Heterogeneity of the hydraulic properties is one of the main causes of the seemingly random distribution of solute concentration observed in contaminated aquifers, with macrodispersivity providing a global measure of spreading. Earlier studies on transport of solutes in heterogeneous formations, either theoretical or numerical, expressed dispersivity as a function of the geostatistical properties of the hydraulic conductivity K. In most cases, K follows a second-order statistical characterization, which may not be adequate when heterogeneity is high. In this work, we adopt the Multi-Indicator ModelâSelf Consistent Approach (MIMSCA) to compute the longitudinal and transverse macrodispersivity. This methodology enables to model the K field by using geological inclusions of different shapes and orientation (defined here as the microstructure), while replicating the heterogeneous macrostructure obtained by the second-order statistics. The above scheme attempts to reproduce the effect on macrodispersion of different distribution and orientation of local facies, and for instance it may represent the orientation and spatial features of the layers that are often observed in aquifers. The relevant impact of the microstructure on effective conductivity, longitudinal and transverse macrodispersivities is analyzed and discussed, for both binary and lognormally distributed K fields.
Di Dato, M., de Barros, F.P.J., Fiori, A., & Bellin, A. (2016). Effects of the hydraulic conductivity microstructure on macrodispersivity. WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH, 52(9), 6818-6832 [10.1002/2016WR019086].