)Helmholtz-Centre UFZ, Halle, Germany
Lake Kinneret (Lake Tiberias or Sea of Galilee) is the most important freshwater reservoir in the Northern Jordan Valley. Simulations that couple fluid flow, heat and mass transport are built to understand the mechanisms responsible for the salinization of this important resource. Here the effects of permeability distribution on 2D and 3D convective patterns are compared.

2D simulations indicate that thermal brine in Haon and some springs in the Yamourk Gorge (YG) are the result of mixed convection, i.e. the interaction between the regional flow from the bordering heights and thermally-driven flow (Magri et al., 2014). Calibration of the calculated temperature profiles suggests that the faults in Haon and the YG provides paths for ascending hot waters, whereas the fault in the Golan recirculates water between 1 and 2 km depths. At higher depths, faults induce 2D layered convection in the surrounding units.

The 2D assumption for a faulted basin can oversimplify the system, and the conclusions might not be fully correct. The 3D results also point to mixed convection as the main mechanism for the thermal anomalies. However, in 3D the convective structures are more complex allowing for longer flow paths and residence times. In the fault planes, hydrothermal convection develops in a finger regime enhancing inflow and outflow of heat in the system. Hot springs can form locally at the surface along the fault trace. By contrast, the layered cells extending from the faults into the surrounding sediments are preserved and are similar to those simulated in 2D. The results are consistent with the theory from Zhao et al. (2003), which predicts that 2D and 3D patterns have the same probability to develop given the permeability and temperature ranges encountered in geothermal fields. The 3D approach has to be preferred to the 2D in order to capture all patterns of convective flow, particularly in the case of planar high permeability regions such as faults.

Magri, F., et al., 2014. Potential salinization mechanisms of drinking water due to large-scale flow of brines across faults in the Tiberias Basin. Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 16, Abstract No: EGU2014-8236-1, Wien, Austria

Zhao, C., et al., 2003. Convective instability of 3-D fluid-saturated geological fault zones heated from below. Geophysical Journal International, 155, 213-220