Detailed Measurement of Horizontal Groundwater Velocities Without a Borehole
Thursday, 18 December 2014: 2:00 PM
A new methodology has been developed to measure horizontal groundwater velocities in unconsolidated aquifers. Groundwater velocities are measured with a heat tracer experiment. Temperature is measured along fiber optic cables using a Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) system. Fiber optic cables and a separate heating cable are pushed into the ground to depths of tens of meters. The groundwater is heated with the heating cable and the response is measured along several nearby fiber optic cables. The measured temperature responses are used to estimate the distribution of the magnitude and direction of the horizontal groundwater velocity over the entire depth of the cables. The methodology has been applied in a phreatic aquifer in the dune area along the Dutch coast. Significant variations of groundwater velocities with depth were observed even though the dune sand is relatively homogeneous. Major advantages of the new methodology are that the fiber optic cables are in direct contact with the groundwater and that the cables and installation are relatively cheap. No expensive boreholes are needed and consequently measurements are not affected by movement and mixing of water inside a borehole.