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Geostatistical analysis of regional hydraulic conductivity variations in the Snake River Plain aquifer, eastern Idaho

Geological Society of America Bulletin

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Abstract

The regional spatial correlation structure of bulk horizontal hydraulic conductivity (Kb) estimated from published transmissivity data from 79 open boreholes in the fractured basalt aquifer of the eastern Snake River Plain was analyzed with geostatistical methods. The two-dimensional spatial correlation structure of In Kb shows a pronounced 4:1 range anisotropy, with a maximum correlation range in the north-northwest- south-southeast direction of about 6 km. The maximum variogram range of In Kb is similar to the mean length of flow groups exposed at the surface. The In Kb range anisotropy is similar to the mean width/length ratio of late Quaternary and Holocene basalt lava flows and the orientations of the major volcanic structural features on the eastern Snake River Plain. The similarity between In Kb correlation scales and basalt flow dimensions and between basalt flow orientations and correlation range anisotropy suggests that the spatial distribution of zones of high hydraulic conductivity may be controlled by the lateral dimensions, spatial distribution, and interconnection between highly permeable zones which are known to occur between lava flows within flow groups. If hydraulic conductivity and lithology are eventually shown to be cross correlative in this geologic setting, it may be possible to stochastically simulate hydraulic conductivity distributions, which are conditional on a knowledge of volcanic stratigraphy.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Geostatistical analysis of regional hydraulic conductivity variations in the Snake River Plain aquifer, eastern Idaho
Series title:
Geological Society of America Bulletin
Volume
109
Issue:
7
Year Published:
1997
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Geological Society of America Bulletin
First page:
855
Last page:
868
Number of Pages:
14